I love the tangy, delicious flavor of soft goat cheese, often called Chevre, which is French for “goat”. It is so easy to make and yields a lot more than one would get from the store. It is versatile enough that it can virtually match any dish. Herbs can be added, thick ribbons of basil, clips of chives, oregano, and green onion, a dash of red wine vinegar or lemon juice, and a good pinch of salt makes an amazing cheese to spread on crackers or fresh baked bread.
Adding a little more of the whey to create a creamier cheese allows it to be dressed up in Italian seasonings, a splash of lemon juice, and salt, and used in place of ricotta which creates an amazing flavor profile when added to pasta and rich tomato sauce. I added red wine, Italian seasonings, and garlic to my creamy cheese and baked it with ziti and spaghetti sauce. Amazing.
In this one I made it a bit sweeter than I typically do. It is fantastic with its sweet and slightly sour flavor. It is wonderful spread on breakfast toast or sprinkled on fresh salad greens. I added a teaspoon of vanilla salt and poured ginger peach syrup (a failed jam attempt) over the top. Very good.
You can make this with store bought goat’s milk, or indeed substitute cow’s milk, but we prefer fresh from the goat, raw milk. Nothing tastes so good as really fresh cheese.
Pour one gallon of milk into a stainless steel pot. Heat, stirring often, to 86 degrees.
Sprinkle on a packet of cultures. These are the ready made cultures that we need to make a variety of cheeses. They are available at cheese supply websites but I get ours from the local homesteading store (Buckley’s in Colorado Springs) or the local brew hut (Dry Dock in Aurora) that sells beer and wine making supplies. Graciously, they sell cheese making supplies as well.
Let sit for 2 minutes to rehydrate then stir into milk.
Place a cover on the pot and let it set for 12 hours. I do this so that it can sit overnight.
In the morning line a colander with cheesecloth. To help keep me from cussing I use clothes pins to secure it to the sides of the colander as I pour. I have a pot beneath the colander to catch the whey. This will be used in bread baking or to add a bit more liquid to my finished cheese if desired.
Pour the contents of the pot through the cheesecloth and catch all that fabulous cheese. Tie the cheesecloth (I use clothespins to secure) and either attach it to the side of the pot to drain (as shown here) or tie it and hang it from somewhere to drain for 4-8 hours depending on how dry you want your cheese. I like 4 hours.
At that point, I refrigerate the whey, place the cheese in a container and start seasoning. Enjoy! There are beneficial enzymes in goat cheese that are important to our digestive health. Goat cheese spread on crackers or fresh bread, a glass of wine, and a book beneath a tree. One of the great pleasures of summer!