Step One of cheesemaking: Go and milk your goat! Like Vita here
I'm so proud of my pal, "J" - she got her first goats, survived the first kidding, and even saved a goat from a "here hold my beer and watch this" escapade. She's working on cheese now - after she got supplies from Leener's - but is still working on finding the "perfect" fresh goat cheese recipe. I thought I'd help her out with how I make our fresh goat cheese. Come on along and lets all get cheesey together!
This morning I got about a gallon of milk from Debbie and Nibbles. So I brought it in and strained it directly into my stainless steel pot.
The culture - its freeze dried and comes in this cute little container. Just 1/4 teaspoon is all you need.
Then, loosely using the recipe from FiascoFarms, I added 1/4 teaspoon of mesophilic culture. I let the culture sit on top of the milk to rehydrate for about five minutes.
Break up the tablet..you'll need a bit less than 1/4 of the tablet.
The recipe calls for an obscure amount of liquid rennet. But I don't care for the liquid rennet and use tablets. So I had to do some fancy improvising. Actually it wasn't very fancy improvising... with as exact as cheesemaking can be, its OK to fudge a little if you need to.
Mash it up and dissolve in a little water
If you don't use liquid rennet, the substitution for the tablets is:
1/2 tablet = 1/4 teaspoon of liquid rennet
1 tablet = 1/2 teaspoon of liquid rennet
But what if you only need "a drop"? For heavens sakes just fake it. I break up a tablet and use a little less than 1/4 tablet dissolved in a little water. Mash it up really well and then stir until its dissolved in maybe 1/8th of a cup of water.
Stir it up!
Now stir the culture into the milk with a stainless steel spoon - its been about five minutes. Then add the rennet and stir some more. Put a lid on the pot and let it sit somewhere over nite.
Whey on top (the liquidy stuff) and one big curd clump at the bottom.
You should have a "clean break" and some whey sitting on top of the curds in the morning. Now just line a colander with cheese cloth and carefully pour in the curds and whey. I always set the colander on top of a bucket to collect it for the hens or the compost pile. Cover the whole shootin' match with a lid and let it set until the next day. And that's it!
Drain the curds thru cheese cloth. Don't forget to save the whey!
You can salt the cheese and put it in a container in the fridge or use immedately.
Use it for what, you ask? Heck, anything. Add some spices and eat on crackers, spread on a bagel with a little honey on top for a morning treat, stir into a pasta dish, or use like ricotta for lasagna. We also make grilled sandwiches with it, bruschetta, use it on pizza...heck.. its so versatile the options are limitless. Another great use is for hot dips. I've been heating up fresh goat cheese and salsa...which is really delish.
The only thing I don't like it for is a subsitute for cream cheese in sweet baked goods. For savory baked goods like focaccia bread - its perfect, but for cream cheese-based pies.. its just not to may taste.
So what do you think? Are you ready for the cheese challenge? Now get out there and make some cheese!
Happy Farm Friends Friday everyone! Thanks Verde Farms for this fun blog hop!