Monday, August 5, 2013

Chèvre (Homemade Goat Cheese)

Chèvre is the French word for goat so it is used to describe any cheese made from goat's milk. Next to paneer it is one of the easiest cheeses to make. Chèvre cheeses come in a variety of sizes and shapes including cones, cylinders, discs, and hearts. It takes the shape of whatever mold you put it in. 

 It can be mild or tangy.  Most of that depends on the quality and taste of the goat milk is to start. We keep a good check on our goat's milk and people have often said they cannot tell the difference between it and cow's milk. If you taste your milk plain and it tastes "goaty", your cheese is going to also.  Some people like that.  We do not.   I use a dry culture from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.


1gallon goat's milk  (not ultra high pasteurized*)
1 packet dry chevre culture

 Heat a gallon of goat's milk to 86 degrees
Add one packet of Chèvre starter, mix well.  Let set in the pot with a lid on for 12 hours, at room temperature (at least 72F). ** I tipped the pot here so you can see the separation of the whey.
Gently ladle the curds into a mold in the shape of your choice or dump into a cheesecloth lined colander. The one I am using here is the Crottin (2-1/2"x4-3/4") and has small holes on the sides and bottom to allow for draining.  If you are using a cheesecloth you will need to tie and hang up to drain. 
Allow to drain for 6-12 hours, at room temperature.  I forgot and put mine in the refrigerator and it was just fine.
The longer it drains the drier it will be.  Just check in on it every few hours. This is how much it shrunk in 12 hours. If you use cheesecloth  that one will be drier I believe than the one in my mold since it has more places for liquid to escape.
Wrap in plastic and store in the refrigerator.   I hear it can be frozen.  I have not done that myself but will here to use up milk.  I will let you know how it works out. This batch made two logs approximately 11 ounces in weight.  Will vary by goat milk and how long you drain it.
Slice and serve with honey, jam, or fresh pesto and crackers. I will be trying this soon in other recipes and will be sure to share any successes.

*The proteins in ultra high pasteurized milk have lost their ability to set into curds.

** By mistake I let it set for 24 hrs before draining in the fridge.  I found it made more curds that were more moist and less tangy the the original version. It is the same amount of time spent at room temperature but the difference is whether it is in the whey or not.  Please ask me questions if you have any.

1 comment:

  1. This recipe is so easy, I never thought we could do this at home (my grand mother should be ashamed to hear me saying that, I'm sure she used to do it as well). Thanks for the recipe, Jenny. I'm gonna share it on twitter, send it some friends and try it very soon. Vive le chèvre! -Del's cooking twist