How to Make Incredible Chèvre Cheese (It's Easy, Healthy, Delicious! Anyone Can Make Goat Cheese)
I have ALWAYS loved cheese. It's my biggest downfall. My husband laughed when I made this confession. He told me, "Well, that's pretty good if cheese is your biggest downfall." Hmmm. Well, that's debatable, but regardless, since I spend so much moolah on cheese, I have been wanting to learn how to make cheese for a VERY long time. Since I was a kid! You see, I am perfectly capable of eating a block of cheese within a day or two. Sad. I know. My cheese bill is rather higher than average, I'm sure.
One of my favorite cheeses is goat cheese. It's mild, creamy, delicious, and easy to cook with. There's a little problem, though: It's expensive. Plus, when you buy any commercially made product, you are unknowingly and potentially supporting inhumane treatment of animals. You may also be unwittingly ingesting chemicals and preservatives that could be toxic to your body. So, the best thing is to make your own. Especially if it's easy and saves you money and keeps you and family safe!
I've searched for good cheesemaking books, and I'll be honest: They all looked too complicated. I think cheese making is something that should be approached from easy to more complicated, or it's just too easy to give up---or as in my case, just not ever start.
Imagine how delighted I was to meet my friend, Corina Sahlin over at Marblemount Homestead and learn that not only is she an authentic German native (cute accent and all), but she could teach me to make cheese! All kinds of cheese, including my favorite, goat cheese. And yes, that is the first cheese I've tackled. Creamy, smooth, healthy goat cheese, otherwise known as chèvre.
I've made chèvre using Corina's method and recipe three different times now, each time more successfully. The first time was a little wet. The second time was a little rubbery. And finally, this third time was just right! A-Mazing! Sounds like Goldilocks, I just realized! LOL
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How to Make Chèvre Cheese (Goat Cheese)
This is seriously easy cheese to make. Even with my first two efforts not being perfect (my reference is store bought cheese), they all tasted great and were eaten immediately!
Corina gives directions for making chèvre with 5 quarts of goat milk and also 2 quarts of goat milk. I chose the 2 quart recipe all times because I have to purchase the milk at this point. Soon..VERY soon, I will have my own fresh goat milk, but for now, I'm making my cheeses in smaller amounts, more often, and guess what that does? It gives me more practice!
Ingredients You'll Need to Make Chèvre Cheese:
** 2 quarts goat milk, as lightly pasteurized as possible. You do not want ultra-pasteurized!
** 1 tiny drop of Rennet
** 1/8 teaspoon of Mesophilic C101 Culture
Can you believe this is all you need to make chèvre?! I will be saving a TON of money on cheese...finally! :-)
Tools You'll Need to Make Chèvre Cheese (You Probably Have These):
** A large pot, stainless steel
** A thermometer, digital is best
** A large strainer (or two, if you have to split the curds & whey, like I did--I have two sets of these)
** Butter Muslin, or one layer of clean cotton pillow case
That's all you need!
Directions for Making Goat Cheese:
Step 1) Heat your goat milk to 80*
Step 2) Sprinkle the 1/8 teaspoon culture on top of the goat milk, and let it rehydrate for a few minutes.
Step 3) Drop just ONE drop only of rennet into 1/4 cup water and stir carefully.
Step 4) Measure out two tablespoons of the liquid water/rennet mix and pour these into the goat cheese.
Step 5) With an up and down motion, using a wooden or stainless steel or plastic spoon, be sure the rennet solution and the culture is stirred in well.
Step 6) Set the pot aside and cover with a towel. It will need to sit totally still for 8 to 12 hours. When it's done culturing, you'll see some liquid whey sitting on top, and the mixture will have a soft set to it.
Step 7) Get ready to drain the whey. What I did was get a large strainer and lay it across the large bowl. I cut some butter muslin, two layers thick, and set that into the strainer. You can also put your curds into the butter muslin, bring up all the sides, tie it at the top and hang it over a pot or sink to strain.
Step 8) Now strain out the whey. To do this, very carefully spoon out the curds into a strainer set up. Cover with a cloth if you are using a bowl and strainer and not hanging it. It needs to strain another 8 to 12 hours. I actually let mine strain about 14 hours. I wanted a more dry cheese this time.
Step 9) Pour off the whey. There is SO much whey that emerges from this cheese that I end up pouring it off a couple different times. By this I mean I have to pour it out of the bowl or it hits the bottom of the strainer.
Corina states you should NOT pour your whey into the sink because it can cause damage to your pipes. Each time I've made chèvre with two quarts of goat milk, I've gotten about a quart and a half of whey, give or take, each time!
I've been giving the whey to my chickens, and they LOVE it! You can also use it to start a ferment, but you don't need too much, and you'll still have lots left over. You can also pour it on your plants outside, if you dilute it quite a lot. Another way to use extra whey is to use it in your smoothies or cooking! You can also soak your rice in it for a couple hours before cooking it. This helps the digestibility of the rice. Whey is VERY useful.
Step 10) Go ahead and add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt to your cheese. Just mix it in well. Now you can form it into rounds and freeze it, or you can add herbs and refrigerate it to use more quickly.
How to Use Goat Cheese
I like to add herbs to mine. For this last batch, I added ground course pepper and a mix of dried Italian herbs and a little garlic. Delicious! Done this way, the goat cheese makes a great appetizer for dipping with celery, crackers, or carrots.
You can cook all kinds of things using goat cheese! You can make fried goat cheese, goat cheese and honey, or just add it to soups and stews.
One of my favorite things to do with goat cheese is to use it as a topping on salads, eggs, or casseroles (after cooking). It's SO good!
Final Thoughts on Making Your Own Goat Cheese
If you're like me, and learning how to make cheese has been on your bucket list of things to do, I highly recommend Corina's Cheese Making Online Course. Not only does she give clear instructions, but she's also written a couple of eBooks as well. The course costs about $50, these days, I believe. I enrolled a little bit ago, and got the discounted price that was available then, but all in all, that is an incredible price for everything you learn!
What do you learn? All the basics of cheese making, plus how to make yogurt, Greek yogurt, Chèvre, Gouda, Vino al Cabra (that really fancy cheese with the wine layer). The Online Cheese Making Course is a nice well-rounded cheese journey that will provide an excellent foundation for learning even more complex cheese making skills. Now I'll be ready for the complicated cheese making books that I was afraid to buy before!
I am LOVING my chèvre! I hope you'll try this out! Do you make cheese of any kind? I'd love to hear what you think!
Also, if you are interested in making cheese, you might also enjoy Fermentation: What is It and Why You Should Eat Fermented Foods and Fermentation Myths: You Just Might Change Your Mind About Fermentation! There's lots more on the blog too!
Hugs & Self-Reliance,
P.S. If you haven't already, go ahead and sign up for the weekly newsletter! It's one newsletter a week with updates, tips & recipes not found on the website, and free eBooks! Once in awhile, I'll send an additional note in a week's time if there is a special opportunity I think is very valuable. Other than that, it's just once a week. Subscribers also get any other freebie I add to the bunch!
P.P.S. If you're looking for a gift for a cheese loving friend, this course with a basket of the ingredients would be incredible! Just saying---I'm a cheese lover, so I would have LOVED this! :-)
P.P.P.S. If you are interested in learning more about traditional cooking, visit the Traditional Cooking School! They've got all kinds of courses on fermentation, sour dough, cooking for kids, and lots more!