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Soft, Chèvre-style Goat Cheese

Sometimes I get asked why we keep dairy goats when we have several cows we milk, this cheese is why. I can't live without it! Also, goats are just generally hilarious, definitely the jesters of the animal kingdom and we love them. This recipe is adaptable to your own taste in terms of tanginess and texture (creamy vs. a drier, crumbly cheese). My own preference is creamy and tangy. I put goat cheese in just about everything: omelettes, salad, pasta, pizza, risotto, sandwiches, gyros, you get the picture. Take me to a restaurant and I will scan the menu and order whatever has goat cheese in it. One of my favorite recipes is posted below the cheese instructions, which is (Italians plug your ears) a very non-traditional bruschetta with goat cheese smeared on the bread before the tomato topping goes on. It is DIVINE.


Ingredients:


  • 1 quart raw goat's milk

  • 1 Tablespoon plain yogurt (pick whatever is your favorite type because that is the character your cheese will take on, I like a tangy yogurt)

  • 1 drop rennet diluted in 1 Tablespoon filtered water (we will not use the entire Tbsp)

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Method:


  1. I like to start this in the evening so the culture can work its magic overnight

  2. If the milk is not fresh from the udder, warm it to 85F

  3. While the milk is warming, prepare a hot water bath inside an insulated vessel (this could be a cooler or a pressure cooker as long as it is big enough to hold your jar of milk or the milk itself. I sometimes use a very large double-walled thermos and then you don't need the water bath OR I put the quart jar inside my pressure cooker in 110F water)

  4. Add the yogurt and stir thoroughly

  5. Pour milk back into the jar OR into a thermos if you're using that (if using a thermos put the lid on and leave it for 12 hours or overnight, if using a jar, place a lid on and put the jar into your warm water bath)

  6. Leave it for about 12 hours or overnight

  7. The idea here is just to culture the milk at 85 and then keep it at that temperature for 12-ish hours

  8. In the morning, remove the jar from the water bath and pour the slightly thickened milk into a medium saucepan

  9. Check that the temperature is around 85, if not bring it back to 85F then remove from heat

  10. Mix 1 drop rennet with 1 Tablespoon filtered water - WAIT - we don't need the whole thing! We want just the tiniest amount of rennet for this cheese

  11. From your mixture take just 1 teaspoon and mix it into the cultured milk

  12. Put a lid on the saucepan and leave it for 1 hour

  13. Cut the curds after an hour in both directions (no need to wait for a clean break, these will barely be curds)

  14. Pour the entire contents of the saucepan into a tightly woven cheesecloth or flour-sack towel suspended over a bowl and hang it up to drain

  15. After about 12 hours take the bundle down from where it is hanging, place it in a bowl, open it carefully (it will probably still be pretty runny in the center) and mix in 1/2 tsp sea salt

  16. Re-tie and re-hang the cheese to drain until morning (an additional 12 hours)

  17. Draining time is going to vary, for me I am happy with this thick, creamy consistency after about 24hrs of draining

  18. If you want a drier, crumbly cheese you just need to hang it for longer, it will eventually get there!

  19. If you want cute little log shaped cheeses you can put it into a goat cheese mold once it is dry enough to form or use parchment paper to wrap and shape it




Just one of many excellent ways to use this cheese! Goat cheese BRUSCHETTA. Also, I cannot take credit for this gorgeous photo by Calum Lewis, I grabbed it off of unsplash.com for this post because I can’t find a picture of my bruschetta in my camera roll, but this is exactly what it looks like. 😄


Ingredients:


  • Crusty loaf of homemade sourdough Italian bread (my sourdough master recipe can be found here)

  • Ripe tomatoes (a pint of cherry size tomatoes or about 4 medium tomatoes) chopped

  • 1 med-lg clove garlic

  • A handful of basil, torn into small pieces

  • Good quality, fruity olive oil

  • Creamy chèvre-style goat cheese


Method:


  1. Slice your bread and depending on size of the slices you may want to cut each slice in half

  2. Toast the bread slices on both sides

  3. Split a garlic clove and rub the bread down on one side with the garlic, then peel and mince the garlic and set aside

  4. Drizzle bread with olive oil

  5. Smear that goat cheese on there nice and thick (I like to warm it up first, YUM!)

  6. Mix together tomatoes, minced garlic (optional if you like it garlicky), and torn basil in a bowl

  7. Drizzle the tomato mixture with a little olive oil and season with a pinch of salt

  8. Top bread with the tomato mixture

  9. Try not to eat it all!!



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