Installment #2 of how to make cheese. Here’s the mozzarella post if you missed it!
More tips on the process from Mr. Matt:
Goat cheese is actually way easier to make than the mozzarella, and it’s probably the recommended type of cheese to try for your first attempt. You still need a few specialized items but they’re not difficult to find. Once again, our methods come from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. Just buy a goat cheese kit and you’ll have everything you need (assuming you have a pot and a colander in your kitchen!)
Most recipes are written to turn one gallon of goat milk into about 2 pounds of goat cheese. For these pictures we halved the recipe just because I wanted to experiment with the extra cheese culture.
You’ll need a non-aluminum pot to heat the milk. Start by adding about a cup of water to it, and bringing it to a boil for 10 minutes to sanitize the pot. I also put our stirring spoon in the pot to sanitize.
After the 10 minute boil, dump out any remaining water, and then pour in the milk.
Heat to 86* on medium, while stirring constantly to evenly distribute the heat.
Once it reaches temp, you simply open your packet of chevre culture, pour it in, and stir for a minute to incorporate!
Cover the pot and place in a warm place for 12-24 hours. Ideally the culture should stay above 75*. Usually the coils on top of your fridge will add some heat, or you can put it in a TV cabinet where the heat from the electronics will maintain temp. Or just stick it in your oven, pour a few cups of boiling water into a bowl, and leave shut. Don’t forget it’s in there!
After 12-24 hours the curds will have separated from the whey and firmed up a bit.
Once again, you’ll want to sanitize the equipment you’re about to use in the next step. Boil a few cups of water in a pot to sanitize a colander, a stretch of cheese cloth (this will come with the goat cheese kit), and a slotted spoon.
Once everything is sanitized (5-10 minutes of boiling), open up the cheesecloth and drape it over the colander.
At this point we need to get the curds into the cloth while leaving behind the whey. If the pot/bowl underneath the colander is big enough you can just pour it all through. Pour slowly so that most of the whey will go through the cloth before any curd lands in there. You can also use a slotted spoon to move the curd over, but this will take some time.
Now tie the corners of the cheese cloth so that it’s a tight ball and hang to let the whey drain out. The draining will take another 12-24 hours, depending on the consistency you’re going for. This can be done at room temp, but in our example we hung the bag in the (beer) fridge because we let the initial fermentation go for the full 24 hours. I figured that was enough time to get some good flavor.
Draining for 24 hours will produce the typical texture you expect from goat cheese, but if you want something that’s more spreadable, consider hanging for less time. Don’t immediately throw away the whey – you can also add a little back to make it more spreadable. The next day you’ve got cheese!
At this point you’ll want to add salt to taste, and any herbs you want. You can also make little pucks and roll them in black pepper, or herbs – whatever you want!
Go crazy with goat cheese all week!