After reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, (www.animalvegetablemiracle.com) I was captivated by the idea of home-made cheese. It had never occurred to me that the average Joe/Josephine could make cheese in their own kitchen with no experience necessary.
Kingsolver uses a recipe for 30-Minute Mozzarella from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, (www.cheesemaking.com). I ordered my Mozzarella & Ricotta kit from the company, and eagerly entered the world of cheese making. (You can find this recipe at either site.)
I'll leave you to your own devices for the mozzarella and move on to my favorite goat cheese: Chevre. I ordered the Fresh French Goat Cheese Kit from (www.cheesemaking.com). This site has many recipes so if you choose to order supplies but not kits you'll still be able to find what you need. I figured since I was a cheese novice, I would order a couple kits. They run between $15 - $25 and come with enough supplies for up to 30 batches.
Making Chevre is one of those things that is counter-intuitive; it seems so wrong to leave milk out overnight! I realize that cheese is an aged product and one that actually does need to sour, but I have to admit it gave me the creeps the first time I did it. Warning: I have noticed that the directions on the Chevre Direct-Set product do not exactly match the recipe in the book. I had one batch that never formed a curd and I had to throw it out. I have had the most success following the directions on the Direct Set, and then adding the seasonings as directed by the recipe in the booklet/website.
|Heat milk to temperature as per directions. Add the Direct-Set.|
Cover with lid.
|When you wake up in the morning, you will find a pot filled with curds and whey!|
It really is about the coolest science experiment ever!!
|Using a long knife, CUT THE CHEESE! Ha ha - I had to say it!|
This particular batch got a pretty firm set. The next batch I made looked more like
Ricotta, but I was able to drain enough liquid to make it useable.
|Butter muslin comes with the Goat Cheese Kit - it's finer than cheese cloth|
and for good reason! Drain as much whey as you can from the curds.
|This is the yield from one gallon of raw goat's milk. Once I have shaped|
and wrapped my cheeses, I freeze them individually like this until they are set.
Then I transfer them into a big zip lock and thaw them as needed.
Now, I admit I am a total novice at this and there are far more experienced cheese makers out there to help us all. I'm still learning from these kits and using the cheesemaking.com website a lot.
Another blogger at http://homesteadwannabes.blogspot.com/ clearly has way more experience than I. Follow her lead to Raw Dairy Recipes, and you'll be in hog heaven (or goat heaven!)
:-) Cheesy Grin!