Basic chevre (sort of) – making your own
This post originally appeared on Junglefrog Cooking in 2012
After the very successful ricotta making of last month, I figured it would be a hit and run again for this month’s chevre or goatcheese. They’re pretty similar in structure I thought so what could go wrong?
Well…. you can start by getting the wrong milk. That’s one thing that can go wrong! You see, instead of me going to a proper goatfarm and buying a bottle of raw goat’s milk I searched on the internet on where to find goatmilk and voila, turns out they have it at our local supermarket. So why drive across the country when you can just walk to the store. Right? WRONG!
Now the first part of the process went quite good. I heated the milk according to instructions and left it in the oven (not turned on) for 12 hrs. It was a bit mass after that time and I dumped it into a colander lined with cheesecloth. I was all excited by that point and convinced I would have a perfect chevre the next day.
So far so good. (As I later learned from Ian, I should have broken up the curds before putting it in the colander to start the draining process.)
According to Valerie’s recipe the chevre should be about done after 6 hours, so since I had left it overnight I figured it would be fine in the morning so I checked… Mmm, it still had the consistency of yogurt. Not looking like cheese at all! At that point I started to wonder if I had maybe used too much fabric for the cheesecloth, so I poured (it was that liquid still) the curds into another cheesecloth and put it back in the fridge.
I then contacted Valerie and told her of my attempt. The first thing she told me was to get it out of the fridge and to properly hang it. Mine had not been hanging at that point except for maybe a few hours. So I took it out of the fridge and hung it on the kitchen counter. Every half day I would open the thing, peer inside and give it a little stir, which usually meant there was more whey coming out. And then left it hanging again.
I started to think it would never come together as it kept being really liquid and then yesterday by the end of the day I was starting to get a few bits and pieces that were a bit drier. And then this morning it was the consistency you see in the picture above! Yay! It’s by no means a perfect goatcheese but… it is quite good in taste. Which is surprising considering the milk I used.
As you can see it is still very moist and picking it up and handling it was quite a sticky business.Every time I had done some stirring when it was still hanging I also added a bit of salt in, so tasting it after, it didn’t really need much extra so I just gave it a tiny bit and then rolled it in chives , wrapped it in plastic and then set it in the fridge.
So overall I am not unhappy with this chevre. It is by no means perfect but it’s a start. I have now found a source for proper goat milk and the plan is to go there tomorrow and get a few liter raw goatmilk. Now as it turns out this farm also has workshops goatcheese making and while that is only in November, I just send them an email asking if there is still room for 2 people to join… 😉 Learning from the experts would be fun!
Now on to the tasting notes
- Appearance: very soft and creamy
- Nose (aroma): fairly strong smell of goatcheese
- Overall Taste: the flavor is distinctively goaty but still very soft. Based on my first tasting I had expected it to be stronger but it was actually quite mild. Still very much goatcheese but not sharp
- Sweet to Salty: Salty
- Mild (mellow) to Robust to Pungent (stinky): Mild
- Mouth Feel: (gritty, sandy, chewy, greasy, gummy, etc.): Very smooth texture, not like the regular chevre or goatcheese you would get.
For the original recipe it is best to check here on Valerie’s site, but I will give you the details of how I made it with the milk I picked etc and how long it took me to make
You need for this exercise also a thermometer that is accurate. Cheesecloth. A large stainless steel pot to heat the milk in. A colander or sieve to drain the curds. String to hang the curds with
- 2 liters Goatmilk from Albert Heijn
- 1/8 cup buttermilk
- 1/8 tsp liquid rennet
- 1/8 cup water
- 1/2 tsp salt preferably non iodized
Before you start take the milk out of the fridge a couple of hours before you want to start making your cheese, so that it is at roomtemperature.
Pour your goatmilk into the pot, stir the buttermilk in and slowly heat to 28 C (or 80 F)
Remove the pot from the heat and then add your 1/8 tsp of rennet to it. Immediately stirring in a top to bottom motion for approx. 30 seconds, then stop, cover the pot and leave it undisturbed for 12 hours inside your oven (obviously not turned on) or a warm place where it won't get jarred.
After 12 hours:
Check your curd. it will look like custard with a clear separation between the curds and whey around the side of the pot. You can see a clean break when tested with a knife.
Prepare the sieve by covering it with layers of cheese cloth, keeping in mind it needs to be large enough to hang later.
Ladle the curd into the sieve to allow the whey to drain. Make sure to cut up the curd as you go along and do not pour it all in without cutting it as that would not get you the best results.
Leave the curds outside of the fridge and once the majority of the whey has drained of in the sieve, hang the cheese in a convenient spot that is not too warm but not too cold either.
With the highly pasteurized milk I used I had to hang the curds for a total of 55 hours before it started to resemble cheese. Every 6 hours or so I mixed it a bit with a spoon, added a bit of salt and hung it back again.
Doing this made sure that the whey kept coming out.
After the 55 hours the cheese was still very soft but could be handled. Make sure your counter top is sanitized, sprinkle some salt over the surface area or over the curds and gently mix in.
Form it into a log on top of plastic wrap or use a herb mixture to roll the log in, then place the mixture on the wrap and roll it tightly and refridgerate.
It will keep for a week to ten days and wrapped in herbs it will last around 2 weeks. Ofcourse if you haven't eaten it by then.. 🙂
The two liter of milk got me a little over 150 gr of actual cheese. I forgot to weigh it so the 150 gr was after I had eaten a little bit of it, but probably something like 170 gr. The consistency of the cheese throughout the whole process went from a gluelike substance to a very smooth and silky goatcheese.
This post was part of the Cheesepalooza challenge where we had to make a different kind of cheese every month. Our basis and guide for this whole process is the book Artisan cheesemaking at home By Mary Karlin.