Hello. Here I am doing another recipe blog when I promised myself to keep it to one a week. Summer, however gives me so much material to work with so fast that the recipes will just have to space themselves as they come. I can’t really post about making blackberry jam or pickled beets in the middle of winter, can I? So I will just have to do more recipes this summer and get to general teaching and such more this winter. I’m still in the kitchen with the children a lot, but I feel like I must capture these other things as they happen.
Where does the milk come from?
I mentioned before that our girls are helping raise our neighbor’s goats. She is an older, single lady. She is really sweet and is involved in our lives quite a bit. Its kind of like living next door to your grandmother. She is a doctor at the local hospital and is very busy. She happens to own a large piece of wooded land behind her house and bought the goats to help manage the growth of brush in the woods. The girls help her out with the goats, doing everything from morning and evening milking, helping clean the barn, and making sure everyone gets to the correct section of pasture for the day. In exchange for this, we get all of the goat milk we can use. Sometimes more. We can easily get a gallon a day. We are really blessed to be living in town and have this opportunity. So, we have been learning a lot this summer about things you can do with goat’s milk. Its very versatile and I am sure there is more to do with it than we will get to this year. I’d like to try making soap and caramels. Maybe when things slow down a bit? HA! HA! Most of our milk is being used for drinking and making yogurt, these are both pretty simple, but I have been wanting to get to trying goat’s milk cheese and I finally did.
Cheese Making Considerations
Difficulty and Equipment
I was pleasantly surprised. Goat’s milk cheese is actually quite simple to make.You can also make it with cow milk. It is a soft, spreadable cheese that can be used like cream cheese. I thought it would be a really complicated process that only people who have a lot of time to dedicate and very expensive equipment could make; but it’s not. Although the process is pretty long, the time that you are busy is not. A lot of it is just waiting for the cheese to do it’s thing at different stages. The equipment list is pretty simple too. I used my pasta pan, which I think holds about 6 quarts of liquid, a large stock pot that I use to make a double boiler with my pasta pan, a flour sack type kitchen towel, a strainer and a bowl to set the strainer in. Oh, and I guess I did use a weight to help speed up the straining, but my neighbor doesn’t use one. She just lets it strain a little bit longer and hers is really good too.
I also want to mention cost. Goat’s milk cheese is very expensive in the store, so I thought it would be very expensive to make. It’s not. The only unusual ingredient is the rennet. vegetable rennet (which is what we use) is an enzyme derived from certain vegetables that have coagulation properties. It causes the milk to separate into solid curds and whey. Rennet is not expensive and you only need 1/2 tablet of it for a batch. The other expenses are a gallon of milk, 1/2 cup of good yogurt, and whatever you put in it for flavor . I estimate that if you bought cows milk at the store for $2.79, a small container of good, plain yogurt for a $1.00 and used half of a rennet tablet (about .15 cents worth) that you could make a pound and a half of goats milk cheese for under $4.00. I of course, am not paying for the milk, so for me it is really inexpensive. After you flavor it, it might be a little bit more, but still very reasonable.
How to use it
Goat’s milk cheese is very versatile. We have had several offerings from our neighbor and a from a friend of hers who also makes goats milk cheese. Its really good with just a little salt and pepper. That’s the most basic. We’ve also had it with garlic powder and dried basil. The last batch, however, has been my favorite and it’s the one I tried. It was cranberry, walnut, and honey. YUM! This is terrific on Ritz type crackers or on a toasted bagels.
Here’s how to do it, but first, do me a favor, please. If you make the cheese, or if you don’t, but are intrigued by the whole process: if you know someone who has makes cheese or if you have a question, please leave me a comment below. I would really like to start meeting some of my readers. I am great at nonstop jabbering and I can give a lot of output, but I also need to get some feedback. There. That’s over. Thank You.
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