Easy Ways To Make Goat Cheese

Goat cheese is a common ingredient in salads, wraps, main dishes and even desserts. If you have never made your own food before, goat feta and chevre are some of the easiest things to start with.

Goat Cheese – A Healthy Alternative

While many people like to eat goat cheese just for its distinctive taste, it’s also considered much healthier than cheese made from cow’s milk. It’s naturally homogenized, lower in calories and fat, and higher in vitamins, calcium and protein. People with lactose intolerance often find goat milk and cheese easier to digest. There is lactose in goat milk, but it’s in smaller bits, which don’t stay in your stomach and ferment the way cow’s milk can. The casein proteins in goat milk are different from those in cow’s milk, which can also cause allergies.

Chevre

This is probably the easiest cheese to make. Fresh milk is best for this, but you can also use organic goat milk from your local natural grocery. Get clean raw milk if you can. Pasteurization destroys vitamins and other nutrients.

You will need half a gallon (two quarts) of goat milk, a quarter cup of lemon juice or vinegar, coarse salt and pepper, a colander and a roll of cheese cloth. Dried herbs like basil, chives, rosemary and parsley can be put in at the end.

Cook milk in a large stainless steel pot on medium heat, stirring constantly. Let it come to a boil for about half a minute. Remove from heat and slowly stir in lemon juice. The curds will separate from the whey. Continue stirring for another half minute or so, pour it into the colander and let drain. You may throw the whey away or keep it to use as a bread starter or in soup stock. Stir in salt, pepper and herbs. Mix well and put in a loaf baking dish. Cover with Saran Wrap and let it sit in the refrigerator for two or three days before using.

Another Method of Making Chevre

In addition to the above ingredients and supplies, you will need some chevre molds, a cooking thermometer, a small amount of cheese culture and liquid rennet. Vegetable rennet is fine.

Heat the milk to 72 degrees. Put in one-eighth teaspoon cheese culture. Add one drop of rennet to two and a half ounces of water to dilute it. Stir one drop of the dilute solution into the milk, cover and remove from heat and store at room temperature for 24 hours. Drain in colander and spoon the curds into the chevre molds. Mix in herbs if any. Put the molds on a rack with something under it to catch the whey as it drains out. Cover the molds and let them sit at room temperature for 48 hours. Dump the cheese out of the molds, sprinkle with salt and wrap with Saran Wrap.

Feta

Use the same amounts of ingredients for feta that you do for chevre.

Heat your milk to 86 degrees. Put in your cheese culture and keep it at the same temperature for an hour. Stir in diluted rennet and keep the mixture at 86 degrees for an hour. When you see curds visibly separate from the sides of the pot, gently cut the mixture into small cubes and continue carefully stirring for about 15 minutes. Now spoon out the cheese and put it in the colander which you have lined with cheese cloth. Hang this up in your kitchen over the sink or with a bowl underneath it. Leave it that way for about twelve hours. Meanwhile, make a basic brine by adding a cup of salt to a half gallon of water. When you take the cheese out of the cloth, put it in a container large enough that the cheese can be immersed in the brine solution. Add your herbs and spices and store in the refrigerator. You can eat your feta right away, but it will be better after it’s been stored for a couple of weeks.

This way, you know you are getting real goat feta and not the imitation feta cheese made from cow’s milk which is often sold under misleading labels.

As you declare independence from supermarket chains and prepackaged meals, you can enjoy the satisfaction of serving meals with cheese you made with your own hands.