Monday, July 16, 2012

How To: Make Simple Homemade Goat Cheese

When people think of making cheeses, there is often the mis-leading thought that it will take a lot of time and weird ingredients that are hard to get. Nothing could be further from the truth! True, if you want to make aged or specialty cheeses you may have to buy some rennet and cultures, but for a basic yummy cheese you only need basic ingredients practically everyone has in their kitchen!

Ingredients Needed:
2 1/2 quarts of milk
6 T of white vinegar (or 1/3 cup)
1/2 tsp of salt

1) Pour the milk in a pot and turn heat on high. If you need to leave it for any reason, turn it down until you come back.

2) Place a thermometer into the milk so you can supervise the temperature rate.

3) Prepare your things for the cheese-straining step. I use a colander placed in a large bowl with a cloth napkin or pillow-case material to strain.

4) Get your vinegar ready, because once your milk is at the correct temperature, you need to act fast.

5) Once the milk has reached 180 degrees, pour the vinegar in, turn off the heat, and allow to set for one minute.

6) You should be able to easily see the curds separating from the whey. If not, try adding some more vinegar. (Only add 1 tablespoon at a time! Too much vinegar will make the cheese rubbery.)

7) Slowly pour the curds and whey into your straining equipment.

8) Pull the opposite corners together carefully and tie, then using your string, tie tightly under the knots of cloth. This will hold it up for the dripping process.

9) Tie the top part of the string on a doorknob or cabinet, and allow to drip for about an hour. You should be able to feel if the whey has drained out. It will feel soft, but not slushy.

10) Take down and place in a bowl. It should be creamy, yet still in tiny curds.

11) Mix until small and crumbly, then add salt. For a savory cheese, add parsley (1 tsp), onion powder (1/2 tsp), and garlic powder (1/2 tsp.).

12) Mix well.

13) Shape into a ball.

14) Garnish with parsley and serve with crackers or veggies as is, or chill and serve later.

Here's a hint though, don't tell anyone it's goat cheese until after they've tried it! I don't know why, but many people have this mental block against goat cheese, so I'll make a cheese ball and bring it to parties or special events, and when people come up to ask me about it, they get the shock of their life! The most popular comment is: "I didn't realize goat cheese could taste like THAT!" :-D