Why is Goat Cheese Always White?

Why is Goat Cheese Always White?

Nora Singley
Jul 21, 2010

Perhaps it's the white party that I attended last weekend that inspired this post, but have you ever noticed that all goat cheeses are super white? Even those that have spent some time aging remain white, which is odd, considering that aging typically intensifies the color of cheese.

Why oh why?

Interestingly enough, goat milk lacks beta carotene, that deeply pigmented agent which lends rich golden tones in most cheese, particularly those made with cow milk. But any beta carotene that a goat intakes converts instantly into Vitamin A, which lacks color.

The deepest yellow cheeses are typically those made from the milk of grass-fed cows. It's their diet of green pastures that contains so much rich beta carotene. Buttery yellow colors in cheese develop over time, so while a fresh cow milk cheese may be nearly as white as a fresh goat cheese, the differences in color tone will be much more apparent in aged cheeses.

Take for example the above cheese, Meadowcreek Grayson from Virginia, a raw cow milk cheese made from grass-fed cow milk. It's aged for just about the same time as that Boucheron goat cheese pictured at the top of this post. You'd never ever see a goat cheese with as golden a hue as that Grayson.

Goat milk is also more acidic, which apparently causes light to reflect a bit differently than a lower-acid cheese, which somehow makes the cheese surface appear more white.

Any white parties to attend before summer's end? Forgo that bottle of white wine for a more inspired host or hostess gift and bring a drum of blindingly white goat cheese.

Related: The Cheesemonger: Why is my Cheese Orange?

Nora Singley is an avid lover of cheese, and for some time she was a Cheesemonger and the Director of Education at Murray's Cheese Shop in New York City, where she continues to teach cheese classes for the public. She is currently an assistant chef on The Martha Stewart Show.

(Images: Flickr member larryjh1234 and SusieFoodie licensed under Creative Commons)

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