All is well with the world! My beautiful and highly skilled spouse has made all things right – she made biscuits for breakfast. No, they still weren’t quite up to par with her Mom’s, but she’s getting closer. She has sworn to keep that goal in sight. There is no doubt that breakfasts at Serendipity Farmhouse will become even more enjoyable as time goes by. Continue reading “Blondie’s Biscuits – Yes!”
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.
My wonderful and caring spouse has urged me, counseled, and outright ordered me to write a post for you about how to make goat milk cheese (chèvre). Rest assured, I will do so in very short order, but I have decided to disregard my beautiful wife’s good counsel for the time being in order to write a slightly different post.
Why do I dare to run the risk of causing distress for my wife or, more likely, for me? I dare because, when we here at Serendipity Farmhouse delve into the mysteries of butter, cheese, kefir, and other dairy products, we do it with gusto and with daring. Dairy is an exquisite challenge that should not and can not be taken lightly.
So, rather than put the cart before the horse, or more rightly the cheese before the goat, we want you to know the source of the primary ingredient in the soon to be world renowned SFH Chèvre. The only way we can take you to the source of our goat milk is by introducing you to a beautiful “reality” – and that reality is Reality Farm in Washington, Virginia. For now, we will just use a few pictures to introduce you to Reality. When the time is right, we will give you a full tour.
If you would like to learn a little more about reality farm, check out Reality Farm.
Whether you are starting your day with toast and coffee or attempting to master a challenging recipe by Julia Child, a necessary ingredient will surely be butter. My beautiful spouse and I take that to be a fundamental law of cooking. But, we have wondered, if you can buy butter and use butter, is it possible to go one step further and learn the hidden secret and make this mysterious dairy product yourself?
We here at Serendipity Farmhouse (SFH) have found that the processing and preparation of dairy products is an adventurous mixture of mystery and chemistry. That is why we have a page entirely devoted to Daring Dairy.
Join us now as we dare to make butter in the soon to be famous SFH test kitchen.
Butter Making Preparation
A few weeks ago, my loving and caring spouse surprised me with two unusual birthday gifts. The first was a Kilner Butter Churner. She is convinced that if she puts the right tool or utensil in my hand that I will do something with it – for her. Obviously, she was giving me not just a present but also a strong signal that it’s time to learn how to make butter. Out of love, obedience, curiosity, and an almost inordinate love of butter I accepted the gift and the challenge.
With the exception of a butter churner, every kitchen has the utensils required to make butter. With a little ingenuity, you could probably improvise a way to churn the cream with common kitchen utensils. Following is a list of the items we used:
|1x – Butter churner||We used our Kilner Butter Churner|
|1x – 2-cup measuring cup|
|2x – Spatulas (rubber or silicone)||In lieu of butter paddles|
|1x – Glass bowl|
|1x – 8 oz. drinking glass||For the residual butter milk|
Nothing that occurs in a kitchen is without controversy. Almost always, the debate is centered on choice of ingredients. Butter has only one ingredient – cream. Why would there need to be any argument? Well, in the 1860’s when Louis Pasteur introduced his process for killing microbes, the preparation of milk, cream, and other dairy products was influenced by the new process. The advent of ultra-pasteurization further complicated the issue. Thus, when you ask a simple question about making butter you get convoluted, ambiguous answers.
We here at SFH only drink raw cow and goat milk. However, we didn’t have enough raw cream for our first butter making attempt. We chose the simple solution, we used ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream from the local grocery store. It worked just fine – end of debate.
|10 oz. heavy cream||Ultra-pasteurized worked for us|
|2 to 3 cups cold water|
Step 1 – Prepare Utensils & Ingredients: Now fully armed with utensils, ingredients, and official Kilner instructions I was ready to make butter – right? No, wrong! I was ready to make my first mistake.
The directions clearly state: “Remove cream from refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours.” Oops! Missed that! So, I had to improvise with a bowl of slightly warm water.
Lesson Learned: Read the butter churning directions well in advance of the project. Otherwise, you will get nasty stares from your 18 lb. Maine Coon cat, who has been waiting all day for a lick of fresh butter.
Step 2 – Churning the Cream: Lovely spouse and I took turns churning. Kilner estimates 10 – 12 minutes should do it. We had a quarter pound of butter in less than 8 minutes!
Step 3: – Rinsing the butter: This is where the cold water, optional ice cubes, and spatulas come into play. First you pour off the residual butter milk. You can drink it right away or save it for making scones or something else. Scoop the butter out from the churn, rinse it in the cold water, and shape it as desired.
Voila! You have butter – mission accomplished
If you would like to watch the butter making process in action, check out the Kilner butter churner video.
The second gift my wonderful wife gave me for my birthday was a Norpro Glazed Stoneware Butter Keeper. This handy-dandy little device will keep butter fresh at room temperature for up to three weeks. All that is needed is a quarter pound of butter and bit of water to seal out air from the butter while in the keeper. It’s simple, it’s easy to use, and most importantly, it works.
My beautiful wife thinks of everything!
Now, for those of you who love butter and appreciate the joy brought into kitchens and dining rooms by Julia Child, here is a video worth watching.
- SFH Food 2018-04: Julia, Butter & Serendipity Farmhouse
- Daring Dairy 2018-01: Julia, Butter & Serendipity Farmhouse