We are huge fans of cheese in this household and when an opportunity to make our own DIY goat cheese via a very thoughtful Christmas present from Graham, we had to try it out. The DIY cheese kit we got was from Belle Chevre, a cheese shop and creamery based in Alabama, and hopefully one I'll get to visit one day on a trip to the South (haha, jk jk.)
Disclaimer: making your own cheese, especially as a first-time beginner, does turn into a bigger production than it might seem at first. Even though I had a (very basic) working knowledge of how making cheese works, the process took more time (and more equipment in the form of bowls, random wooden spoons, paper towels, so on) than the instructions might suggest. That being said, having a massive quantity of delicious goat cheese to do whatever I liked with in the refrigerator was a great motivator, so we got stuck in.
Heat goat's milk on low to medium heat until your submerged thermometer reads 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not forgot to keep stirring continuously to avoid burning. Also, this will take longer than you think (or maybe it was just me being impatient.)
Once the milk reaches 180, take it off the heat and add citric acid, as directed. And this is where it started to go a bit weird - adding the acid is supposed to curdle the milk and begin the process of separating the liquid into solid cheese curds and the liquid, watery whey.
Unfortunately, nothing happened at all until I dumped in three or four times the directed amount of citric acid. You may have to tinker with this based on your goat's milk - maybe the pasteurization makes it harder for the milk to form curds - and maybe even resort to lemon juice as a stronger acid.
At this point, you can start draining the whey from your curds by using a cheesecloth and pouring the liquid - carefully, because it's still hot and there's quite a lot of it still - into the cloth and putting a container below to catch the whey as it drains. While this sounds very straightforward, we did have to end up rigging a makeshift "hobo bundle" with a wooden spoon shoved into a wine rack and then tying the cheesecloth package to it:
After an hour or so, most of the liquid should have drained out which can only mean one thing - your freshly made, raw goat's cheese is nearly complete. I would recommend seasoning your goat cheese with salt and pepper and adding whatever herbs or spices you'd like. As you can see below, we had some plain, some rolled into a chevre log with herbs and some with olive oil and paprika that I ate in vast quantities almost immediately.
Let me know if anyone gives this a try and if there are success stories about not just goat cheese but other varieties as well.
One woman's journey to eat all the food. Or at least, most of it.