|Fresh homemade chevre layered with pesto.|
|Fresh chevre made from unpasteurized goat's milk.|
For me, it's the experimenting that makes cheese making so fun. And (surprisingly) none of my chevre endeavors have resulted in failure, which is why I think it's a great cheese for beginners.
The first time I made chevre I strained it for exactly the recommended time; the result was rich and flavorful with a texture similar to creme fraiche. Since then I've doubled the time that I strain, which results in a more traditional chevre texture.
There are many recipes on the Internet that suggest chevre can be made by using lemon juice (or even vinegar.) I look forward to trying that method some day, perhaps for a taste test comparison, but for now will continue to use the culture method. Interestingly, in Alaska a 5-pack of chevre culture from the local brewery supply store costs less than 5 fresh lemons.
The recipe I follow is simple, and is provided by the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company when you buy their chevre C20G culture. I use fine mesh butter muslin instead of cheese cloth to strain the cheese, which can be washed and reused multiple times. Make sure everything is spotlessly clean before you begin.
- 1 gallon goat's milk
- 1 packet C20G chevre culture
- Large nonreactive pot
- Butter Muslin
- Fine mesh colander
- Bowl large enough to hold the colander and catch the weeping whey
- Basic kitchen thermometer
In a large nonreactive pot, bring the temperature of the goat's milk to 86 degrees (F). Add the culture, allow to hydrate 2 minutes, and stir.
Cover and set the pot in a warm place (preferably 72 degrees) to rest for 12 hours. My house is never 72 degrees so I usually let it rest longer, sometimes in the oven with just the light on for a bit of warmth. When it's done resting you should be able to insert a spoon and gently separate some of the curds from the whey:
|The curds are white and the whey is translucent (on right).|
Line a mesh colander with butter muslin (4 layers or so) and set the colander in a bowl large enough to catch the whey as it weeps out. Gently ladle the curds and whey mixture into the butter muslin and let it drain for 8-24+ hours.
If you want a smooth, spreadable chevre cheese with a texture similar to light cream cheese or creme fraiche then strain it using the colander method for the entire time.
|Separating the curds and whey using a colander.|
If presentation is a consideration you might want to use a cheese mold. To use, ladle curds and whey into the mold using a slotted spoon. Set molds on a cookie rack over a jellyroll pan to catch the whey. Allow to drain until texture reaches desired consistency, then remove from the mold.
|Separating the curds and whey by suspension.|
There is a LOT of whey left when you are done making chevre. Don't just pour it down the drain; whey is protein rich and can be used in many recipes, including bread, smoothies, marinade and in lacto-fermentation. It can also be used as a dietary supplement for animals; I add some to my dog's dinner once a day if I have extra, and it can be fed to chickens. A quick google search suggests many ways to put whey to good use.
This post is linked up to Tilly's Nest Down Home Blog Hop.