I love goat cheese. I love it on soups, I love it on crackers, and I really really love it on wraps. So when we started getting raw goat milk from a local source, I knew that making cheese was somewhere on the horizon.
But it had to be complicated, right? When I read about cheese-making, there’s enzymes and rennet and special molds and all sorts of other crazy words.
Thankfully, cheese is only complicated if you want it to be. I discovered this when I had a quart of goat milk left after a busy week and I knew it would start turning into buttermilk if I didn’t do something with it soon. I had a few hours before I was heading to bed, so I decided, “Hey, I’m making goat cheese.”
The internet is a wonderful thing. After some googling, I found this wonderful recipe. Goat milk? Check. Fresh lemon juice? Double check.
It was easy—and by easy, I mean really really easy. I did most of this in while watching LOST. And it is oh so delicious. In fact, you definitely need to have crackers (and maybe a baguette) so you can do some instant sampling once you’re finished.
Homemade Goat Cheese
• 1 quart goat milk (you can use pasteurized, but raw is the best—check here or at your local farmer’s market)
• 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 1/2 clove freshly grated garlic
• coarse salt, to taste
• optional: freshly chopped parsley or other herbs (rosemary, chives, etc.)
Slowly bring the milk to 180 degrees (use a candy thermometer to check the temp). Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, then let stand until the milk begins to curdle (about 20 seconds). It won’t be super lumpy, but you’ll see the texture change (note the small curds on my spoon in the picture).
Line a colander with several pieces of cheesecloth (you can get this at any grocery store) and set inside a large bowl. Ladle the milk into the colander, allowing a moment for the liquid (whey*) to drain through.
Once all the milk has been ladled into the cheese cloth, gather the four corners of the cheesecloth and tie to the middle of a wooden spoon. Set over a stockpot or deep bowl and allow to drip for about 1.5 hours.
Remove the cheese and place in a bowl: fold in salt, garlic, and herbs (if using). Your cheese is ready! It will last up to a week (refrigerated) in an airtight bowl, although if you’re using fresh herbs you’ll probably want to use it in the next three days. Of course, it’s so tasty that ours is usually gone after a day or two.
*Save your whey in a glass container—it will last for three weeks and is great for soaking grains so that they are easier to digest and better for your system.