Belle Chèvre

Local Goats

I have a thing for goats. I’ve adored them for years. In my dreams, I’d like to have a small herd someday, but, realistically, that just isn’t going to happen.

I love goat cheese too. It’s more realistic for me to try my hand at homemade goat cheese. I took a goat cheesemaking class in September 2011, but after I ordered the cultures, I felt intimidated and procrastinated on trying it myself.

Recently, I took another class on making fresh cheeses. We learned to make ricotta and paneer from cow’s milk and chèvre from goat’s. The goat cheese recipe was simpler than the original one I learned. I still had the original cultures in the freezer, so I took immediate action.

Oak Knoll Dairy Goats MilkI don’t have access to raw goat’s milk, but Whole Foods sells goat’s milk that isn’t ultra-pasteurized. Interestingly, I read in the local paper that Oak Knoll Dairy has a Lexington connection. The owners used to live on a small farm just across town, Oak Knoll Farm, with blueberry fields open for pick-you-own. Apparently, they started to raise goats and eventually moved to Vermont where they now have a Grade A commercial goat dairy.

Here’s how easy it is. The milk is heated up to the right temperature. I mixed in some direct-set culture for goat cheese. I covered the pot and let it sit on the stovetop for 24 hours until the curds set.

Goat Cheese Curds

Then, I ladled the cheese into a strainer (I used a fine-meshed jelly bag) to allow the whey to drip out for 12 hours, and it was chèvre.

Curds Draining

There was one hitch, I had a goat cheese accident. This isn’t part of the recipe. I decided that the jelly bag and the bowl it was dripping into should be on a tray. I didn’t account for the precarious balance of that jelly bag, and, just my luck, it tipped. I caught the bag on its way down, but I lost a third to half of the batch all over the kitchen floor… It took an hour to clean up and I continued to notice missed spots on the cabinets for days…

Goat Cheese Accident

Goat Cheese Accident

I started with a half-gallon of goat’s milk and, in the end, accident included, the chèvre filled a 10-ounce container. If it hadn’t spilled, there should have been about a pound.

The soft fresh cheese was delicious spread on toast and topped with a sprinkle of coarse salt.

Chevre sprinkled with Red Hawaiian Salt

Chevre sprinkled with Red Hawaiian Salt

I also dabbed the goat cheese on top of a galette.

Galette

And inside some handpies.

Handpies

You can substitute the whey for milk when baking, so my Super Bowl cornbread and some not-so-successful buckwheat popovers had some added tang from goat milk whey.

My first batch is gone, but I plan to make more this week, without spillage, I hope.

Fresh Chèvre
Makes about 2 pounds

1 gallon goat’s milk (not ultra-pasteurized)
1 packet chèvre direct set starter (I used C20G culture)

Heat milk to 86F. Stir in one packet starter bacteria. Cover and leave at room temperature, undisturbed, for 12 to 24 hours, until curds are set. Ladle curd gently into a jelly bag or butter muslin-lined strainer set over a bowl large enough to catch whey. Let it hang to drain for 6 to 12 hours. Can be salted to taste with an uniodized salt, like kosher or sea salt.

The recipe can be halved (that’s what I did).

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Posted on 10 February 2013, in Cheesemaking and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. I’ve never tried my hand at making cheese, but I love really fresh goat cheese, so maybe one of these days? How about a little on crostini drizzled with your fabulous honey?

  2. I love your set up for draining the cheese.

  3. I love the idea of adding it to a galette and your apparatus for draining the cheese.

  4. Betsy, I love love the fact that you made homemade goat cheese! All I have managed so far is ricotta from cow´s milk…if and when you decide to start realizing your dream of raising a small herd of goats, let me know, I will take a small vacation and come and help, I mean it – I think that goats are wonderful!

  1. Pingback: ffwd: cheating-on-winter pea soup | A Plateful of Happiness

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