My life has been all about milking lately. Morning and evening. The girls have really been doing their jobs well.
So what to do when you have so much extra milk you could practically bathe in it (Oh wait, I already do that.)?
Make cheese, of course!
Now, to make goat cheese, you can get really fancy and purchase specialized things like cultures and rennet and things like that, but I’m all for simple and inexpensive. Although, I’m not ruling out any cheese making purchases in the future.
And when I say simple, I really do mean just that.
Two ingredients. That’s basically all this farm-style goat cheese has in it. Of course, you can pizzazz it up with a few extra additives for a little more flavor.
First, you start with milk.
Which we have. This is slightly more than 2 quarts of fresh goat milk, and I used a another 2 quarts in all for this batch.
Now, you can totally use pasteurized milk to make goat cheese. Or you can use raw, which is what I did.
Pour the milk into a large saucepan, and slowly heat to about 180 to 186F degrees, stirring constantly to try to keep the milk from scalding. If it does scald, that’s perfectly fine. Just try not to scrape the yucky stuff on the bottom up into the milk.
Once it has heated up to the desired temperature, remove from heat and stir in the apple cider vinegar (you can also use white distilled vinegar, lemon juice, or even citric acid. The milk will almost immediately begin to separate into curds and whey. This is my favorite part because it’s really neat to see the cheese forming in front of your eyes.
Allow it to set for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, place a colander over a large bowl and line it with at least two layers of cheesecloth (Having trouble finding cheesecloth in the store? Try checking the crafts section).
After about ten minutes have passed, pour the curdled milk in the lined colander.
The liquid in the bowl is the whey. I’ve read of people using it to bake with, as an extra ingredient in smoothies, to make ricotta, and as a protein booster (whey is full of protein). I haven’t used it for anything extra, but one day!
Bring the edges of the cheesecloth together to create a ball of cheese. Hang the cheesecloth covered ball of cheese over a bowl for about 1 to 2 hours so that any extra whey can drip out.
I hang my cheese ball from a cabinet door handle, but some people also hang them from wooden spoons laid across the top of a tall stock pot.
Once your cheese has finished dripping out whey, unwrap it and add any extras that you desire.
This one had salt, pepper, garlic, and fresh rosemary added, but you can do things like fruit, nuts, sun dried tomatoes, chives, or any other herbs you’d like. Mix it all together, then pack it into a container (I just use a regular old Tupperware-type container) and place in the refrigerator. Allow about 2 days for the flavors to meld together for the best taste, but if you want to, it’ll still be perfectly tasty to eat right away.
I love goat cheese.
Or on baked potato wedges. Or just by itself.