I have a confession to make. I've never made cheese... I grew up drinking raw milk and owning milk goats but have never made cheese, until recently that is. Well, to be perfectly honest I'm not sure a cheese connoisseur would consider what I made cheese as I didn't use any rennet, but none the less for me this was a huge accomplishment and so easy! I really do have to order some rennet and apparently a few other items to make mozzarella, soft chevre, and all the others but I'm just so excited about this little accomplishment.
First I watched a little video on Youtube created by Henry Milker (really? that's some name!). I couldn't believe how easy it was! I also did a bit more research as I didn't want to rely on just one source. I think this is probably the only recipe in recent memory that I have followed pretty much exactly.
Simple Goat Cheese
1 gallon milk
1/2 cup cider vinegar (I'm told you can use lemon juice or white vinegar as well)
large spoon (Stainless steel is best and don't use cast iron or aluminum pots or spoons.)
cheese cloth (Muslin would be best but I couldn't find any)
2 small cups or bowls to use for molding the cheese
First of all I grabbed 2, 2 quart jars of milk out of the refrigerator. My fridge is so full of milk right now I will have to make another 2 batches really quick in order to be able to make room for more. The milk was placed in a large pot and a thermometer attached to the side.
Turn on the heat to about medium, you don't want it to heat too fast. Then stir and stir and stir while the milk heats up. Don't stop stirring or you might ruin the whole thing!
Almost hot enough! You want the temperature to be between 190 and 200 degrees Fahrenheit. You have to look at the small numbers on this thermometer, I do live in Canada you know....
Then add the 1/2 cup of cider vinegar and gently stir. Once you see the whey and curds separating turn off the heat. Yeah!!! It's working!!! Let it sit for a bit too cool down. You don't want it burn yourself when you start straining it. I was a bit impatient though!
Place about 4 layers of cheese cloth in a colander over a large bowl or pot and strain out the curds.
Gather up the ends of the cloth and twist it to remove more whey. You can hang it for a while to drip if you like but I just squeezed it out real well. Guess my hands are getting pretty strong from milking.
Now it's time to add the seasoning! I added some dill, seasoning salt, regular salt, and garlic. You can add whatever you like. I really want to try some hot peppers soon. Next time I will use a bowl as it was hard to mix on the plate. Of course I got to eat all the little bits that just happened to fall off while I was mixing!
While it is still warm place a layer or two of cheese cloth into whatever you have decided to use as a mold and press down firmly. Then refrigerate at least over night. I think molding it while still quite warm might be key. I found it to be a little crumbly as I think I maybe waited too long and maybe squeezed it out too dry in my enthusiasm.
For a first attempt I was quite pleased with how it turned out and how easy it was. We are finding it tastes even better after a few days when the flavors have had a chance to meld and the cheese has had a bit of time to age. Just a little tip. Don't throw out all the whey! I can be used for many things which I will go into next week.