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Homemade Goat Cheese

homemade goat cheese | the hobby room diaries

Last summer my mom and I took a cheese making class at a Seattle home brew supply store.  We took a quick field trip to downtown Seattle first to stock up on spices and get dinner, then headed for what ended up being a shady-looking cinder block building.  If we hadn’t been high on the metropolitan farm-y feel of Pike Place Market, Penzey’s, and Beecher’s Cheese, maybe we wouldn’t have been expecting a stainless steel and subway tile teaching kitchen with pots of herbs in swing-out window sills.  It was a nice enough place once we got inside and the class itself more than made up for the location.

Before we started, everyone went around and gave their names and said why they were interested in cheese and cheese making.  There was a guy way in the back who was there to learn about making non-traditional milks into cheese.  He had a baby at home who was lactose intolerant, which he and his wife discovered after she had pumped a freezer-full of breast milk that she had been consuming dairy during the production of.  Rather than toss the milk, you guessed it, he wanted to make cheese out of it.  Breast milk cheese.  Yeah.

Anywaaaaay . . . Since the class I’ve made fresh mozzarella a couple times, but I haven’t made anything else.  I’ve had several packets of chevre (goat cheese) starter in the freezer for a number of months now and I finally decided to use it.  There are only about four steps to making goat cheese, it’s a pretty simple fresh cheese.  The hardest part it tracking down some goat milk.  The local food co-op stocks goat milk, but it’s expensive.  As in, $16 per gallon expensive.

The other thing you need is something to curdle and set the milk.  You could use a combination of rennet and cheese cultures or you could just buy the chevre (goat cheese) starter packets sold by the New England Cheesemaking Supply Co. that already have the culture and rennet mixed in the right amounts.  You can get five packets, plus shipping, for about $8 and one packet sets on gallon of milk, so that’s a lot of goat cheese.  Alternatively, New England Cheesemaking sells supplies at a lot of home brew supply stores, so there’s probably one in your area and you could just buy the starter there.

homemade goat cheese | the hobby room diaries

The other specialty “supply” you need is chevre molds.  You can get these online from New England Cheesemaking as well, but I’m here to tell you that you don’t really need to.  I saved some yogurt containers and poked holes in them with a candle-heated nail.  You’re going to want to use an oven glove to do that and make sure to poke from the inside so there aren’t any plastic lumps to scrape up your cheese as you unmold it.  I also have a couple ceramic berry baskets that I lined with cheesecloth (these ended-up being the ones I liked the best).  Actual (plastic) berry or tomato containers from the grocery store would also work great.

So here’s what you need to do:

  1. Sterilize your equipment.  (Yes, we’re adding bacteria to milk, but we want to be in charge of the which bacteria are there.  Salmonella does not make good artisan cheese.  Just saying.)
  2. Heat the milk.
  3. Add the culture.
  4. Let the milk ripen.
  5. Salt and mold the curds, let drain.
  6. Eat the curds (which are now goat cheese!).
Here’s the recipe you can download that has a little lot more explanation than that list above.
Homemade Goat Cheese

Total Time: 24 hours

Yield: one pound, maybe a little more

Homemade Goat Cheese

Ingredients

  • 1 gallon pasteurized goat milk
  • 1 packet chevre starter (C20G mesophilic starter, find at cheesemaking.com)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Dried herbs (optional)

Instructions

  • Gather your equipment (thermometer, whisk, non-reactive 6-quart stockpot, strainer, molds, and ladle) and sterilize it.
  • Over low heat, slowly heat the milk in the stock pot to 86 degrees. This should take around 20 minutes.
  • Once the milk reaches 86 degrees, turn off the heat and sprinkle the starter over the milk. Let the starter rehydrate for five minutes, then gently whisk into the milk for 20 strokes using an up-and-down motion.
  • Cover the pot and let the milk ripen for at least 12 hours and up to 18 hours. Try to maintain a temperature between 72 and 78 degrees. If you use a coated cast-iron pot, this should be no problem, otherwise, you may need to wrap your pot with a blanket or place in your oven with the oven light on if it gets too cold.
  • Once the curds have formed one large solid, but soft, mass, ladle the curds into a cheesecloth lined strainer. Ladling off some of the whey first will make this job a little easier. Either discard the whey or save it for drinking, feeding to pets, or soup stock replacement.
  • Now spoon the curds into molds, salting after the addition of every couple spoonfuls. Unsalted cheese is bland cheese; don’t try to cut back on sodium by skimping on salt. This is also the time to add dried herbs. It is important to use dried herbs as fresh herbs could have bacteria on them that would contaminate the cheese while it drains. Either mix the herbs with the curds in the strainer or add in layers with the salt.
  • Set the molds on overturned ramekins and inside a large baking dish to catch the whey that drains from the molds. Cover the whole dish loosely with a towel or more cheesecloth to keep pests out. Let the cheese drain at room temperature for 6 to 12 hours, flipping part way through to keep an even moisture distribution. The more time the cheese drains, the drier it will be, so plan accordingly.
  • Unmold the cheese and immediately. Cheese will keep, refrigerated in an air-tight container, for one week.

Notes

Adapted from Mary Karlin’s Artisan Cheese Making at Home

Time broken down: 30 minutes to heat and inoculate the milk 12 hours to ripen the milk, 6 to 12 hours to drain the curds, for a total of 18-24 hours.

http://thehobbyroomdiaries.com/2012/04/homemade-goat-cheese-2.html/
homemade goat cheese | the hobby room diaries

You may not have been around at Christmas when I was talking about my cheese press (my mom made me this gorgeous wooden cheese press for Christmas), but the day that I will first use it is looming large in the horizon.  My shipment of cheese cultures arrived the other day, so homemade Parmesan is just around the corner.  If you could make any cheese you wanted, what would it be?

 

Jody

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7 comments

  1. Um…there are places to donate human breast milk; for adopted children, etc. Come on, cheese out of it! Wow!

    What are you going to do with so much goat cheese? Can you freeze it? I don't know if I could just eat more than a very small roll.

    This is neat though, way to go!

  2. Nat says:

    I've always been a fan of the mizithra cheese with browned butter pasta you can get at The Spaghetti Factory. The problem is where to find sheep milk. I would definitely make mizithra cheese.

  3. Thanks for sharing how to make this cheese – how easy and I love that you took the time to make it from scratch! I'm not sure I can find goat milk locally (there is SO much I can't find it's depressing sometimes), but nonetheless I'm happy to know it's this easy to make…

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