These days, one finds chèvre in boutique and gourmet restaurants, served with fresh sourdough. But chèvre, or cheese made from goat milk, is possibly the oldest way of making cheese. Many cultures for many centuries have made many forms of chèvre. But for today, we will focus on the soft, spreadable cheese North Americans know by name, and by price.
We try to keep some goats in milk year round, so when a few are kidding we are always drying up a few. This way we can have fresh milk daily. Sometimes we have 5 or 6 goats in milk at the same time so there are times when we are almost drowning in milk. This is the time to preserve it: make yogurt, ice cream, or cheese.
I have made cheddar, mozzarella and chevre fairly often, but the easiest to make is probably chevre. So, let’s make cheese!
Equipment and Ingredients:
- 1 gallon of fresh, raw goat milk
- Large Stainless steel pot with a lid
- Stainless steel stirring spoon
- Measuring spoons
- Small glass jar
- Mesophilic culture (I use M100)
- Sterilize your equipment so you the only bacteria you grow is your cheese culture!
- Warm the Milk
Warm the milk to 86F. Remove from heat.
- Add your culture
Allow the milk to cool to 76°. Sprinkle in ¼ teaspoon of direct set mesophilic culture. Allow to sit for a minute or two and then gently stir in to fully incorporate.
- Prepare the rennet
Dissolve 2 drops of liquid animal rennet into 5T of cool water
Add 1 tablespoon of diluted rennet and gently stir in an up and down motion. Do not over mix.
Allow the cultured milk to sit, undisturbed, for 18-24 hours at room temperature.
- Drain the curd
Your cultured milk should be nicely thickened. If you notice a greenish liquid around the cheese don’t panic. It’s whey.
Place 3 or 4 layers of cheesecloth over a colander that is inside a pot or pan. Gather up the corners of the cloth, tie together, and hang in a convenient location. Allow the cheese to drain for 6 – 12 hours, depending on how dry you like your cheese. Use the whey in another recipe or feed to your animals.
- Salt, flavor and enjoy!
Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth, put into a large bowl, and salt to taste while stirring. You can also add herbs, dried fruit, nuts, garlic or chives. Try it on a slice of fresh sourdough or a cracker!
Note: Looking for cheese culture and rennet in Canada? Check out Glen Gary Cheesemaking and Gourmet Warehouse.