In today’s society, the vast majority of people turn to factory prepared and processed foods to supply their everyday nutrition. These foods, full of artificial ingredients and chemically derived food products, are commonly purchased because they make mealtimes quick and easy. Most people believe that they do not have the time or the abilities to make their own foods, and it is virtually unheard of for people to make most food items from scratch. For instance, goat cheese is nearly always purchased from the store rather than made at home. However, completely homemade cooking is easier than you would initially believe. By devoting just a little bit of extra time to preparing your own food, you can heighten your health and enjoy the truly unequaled taste of fresh and wholesome products.
The process of making goat cheese from scratch is actually quite simple and effortless. Rennet (a compound of the enzymes that are commonly used for creating cheeses) is not even required. By minding the following guidelines, you can make your very own goat cheese using just a few basic ingredients.
STEP ONE: OBTAIN YOUR SUPPLIES
To make goat cheese, you will need about 1/2 gallon of goat’s milk, 1/4 cup lemon juice or vinegar, a few cloves of garlic, salt, and any fresh herbs that you wish to flavor the cheese with (for instance, chives, dill, or rosemary make excellent additions). You will also need a medium or large-sized saucepan, a food thermometer, a colander, a bowl, and some cheese cloths.
STEP TWO: HEAT THE GOAT’S MILK
Pour the goat’s milk into your saucepan, and place the saucepan over medium-high heat. The milk needs to be heated to about 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Pay close attention to the milk at this time; it is vital that the milk does not boil, burn, or overheat. It should take about ten to fifteen minutes for the goat’s milk to reach its desired temperature.
STEP THREE: CURDLE THE MILK
As soon as the goat’s milk reaches the correct temperature, remove it from the heat. Immediately add the 1/4 cup of lemon juice or vinegar and stir. Curdles should begin to form in the milk within a minute of stirring. Keep mixing the milk until the curds and the whey have completely separated, or until the curds begin to take on a large and bulbous appearance, similar to cottage cheese. If your milk fails to curdle, try adding a few extra drops of lemon juice or vinegar.
STEP FOUR: STRAIN THE CHEESE
The next step involves completely removing the whey from the curds to yield a completely smooth and creamy product. First, line the colander with numerous sheets of cheese cloth. Place the colander over a deep bowl to catch any water drops. Next, ladle the cheese into the cheesecloth, and tie the cheesecloth closed. Squeeze the cheese cloth to remove as much moisture and whey as possible (alternately, hang the cheese cloth over the bowl using a wooden dowel or spoon and allow the cheese to drip dry). The whey will separate into the colander, and the excess moisture will fall into the bowl.
STEP FIVE: ADD SOME FLAVOR
As delicious as fresh goat cheese can be, it simply is not the same without some added seasonings. After the cheese has been separated and dried, fold in salt, minced garlic, and any other desired herbs to taste. Your goat cheese is now complete!
STEP SIX: TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE?
Unlike most cheeses, freshly made goat cheese typically should not be aged for very long. Some people prefer to eat goat cheese immediately after its preparation, as the cheese will have its smoothest and creamiest texture at this time. Other people prefer to press the cheese into blocks and enjoy its firmer texture after one to two days of aging. Both methods yield a scrumptious product; however, freshly-made goat cheese should not be aged beyond a few days. Goat cheese is best preserved in an airtight, refrigerated environment.