Monday, June 11, 2012

Super Easy Chevre Goat Cheese!

And you shall have goats' milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and for the maintenance for your maidservants. Proverbs 27:27


Chevre.  Yes, I broke out the good china for this one!
What's creamy, buttery, delicious and great on just about anything? Goat cheese, baby! If you want to sound sophisticated you can call it chevre which is just a generic French word for goat cheese. Why is it that everything sounds so cosmopolitan in French? What ever you decide to call it, you should definitely try this simple recipe for chevre. Don't be intimidated by the cheese making process, I promise you this is one of the easiest recipes you will ever find!

You will need only 4 ingredients: 1 gallon of goat milk (you can half this recipe),  rennet (do not use junket rennet tablets...they will not work), a culture and 1/4 cup of water.   I use a double strength vegetable rennet and a little goes a long way! You can make chevre with pasteurized goat milk but if you have access to fresh raw goat milk the flavor tends to be more complex and buttery.  My Nubian goats are given grains and alfalfa as well as being free range grazers so they bring a distinct floral, somewhat savory and what I call summery flavor to our cheese that we absolutely love.  

Okay, are you ready for this?  Pour your milk into a large container, I used my crock pot because I do not like to use metal. If you must use metal make sure it is stainless steel so it will be non-reactive. Your milk can be cold or room temperature, I have done this both ways and the process has worked out well either way.


Step 1: Pour you goat milk into your container
Next add 1/4 teaspoon ( or 1/8 teaspoon if you are halving the recipe) of your culture and stir well with a wooden spoon. You do not want to use a metal spoon.

Now, add 1 drop of your liquid rennet to your 1/4 cup of water and mix to blend. I told you a little goes a long way! Take 2 Tablespoons (use 1 Tablespoon if you are halving the recipe) of this mixture and add it to your milk. Stir well.  Cover your container with a cloth napkin or dish towel and secure with a rubber band.

Let your milk, culture and rennet sit for 24 hours.
Simple so far, right? You will let your milk mixture sit out for 24 hours. I just let mine sit on the counter in an out of the way spot but if you are short on space you can place it in your oven, just be sure not to "preheat" while your milk is in there! During this time your milk will thicken into curds.

Curds and whey!
The next day you will want to drain your cheese curds from the whey which has separated during the 24 hour period.  Place a large colander in a large bowl and line with a fine butter muslin, cheese cloth or you can use a cotton pillow case. I used an old white cotton pillow case that I cut open along the seams and it worked wonderfully.  Do Not use the cheese cloth that you find in grocery stores, it is not fine enough and it will not work! 

Colander inside a bowl to catch the whey that will drip off.

I used a king size pillow case and it worked fine.
Carefully pour your curds into the colander, it should be gelled and have the consistency of a thick yogurt.  You do not have to worry too much if they fall apart some.


Tie up the corners of your cheese cloth to enclose the curds and be sure to keep the ends inside the colander or the whey will drip all over your counter.  I used a rubber band to secure the bag closed.

Curds securely wrapped and whey dripping in bowl.

You may need to pour off they whey into another container so that the colander doesn't sit "in" the whey and so it can finish dripping.  You can save your whey for baking bread, cooking with, or give it to your animals, they love it! Let your curds sit for another 24 hours.  I placed the other half of my pillow case over the top to cover it.

Almost done, I can hardly wait!

This is the moment you have been waiting! Untie your cheese cloth and transfer your chevre to a clean bowl.  Add 1 teaspoon of sea salt or kosher salt (do not use iodized salt) and blend well.  Remember to use only 1/2 teaspoon if you have halved this recipe.

Add salt to taste.
You can get creative and combine herbs and spices to your cheese or eat it plain!  I like garlic, dill and chives, or parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  Zatar is another wonderful blend of Middle Eastern spices that pairs perfectly with chevre.  Traditionally it is mixed with olive oil and baked into the crust of flat bread but I like to just mix it into the cheese or top it off and eat it! Yum.

Store your cheese in small containers in the refrigerator.  You can also freeze your chevre. Just allow it to thaw in the refrigerator for 24 to 48 hours before eating.

This makes about 2 pounds.
Whew. That was hard work wasn't it!  Give this recipe a try and you can impress all your friends, that is if you don't eat it all first! Enjoy!  :)

Blessings,
Michelle






4 comments:

  1. Still working on the buttermilk--going to try this one too. Maybe next week. Didn't know I could use the crock pot, and was going to buy a separate SS pot to make my cheeses in! Loving this wonderful milk and ALL we can do with it--and besides that it is so wonderful all on its own.

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    1. Some recipes call for bringing it up to a certain temp but this one was so simple and didn't require any cooking so I just used my crock pot and it worked out great! I suppose a SS pot will be necessary for some recipes so it may be nice to have on hand. If you have a stock pot for spaghetti that would work fine I think.

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  2. I love Love LOVE this recipe!!!
    It is so simple yet the cheese tastes so amazing!!!
    I am from Florida so we have to sell for pet use only but the cheese goes fast (like 5 minutes) when we offer it through our local CSA for "pet treats".
    I like your flavors but have you tried: garlic chives, roasted garlic with balsamic vinegar, roasted red pepper and chili, honey, honey and cardomom, Italian, smoked salmon and capers, logs-rolled in chopped rosemary, chopped almonds with cranberries and honey?? The ultimate decatant treat is to take the cheese and make chocolate truffles out of it. Add some raspberry jam, elderberry jam, red or black current jam or orange marmalade. It is so rich. I cannot keep them on hand. One guy bought some and the package (6) only made it with 1 and 1/2 left for his wife at home.
    From Sunny Florida
    (where sheep and goats are on the milking stand)
    Christina
    www.FlairsFayre.com

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    Replies
    1. Christina,
      Thank you for your kind comments! I haven't been on my blog for a while as I have been very busy with the farm homeschool, and with college...but better late than never to reply. Your recipes sound delicious, and I'll need to give them a try next milking season.

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