Apr. 2012 9

Science – Making Cheese from Chocolate Milk

This sounds pretty weird but yesterday I tried to make cheese from chocolate milk.   I got the idea a few nights back at a dinner with other cheese makers when someone brought out some Promised Land Chocolate Milk.  Earlier in the day we had make butter from Promised Land cream, so it was a natural connection to look at this bottle of chocolatey goodness and think “gee, could this be used to make cheese?”.  I looked at my new friend Jose and could see that he was thinking the same thing.   We discussed the project and decided that it was the natural next step.

Now I know that you are thinking this is nothing new, why you just had some chocolate cream cheese the other day.   Not the same thing!  You can add chocolate after making the cheese, but we are scientists here!  This project requires using milk that has chocolate already in it.  Besides, I wanted to make a firmer cheese than cream cheese.  Brie came to mind because it is normally rather mild tasting and should not overpower the taste of the chocolate.  Seriously, who wouldn’t want chocolate Brie?

I bought three half-gallon bottles of  Promised Land Chocolate Milk and started making a Brie from it yesterday morning.  It occurred to me as I put the mesophilic culture in the warm (70 degree F) milk that any sweetener would be converted to something else by the culture along with the lactose in the milk.   This would not be a sweet cheese. I also noticed that Promised Land uses an HTST technique to pasteurize their milk for long shelf life.  This is not good for cheese because it will interfere with the curd production.  I added more calcium chloride than normal to try to compensate.

Brie and Camembert cheeses require a firm curd so I expected to have to wait quite awhile before cutting the curd.  It would appear that the chocolate may act as a buffer because the acidity dropped a lot slower than I would have expected.  This is odd and interesting because chocolate is naturally acidic.  Maybe Promised Land uses Dutch chocolate, which has an added alkali?   The milk took much too long for the curds to form.  By bedtime it looked like the curds might have reached a clean break, so I tried spooning the curds into a Camembert mold.  The curds were runny and not suitable for molding.  Also my wife the chocoholic said that the mess did not taste good.   I thought it was ok, but it was indeed not sweet at all.

I may need to retry this experiment with milk that is not pasteurized to see if that was the primary limiting factor on curd production.   I may also need to make the milk with non-dutch processed chocolate.   Finally, I may need to start the cheese much earlier in the morning to allow more time for the curd to form and firm.  This looks like an interesting experiment, and I need to pass the word to Jose in case he is looking to try the experiment.

5 Responses to “Science – Making Cheese from Chocolate Milk”

  1. Abigail Widrig
    December 17th

    I attend an advanced biology class and we were making cheese. We used powdered milk, I am not sure how well it will taste. Our cheese is still in fermentation. I was wondering if you ever tried making cheese with chocolate milk again and how your results turned out? We were going to do this experiment in class but we don’t have enough time with the upcoming holidays and all. I would be very appreciative for a reply. Thank you! 🙂

    • March 22nd

      Hi Abigail! Thanks for dropping by and sorry for the slow response! I am in the middle of changing jobs and things have been really hectic. I have not made the chocolate milk cheese again but have verified that all of the pre-made chocolate milk that I can find in this part of Texas is made with Dutch-processed chocolate and is therefore too alkaline. Some day I will try this again with ordinary chocolate powder added to some good milk. I reported my results with the chocolate milk cheese experiment to my teachers at the Italian Cheese class I took in December and they were amused by the wacky idea. I hope your powdered milk cheese worked out well! My concern with powdered milk is more that the texture will not set as well as unprocessed milk will. You should be able to make tasty cheese this way, though powdered milk is usually also nonfat and a lot of the really interesting cheeses get much of their flavor from the breakdown of complex fats into simpler fatty acids. Also you can’t really cheat by adding some butter to the acidifying cheese because the fats need to be relatively small globules to be trapped by the matrix of protein that forms when the milk coagulates.

  2. Chef Jeffery
    February 21st

    Hello. I totally desire to try this one. Mozzarella Cheese was apiece of cake. Never in my mind ever heard of Chocolate Cheese. I’m trying it @ Lake Technical School @ 7:30 am.

    • Dan
      February 26th

      Hi Chef Jeffery, good luck with the chocolate cheese! I am curious to revisit that one myself. Just made some Gruyeres yesterday. I should be able to report how it tastes in about three months.

  3. March 26th

    Hey there,

    I tried this out myself the other day. It was a bit of a mess, but honestly if I refine my technique a bit I think this could work out nicely. Like all things, practice makes perfect!

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