Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Making Soft Goat Cheese

We had our first cheese making class with my friend, Lori, this past week and I must say... this was so much easier than I imagined it would be! Why aren't we making cheese all the time! Don't believe me? Just check this out...

To make soft goat cheese you must first heat your milk in a stainless steel pot (because it's so clean) to 185 degrees F. Be sure to stir frequently during this process and use a good thermometer...
Update: use one gallon of milk (but it should  not be ultra-pasteurized). We used raw milk.




Next, add 1/4 cup of vinegar and stir briefly...
Update: I failed to mention this was apple cider vinegar (but you can probably see that from the photo!)





Now, just let this milk sit for about 10 minutes...



and you will begin to see little curds forming...



At this point, strain the milk and cheese through a cheese cloth lined sieve over a container to receive the liquid...



Allow this some time to hang out and you'll see that the curds are left behind and what filters into the bucket is the whey...



Eventually it will begin to resemble the cheese you are familiar with...



At this point, the cheese is very bland and somewhat boring.  Add some salt...



And if you desire, some herbs are nice, too!



Not shown... the photo of us all eating this yummy fresh cheese from goats milked right on her homestead!  


Oh, wait...


Here are the girls, relishing it as they stick their fingers in and indulge! Why put off until later what you can enjoy right away?



You can use this simple recipe as a springboard for cream cheese, ricotta, and more. But I won't expound on that until I learn a bit more. For now, I'm very content to make lots of this wonderful soft goat cheese!

Barbara Kingsolver talks about attending a cheese making class in her book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.  I went back and re-read about her experience again after taking our own class and I thought, "I get it!!  I get it! Now I understand what she is talking about." 

But, I really loved it when Barbara talks to a woman in a middle eastern market in Montreal and asks the shop keeper about her cheese and what type of rennet she uses...

"She answered but seemed puzzled; most customers weren't interested in the technicalities. I confessed I'd tried this at home.

"You make cheese yourself," she repeated reverently. "You're a REAL housewife."
                                 -  From Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kinsgolver, p. 156

Gotta love it!

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