You say you like cheese? Go to the store to buy cheese and you get what you get. What you get might be surprisingly delightful or it might not suit your palate at all. For example, buy chèvre (perhaps the least complex type of goat milk cheese), and you might react in the same way my beautiful wife did when I bought some for her- it’s too sour or it’s too bitter.
Taste is a puzzling and unusual sense. You can be sure there is more disagreement about flavor than the visual beauty of a sunset. We can usually agree about what we see and what we feel, but flavor and aroma are perceived more personally. So, even though my true love and I could drink goat milk together we were divided by store-bought chèvre.
Indeed, I have a loving wife, and she would never let anything divide us, not even a type of cheese. So, I received a present some two years ago – a chèvre cheese-making kit. It was a chance she had to take – perhaps homemade goat milk cheese might be better than store-bought.
Dear readers, the rest is history. My wife’s intuition was sound and now homemade chèvre is a regular and lasting part of Serendipity’s Daring Dairy repertoire. We hope you will come to enjoy making your own chèvre as much as we do.
So, now it’s finally time to dare to make chèvre in the soon to be famous SFH test kitchen.
Preparing to Make Goat Milk Cheese
Knowing nothing about the process herself, my enterprising spouse did some quick research and determined the market was filled with simple, inexpensive cheese making kits. She selected the Chèvre Cheesemaking Kit by Roaring Brook Dairy. It worked just fine. Since then, however, we have become more confident in our own abilities and we purchase our own supplies and continue to experiment with the process.
If you are using a kit, the cheesecloth and cheese mold will be provided. If not, you may need to make a trip to the store or look online to get those items. Everything else you need should already be in your kitchen. Following is a list of the items we use:
Required Utensils & Equipment
Comments / Notes
|1x – Medium stainless steel or non-aluminum pot||We use stainless steel|
|2x – 1-cup measuring cups|
|1x – Set of measuring spoons|
|1x – Spatula or slotted spoon||For stirring|
|1x – Thermometer|
|1x – Colander or sieve|
|1x – Glass or plastic bowl||Larger than colander or sieve|
|1x – Cheesecloth||Available in kits or sold separately|
|1x – Cheese mold||Available in kits or sold separately|
|1x – Butter knife|
As you may recall, when it comes to dairy, there is almost always a kitchen controversy. In the case of Julia, Butter & Serendipity Farmhouse, the cause of concern was ultra-pasteurization. Although it seemed to make no difference in making butter, the use of ultra-pasteurized goat milk can adversely affect development of curds for chèvre.
Although we here at SFH have direct access to raw goat milk at Reality Farm, you may have to do some online research to find raw goat milk or simple pasteurized goat milk. (Here again my beautiful wife distinguished herself by doing a great job of research – she not only found the goat milk, she also found a place where I can visit the goats. She brings joy to my life.)
Listed below are the ingredients we use.
Comments / Notes
|½ Gallon goat milk||Avoid ultra-pasteurized|
|1 Level tsp. citric acid||Available in kits or sold separately|
|¼ Tablet rennet||Available in kits or sold separately|
|1 Tsp. cheese salt||We recommend only 1/2 Tsp.|
|2 Tbsp. herbs de Provence||Or season to taste|
Making Goat Milk Cheese
We said earlier that chèvre is perhaps the least complex type of goat milk cheese. It takes us roughly 45 minutes at the front end making the cheese. Then, after the cheese drains and sets in the refrigerator, it will take another 10 to 15 minutes for seasoning. Of course all the kitchen rules apply – clean hands, clean utensils, and have all ingredients and utensils ready to go.
Step 1 – Ingredient Preparation: Dissolve the citric acid into a cup of cold water. Dissolve the rennet int 1/4 cup of cold water.
Step 2 – Heating the Milk: Heat the goat milk slowly to 185º. Add citric acid and stir 30 seconds. Add rennet and stir 30 seconds.
Step 3 – Developing the Curds: Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Press the curds with the back of a spoon. If a dent is left, the curds are ready. If not, allow to stand for 2 more minutes.
Step 4: – Draining the Curds: Drain the curds into the cheese cloth and colander. Let the curds drain for 10 minutes, then gently mix in salt.
Step 5: – Forming the Cheese: Using a spoon, gently pack curds into the cheese mold. Cover the mold, place it on a small plate or in a small bowl. Allow the cheese to drain and set in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
Step 6: – Seasoning to Taste: After 2 hours, remove the cheese from the refrigerator and slide the butter knife around the edge of the cheese until it is separated from the mold. Extract the cheese. Place seasonings on a plate and roll the cheese, covering the exterior.
There it is! Goat milk cheese, ready to eat!
You can store it for up to seven days, but it is usually consumed within a day or two. By the way, grandchildren will ask for seconds and thirds. Make sure you make a lot.
If you’d like to see a more detailed demonstration watch this video.