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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.

Cost

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.

Goat Milk Cheese
Print Recipe
This is a great recipe for the beginner cheese maker. It is simple and produces a great spreadable cheese.
Goat Milk Cheese
Print Recipe
This is a great recipe for the beginner cheese maker. It is simple and produces a great spreadable cheese.
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
Sterilize the pan
  1. Put an inch or two of water in a 6 quart, heavy bottom pan. Put the lid on. Heat it to boiling. Remove form heat. Dump out the water. This insures that only the bacteria you introduce purposely will grow in your cheese.
Pasturize the milk
  1. Pour your milk into your pan. Heat it slowly over medium heat until it reaches 185 degrees. Remove it from the heat. Let your milk cool. If you have a place where your milk will be safe and nothing will get in it, you can do this with the lid off. Otherwise, let it cool with the lid on. I put mine on the countertop with the lid in place on a heavy towel or trivet.
  2. Let your milk cool. If you have a place where your milk will be safe and nothing will get in it, do this with the lid off. Otherwise, let it cool with the lid on. I put mine on the countertop on a heavy towel or trivet. The milk needs to be under 110 degrees. This can take a couple of hours
Culture your milk
  1. Once the milk is cool enough, and don't worry if it is too cool, add the yogurt and the half tablet of rennet. Stir it with a clean spoon. Now you just need to wait. I make a double boiler by putting my 6 quart pan (with lid in place) inside of a large stock pot . I then fill my bigger pan with hot water and put it on the warming element on my stove. I leave it overnight. In the morning the milk is thick and gelled. This is the curd. The liquid you see around it is the whey. It is not necessary to use a double boiler like I do. My neighbor just leaves her pan of inoculated milk, with the lid on top, on the countertop until it is cultured. My neighbor's friend, who has been teaching us to make cheese, simply wraps his pan in heavy towels and sit it on another. I know of people who put it in a gas oven with only the pilot lit. The objective is to keep the milk reasonably warm, but not too hot so that the culture you put in it will multiply and culture all of the milk.
Strain the milk
  1. Now get a towel for straining. You can use multiple layers of cheese cloth or a thin piece of fabric. I used a flour sack type towel and that worked great for me. Wet it with tap water and squeeze it out really well. This helps the straining get going faster.
  2. Put the towel into the strainer and the strainer over a bowl or pan that will support it. The deeper the container, the better. If it is too shallow, you will have to keep dumping out the whey.
  1. Now, slowly pour your milk over the towel in the strainer. The curd will fall apart as you do this, or you can run a knife or spatula through it to break it up before you pour.
  2. A lot of the whey will drain right through in the beginning. When the initial whey is done running through, cover the curd with the edges of your wet towel and let it sit again. You can put a weight on it to help press the whey out. Let it sit for several hours or overnight, depending on what time of day you started your project.
    weight on cheese while it is draining
You Have Cheese
  1. After several hours the curd should be pretty dry. You can pick it up in the towel and squeeze it just to be sure. Now dump the dry curd out into a mixing bowl. This is your cheese. You did it. Sprinkle the salt on top a teaspoon at a time, stirring well after each addition.
    dry cheese in towel
  2. If you want plain cheese you are done. This is good on crackers or cream cheese. If, however, you want to step it up a notch, add other ingredients. Make sure each ingredient is stirred in well.
  3. For my cranberry, walnut, honey cheese, I added 1/2 cup each of dried cranberries, walnuts, and honey. This was incredibly good.
    cheese with cranberries, walnuts, and honey
  4. I got at least 1 1/2 pounds of cheese like this. I don't know the exact amount because we were taste testing.
    cheese in container on a scale
  5. Put the stuff on a cracker or bagel and eat it already.
    goat's milk cheese on crackers
  6. What did you add to your cheese? How did it turn out? Let me know below.
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