Overcoming Goat Cheese Fears
Most of us are used to eating industrial cheeses produced in factories. The factories are sterile environments where cheese-makers in scrubs and shower caps operate stainless steel machines. Temperatures and quality are continuously checked.
Finished products come shrink-wrapped in plastic. The USDA steps in and inspects everything, so consumers dont end up sick from scary things like listeria and salmonella. Quite frankly, that kind of cheese making is pretty intimidating.
If we had to make cheese like that at home, none of us would. Luckily though, none of that is necessary on the homestead. People have been making cheese using very simple procedures for thousands of years.
As long as you use exceptionally fresh milk, cleanly collected from healthy goats, your risks are much less than when you work in large quantities. You do need to do a little research to establish a good cheese-making routine.
Then, start with one simple cheese and practice that until you are able to produce a good representation of that style consistently. After that, move on to other varieties.
Fromagerie To Homestead Creamery
We all have experiences that open our minds and set us on a new course. Well, for me, that visit to my first fromagerie was one of them. It ultimately led to me keeping a herd of Nigerian Dwarf dairy goats on my homestead and making goat cheese several times each week.
If you also have an incredible cheeseaffinity, then raising goats for milk, and making cheese at homemight be your calling too! Honestly, though, getting started withgoats was the easy part. Working up the courage and confidence tomake cheese was a bit harder to do.
Homemade Cottage Cheese From Raw Goat Milk
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Cottage cheese, crepes, and heirloom tomatoes
Does a late fall meal get any better or any simpler?!
I cant describe what tomatoes and cottage cheese do for my taste buds but lets just say its perfection. And the nutrition? Pretty great! Raw cottage cheese provides vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and beneficial organisms .
As Im sure you can agree, I may love this cottage cheese, but the final test was whether or not my family would too. And guess what? They gobble it up!
- 2gallonsraw goat milk
- 1/4teaspoonmesophilic culture**I used Danisco MA19, can also use MA4001
- 4dropsliquid rennet ***
- sea saltkosher salt****, or cheese salt
- 1gallonmilk = 1 pound of cheese
Ingredients Needed For This Goat Cheese
All right, we are going to need raw milk, obviously
We are also going to need rennet.
And we are going to need 1/4 cup of water.
Will need 1 drop of rennet per 1 quart of milk. The rennet will get mixed into the 1/4 cup of water.
So If you are processing 2 quarts of milk, dilute 2 drops of rennet in 1/4 cup of water
If you are processing 3 quarts of milk, dilute 3 drops rennet into 1/4 cup water
If you are processing 4 quarts of milk, dilute 4 drops rennet into 1/4 cup water
Are you getting this? Pretty simple, right?
Lastly, we are also going to need a non-iodized salt. This can be Kosher salt, cheese salt, or sea salt.
For a comprehensive list of cheesemaking equipment and ingredients, make sure to visit my cheesemaking equipment post.
Ok, we are ready to go through this raw milk goat cheese recipe. Youll find all the steps below, however, if you want to have a better understanding of the cheesemaking process, please visit my How to Make Cheese at Home post.
I Use Raw Goats Milk Salt Yogurt Lipase Powder And Junket Tablets You Can Get Them In The Grocery Store Use 1/2 Tablet Per Gallon Of Milk
For a cheese press I have a #10 can that I took the top and bottom off of, a bowl, cheese cloth. Use Muslin, not the cheese cloth that you get from the grocery store. And a weight, which for me is sometimes a mason jar filled with water. Or you can use a bar bell.
You would take out the lid piece put your cheese cloth down inside so that the edges go out over the top, then put in your curds. Next folld the cloth back over the curds then put the follower/top back on. Finally put your weights on that. If you use a shallow bowl like this one you need to hang around and every little go dump out the whey/water that will collect in the bowl.
Before you get ready to press your curds you can also add in dried tomatoes, and/or Italian seasonings or basil. You can always leave it plain, but in my world view, spice is the zest of life!
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Remove Whey & Form Curds
Once the curds have settled you can remove the whey down to about 1 inch or less left above the curd mass.
Before transferring, give the curds and remaining whey a quick stir to make sure they are nicely separated.
The finished curds can now be transferred to a form lined with the draining cloth.
After the initial flush of whey a light hand pressure to even out the surface curds and the cloth can be folded over the top. Place the follower on top of this and you will be ready to press.
Cheesy Beginnings With Happy Endings
All in, I spend about 10 minutes of work making chèvre. It takes the better part of the day for the culturing, renneting, and drying to happen. Thankfully though, I dont have to be around for any of that. I can be off in the garden, out with the goats, or otherwise engaged around the homestead.
Thats why chèvre is a great place to start your cheese-making routine. However, once you understand the basic process of making cheese, youll discover that just about every cheese type can be made in only a few minutes, here and there, within the context of your other activities.
Some cheeses may take specialized equipment or require more work for proper aging. Fundamentally, cheese of all kinds is something we can all make and enjoy at home. Bon Appetit!
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Hanging The Curds To Drain
In the morning, youll wake up to a pot of coagulated milk It looks a bit like the consistency of yogurt
I set a large mixing bowl on the counter
Line it with cheesecloth, and transfer the coagulated milk from the pot into the lined bowl
Then, I collect the sides of the cheesecloth and tie them with yarn before I hang the cheesecloth on the handle of my kitchen cabinet.
I always make sure to place the mixing bowl under the cheesecloth to catch the whey. There are many things that you can do with the whey. I sometimes make ricotta cheese from whey and sometimes I give it to my animals. They all love it. If you are looking for other ideas on how to use the whey, check out this post.
Ingredients For Goat Cheese
So lets gather everything that we are going to need before we start this goat cheese tutorial
Goat milk we are going to need raw goat milk. I am going to use 2 quarts of raw goat milk in this recipe. You can double it if youd like to process a gallon of milk.
Chevre culture cheese culture comes in the form of powder. Culture is specific bacteria strains that are put together by a culture company for making cheese. Cultures are pretty similar to each other but are classified based on the temperature in which they work. If you want to read more about the basics of cheese cultures, make sure to check this post. We are going to use a dash of chevre culture in this goat cheese recipe.
Rennet rennet is used to coagulate or thicken the milk. You can use either vegetable rennet or animal rennet, it doesnt matter. We are going to dilute 3 drops of rennet in 1/3 cup of cool water and use just a tablespoon of the mixture.
Salt I usually salt my cheese a bit. You dont have to but if you choose to salt your goat cheese make sure to use non-iodized salt like cheese salt, sea salt, or kosher salt.
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Goat Milk Cheese Recipe
Our Andaluz neighbors make one to three two-pound cheeses each day , and heres the recipe they use:
For each round of the above weight, heat eight quarts of goats milk to 86 to 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Liquid fresh from the morning milking, kept in metal containers, will probably be warm enough without heating. In any case, the fluid should be as fresh as possible .
Add to the warmed milk about one tablespoon of homemade liquid rennet or a corresponding amount of the commercial powdered product. Blend in the thickening agent and leave the mixture to coagulate for 15 to 30 minutes. The curdling process is complete once the milk retains its shape when the container is tilted. You can then stir the curd to break it up, and spoon off or drain away the whey . The stirring should be done fairly promptly once the makings have set, since coagulated milk takes on an unpleasant tart taste if allowed to stand too long.
When most of the whey has been removed, the curd is shaped into rounds. This is done on a plank wide enough and long enough to hold several twopound cheeses. The portions of the board on which the molds stand are carved with a simple design a crisscross, perhaps and a drain track surrounds each patterned area and leads to the edge of the plank .
The Sarso is made of dried canes lashed together and suspended from the ceiling of a cool, airy room.
How To Make Whey
14. Now you need to hang it over a bowl to catch the whey. I hang mine on a wooden spoon that I stick through the handles of my upper kitchen cabinets. Not super professional looking, but it does the job )
Let your cheese strain for 6-8 hours. I strain mine for 8 hours.
15. After your cheese is done open your cheese cloth and dump the cheese into a small stainless steel bowl. Stir the cheese with a spoon to break up the chunks. By stir I mean mash!
You can add as much salt as you like to reach the desired flavor, but make sure you add at least a tsp. I use about two teaspoons of pink Himalayan salt.
And thats it! Put your cheese into containers and store it in the fridge. You can use plastic containers or freezer bags, but I find that the cheese lasts longer if you store it in glass containers.
One final note I want to add is that weather and altitude can affect the outcome of your cheese.
You might need to play around with the amounts of buttermilk and rennet that you add to your milk.
I live in Florida and this cheese turns out perfect here! But like any other recipe, the temp of your home and the altitude can affect it.
Try to keep your home temperature within the 72-78 degree range while your cheese is sitting as well.
I hope this helps you to know how to make goat cheese!
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Easy Homemade Goat Milk Cheese
This easy homemade goat milk cheese recipe is so easy anybody can do it, and its delicious too. The recipe makes a soft cheese like you typically see in small round or log packages in the store. And, this cheese freezes well so that you can have fresh cheese available just about any time!
The recipe is also very forgiving, if you overheat it or underheat it a little, it still turns out fine. Also, the times for sitting and hanging seem to be fairly flexible. The longer it sits after about 8 hours however, the tangier it seems to get.
Adding Flavors To Your Goat Cheese
Once your cheese is at the texture and consistency you prefer, you’re basically done. Open your dish towel and scrape the cheese down into the middle of the towel, and then transfer it to a bowl and add salt and any other flavors you want.
I’m partial to adding in a bit of honey I don’t measure, I just add, mix, taste, and repeat until I’m satisfied. You can mix herbs, fruit, jam, nuts, seeds, or balsamic vinegar right into the cheese. If you’ve let your goat cheese strain for 4+ hours you can even roll it into a log.
- To get a swirly ribbon of honey, jam, or balsamic, put a layer of cheese down, then drizzle your preferred sauce on top, then another layer of cheese to fully cover the sauce. Then use your hands to gently roll it, keeping the sticky sauce or flavor on the inside of the log as much as possible.
- If you’re using dried herbs or seeds, you can mix them into the cheese before rolling, but for a fancy finishing touch, sprinkle some on a clean cutting board and roll your shaped log through it to create a pretty crust.
How To Make Goat Milk Mozzarella Successfully
Making cheese with goat milk can be tricky. Learn how to make your own goat milk mozzarella that works!
The first time I made mozzarella from our goat milk I ended up with crumbly, dry curds that wouldnt stretch and ended up being pretty useless for any sort of cooking or eating.
Ive learned a thing or 2 since that first batch and now we are getting pretty good curds that stretch nicely, taste like real mozzarella and grate beautifully for pizza!
If you have made mozzarella before you will be familiar with the 30-minute mozzarella process. This goat milk mozzarella recipe follows that process with a few tweaks.
How To Make Homemade Goat Cheese
9. Next pour some of the whey into the cheesecloth covered colander without dumping out the cheese.
10. Using your bread or cheese knife, slice the cheese into approximately one inch squares like this:
Also slice the cheese horizontally all the way around so that it is divided in two. You dont want the cheese to be too thick so that the whey can drain. Just do the best you can with this, it doesnt have to be exact.
11. Carefully scoop the cheese curds using your cheese ladle into the cheesecloth. You can gently pour the curds into the ladle and then carefully deposit the curds into the cheesecloth.
Scrape all of the cheese out of the pot into the cheesecloth.
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How To Strain Your Goat Cheese
You will need: A large bucket, a large colander with handles, a clean dish towel, and perhaps some chip-clips. The colander goes inside the bucket, the towel goes inside the colander. Tuck the ends of the towels through the handles of your colander to hold them in place while the cheese drains.
I use a 6 liter Cambro bucket but you definitely don’t need the full 6 liters at most you’ll probably end up with maybe 2-3 liters of whey so if you have a smaller container or a slightly different kind of colander, that should work too. You just want to make sure that the bottom of your colander won’t be left sitting in the whey once it strains out.
Once you get the curds and whey into the towel, pull the towel tight through the handles and use the chip clips to hold it in place as best you can. The original recipe instructions say to turn the towel into a bag and hang it from a spoon to strain , so just do your best to gather and tighten the top of the towel to create a bag shape so that the excess whey is pressed out.
The longer you let the mixture strain, the less creamy your goat cheese will be. So if you like a nice, spreadable cheese, it’ll probably be done in about 3-4 hours. If you prefer a harder cheese that’s easier to crumble, you could let it sit for more like 4-6 hours, or even up to half a day, if you like.
Let’s Make Some Goat Cheese
Start by pouring your goat milk into your large pot over medium heat. Next, mix together your water and citric acid , pour it into the pot with the goat milk, and stir to combine.
If you’re using a candy thermometer, clip it to the side of the pot. If not, make sure your thermometer is handy so you can check the temperature of the mixture frequently.
Keep stirring until the mixture reaches 185F degrees. As you stir, the temperature will fluctuate as the hotter liquid from the bottom is introduced to the cooler liquid from the top, so keep a close eye on the thermometer. Depending on the type of pot you’re using or what kinds of burners you have, this could take anywhere from 20-30 minutes.
As the milk mixture heats up, curds of cheese will form the stirring helps break them up so that they don’t solidify before you’re ready.
When you hit 185F degrees, stop stirring, remove the pot from the heat and let it sit for 15 minutes. It won’t look noticeably different, but if you look closely around the edges of your pot you should be able to see some yellow-y slivers of curd. You are now ready to strain your curds from your whey.
A quick note on pasteurization: The recipe I use warns not to use “ultra-pasteurized” milk. Most cheese making resources I’ve looked at also recommend against it as it is less likely to form curds. HOWEVER, I’ve never been able to find goat milk that hasn’t been ultra-pasteurized, and it’s always turned into beautiful goat cheese for me.
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