יום שני, 13 אפריל, 2015, 10:10

A simple goat cheese – tutorial

Thirty years ago, maybe more, my family started raising goats. Along with the goats came the cheese. I was familiar with that cheese from my dad's uncle's house and I think they all learned how to make it from my great grandmother, Ahava ("love" in ׁHebrew. And her parents weren't hippies! ). This Cheese (named in my family, simply, "goat cheese") has been interwoven with my blood line for over a century. I'm suspecting that along with "Labaneh " (yogurt cheese) and other hardy milk products, this cheese was popular all over the middle east.

This cheese is not only simple and fast to make (by dinner time you can have a fresh cheese made with morning milk) but also gives you a good milk/cheese ratio (you get approximately 2 lb of cheese from one gallon of milk).
When goat milk is not available you can use cow milk with the same directions, however, this is a very plain cheese and it would be bland without the goaty aroma. If you use cow milk – you can try making a flavoured cheese as described at the very end of this tutorial or make feta cheese and wait for spring.

You will need:

1 gallon goat milk
6 drops rennet
Salt of choice

Tools:

A pot with thick enough bottom, large enough to contain your milk
A long handle mixing tool
A cup
A big enough colander such as pasta strainer
A thermometer

Start with heating the milk to 60-65° C.

Heat milk

Heat milk

to 60-65 C

to 60-65 C

This first stage of the process is not fully clear to me as it is not enough for pasteurizing the milk. I assume it affects the chemical structure of the milk and thence the texture and flavour of the end result. If you are interested in trying raw cheese, you can skip this step, but let me know how it turned out.

After heating the milk – cool it down to 40°C. The quickest way is a cold bath.

coolin cold bath

coolin cold bath

to 40C

to 40C

Add rennet: mix it with some water and then stir it into the milk. For this cheese – 6 drops of rennet per one gallon of milk.

mix rennet with water

mix rennet with water

put water-rennet mixture in milk

put water-rennet mixture in milk

mix

mix

I buy my rennet from my beloved milk farmer . I asked her where people can buy rennet around here and she said that she heard they sell rennet tablets at Ferraro's in Trail. Liquid rennet can be bought in smaller amounts from Glengarry Cheese located in Ontario, which have awesome, helpful people working for them. A combined order would be best so all could save on shipping.

For this type of cheese, only small amounts of rennet are required (compared to Feta making, in which ½ tsp per gallon is used, about 6 fold). Buying a small amount, say – from your milk farmer, is the best, in my opinion.

After you've stirred in the rennet – cover your pot and let it sit in room temperature for about two hours.

leave on the counter for two hours

leave on the counter for two hours

After two hours, the milk has congealed.

congealed

congealed

Mix it.

Mix it, to break the curds

Mix it, to break the curds

Time between steps can vary according to weather and your availability but should be between 1 and 8 hours. Keep in mind that if you wait longer in the summer time, it could go bad.

after a while, whey separates

after a while, whey separates

drain the whey

drain the whey

Drain the whey by tilting the pot and then mix it again and let sit for a while.
The goal is to drain as much whey as possible before putting it in the colander to form so you can repeat the mixing-waiting-dumping routine a few more time in shorter intervals if you wish and can.

mix again to break the curds

mix again to break the curds

more whey will separate

more whey will separate

After dumping the whey for the second time, transfer the curds to a colander. A pasta plastic colander is at the right size for 1 gallon of milk.

transfer to colander

transfer to colander

in colander

in colander

The amount of salt that is used should by adjusted, according to personal preferences.
I recommend to start with 2 tablespoons on each side (total of 4 tablespoons). Some of the salt washes away in the process, so 4 Tbs are not that much for a 2lb. cheese.
Keep in mind that salt is a preservative so it shouldn't be avoided.

sprinkle with salt

sprinkle with salt

The type of salt that is used will affect the flavour. I do not recommend using too coarse a salt as you can break a tooth over it. Kosher salt is fine, but if you use coarse Himalayan – you better grind it first like I did. When I used grey salt I could see it clearly in the end result.
Here I used pink salt so it is easily visible.

cover. or not.

cover. or not.

Covering the cheese-to-be is good for preventing summer bugs from drowning in it.

when firm to touch

when firm to touch

After a few hours of draining it is time to flip it. To check if the cheese id ready for flipping – press the centre of it gently and make sure it is not too soft.

holds together

holds together

flip it over

flip it over

The flipping can be done with an open palm or with an assistance of a plate.

hold with open palm

hold with open palm

lay in colander, upside down

lay in colander, upside down

it is a bit off

it is a bit off

tuck edges under

tuck edges under

After flipping and tucking the edges under, sprinkle salt on this side of the cheese.

sprinkle with more salt

sprinkle with more salt

Allow a few hours to drain on this side.

take out of the colander. bottom doesn't look so good...

take out of the colander. bottom doesn't look so good…

Take out of the colander, rinse quickly and store in the fridge (nice looking side up), uncovered.

rinse quickly, put in an open dish, nice side up

rinse quickly, put in an open dish, nice side up

The cheese would drain some more whey in the first few days into its container. Better dump the liquids, rather than let the cheese sit in them.

Variations: you can add flavours such as garlic and dill, chives etc. Chop or mince to the desired size and mix into the curds after the last whey-dumping, before transferring to the colander.

Goat cheese – summary

  • Heat milk to 60-65° C cool to 40°C
  • Mix rennet (6 drop per 1 gallon of milk) with some water and then mix with the milk
  • Allow congealing for 1-2 hours
  • Mix to break the curds and let sit for 1-2 hours
  • Drain out the whey and mix again (you can repeat that step a few more time if you wish)
  • Drain the whey (mix in herbs or spices when making flavoured cheese) and transfer the curds to a colander
  • sprinkle with 2 tbsp of salt
  • After a few hours flip it upside down, tuck the edges under and sprinkle with more salt
  • after a few hours – rinse quickly and store in the fridge in an open container

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