Monday, March 15, 2010

If At First You Don't Succeed....

Now that we're getting a little over a half gallon of goat milk per day, I figured it was time to experiment with a little cheese making to use up some of that milk. I figured I'd start with farmers cheese, which is one of the easiest cheeses to make.

I got out the necessary supplies. Goat milk, salt, cheesecloth, a bowl with a colander, and the acid. The recipe called for lemon juice, but I didn't have any. I'd read you can use vinegar in place of lemon juice, so that's what I did. I selected the red wine vinegar because I thought it'd taste better than white vinegar or apple cider vinegar.

The milk goes in a pot on the stove. Stir until it reaches 180*. Well, I got a tad impatient (who, me?!) and turned the heat up a little too high. The milk started to scorch on the bottom of the pan. Oops! I kept going and figured I'd see what happened.

As the milk was heating, I got the colander placed in a bowl and lined it with cheese cloth. (there's no cheesecloth in this picture)

Once the milk hit 180*, I removed it from the heat and added the vinegar.

You can see it starting to curdle right away.

I let it sit for about 30 seconds, then ladled it into the cheesecloth. It had an, um, interesting color from the vinegar.

I gathered up the sides of the cheesecloth so I could hang it to drain. If I had knobs on my cabinet doors, I would have slid a wooden spoon in the knot and hung it that way. We haven't bought knobs for the cabinets yet, so I just tied the cheesecloth around the middle divider. You can let it drain as long as you like. About an hour or two and you'll have a nice soft cheese. The longer it drains, the firmer the cheese.

After it drained, I added salt. You can also add fresh herbs, but my slacker self didn't have any fresh herbs on hand. I tasted the cheese though. YUCK. Apparently scalded milk and red wine vinegar don't make very nice cheese. Darn!! I gave up on the cheese for that day.

Today I came home determined to try again! Armed with lemons for juicing and fresh herbs, I was going to make cheese darn it! I did the same steps above, but used a sauce pot to heat the milk instead of the gargantuan stock pot. This worked much better and heated the milk nice and slowly. After the milk (1 qt) reached 180*, I pulled it off the heat and added the juice of 2 lemons. Right away it curdled. I then poured it into the cheese cloth and hung it from the cabinets.

Then I chopped up some fresh dill and parsley. Once the cheese was drained, I added the herbs and a good bit of salt (to taste).

MUCH BETTER this time!! It's good! It has a definite lemon flavor, but the dill and parsley add a nice fresh herby flavor.

We toasted some small french bread pieces and added cheese on top and had it with dinner tonight.

Delicious! I can't wait to experiment with some other flavor combinations! Oh, and in case you don't have a milk goat out back, this can be made with store bought (not ultra pasturized) milk!

Farmers Cheese
1 quart milk (not ultra pasturized)
juice of 2 lemons
fresh herbs

Heat 1 qt of milk slowly to 180*, stirring often. Remove from heat and add lemon juice, let sit for 15 seconds. Slowly pour into cheesecloth lined colander (over a bowl!). Let hang for at least 1 hour or until desired firmness is reached. Add salt and herbs to taste. Enjoy! Keep refrigerated for up to 1 week.


Deb said...

Way to go Katie! I am like you - impatient about taking the time to let things come to a boil.... The result is definitely worth the effort it looks like. Good for you! Love, Momma

Marisa said...

I'm so inspired! Thank you so much for posting these step by step instructions!

Becky said...

Yay! You did it! Good job for not giving up. I can't wait to try some :) That looks so delicious on the bread!

katiegirl said...

Thanks everyone! Now I need to get some rennet so I can experiment with some other cheeses!

Jen's Farmily said...

Whew. I probably would've given up for a couple weeks after my first try!! I'm so glad your second batch was good. Yumm. I love cheese!!

Jennifer said...

Very Cool! I've been working on my husband about gettin acouple goats (for almost a year now, lol) I want to do this! Hummm... maybe I should tell him thats what I want for Mothers Day =)

Linda said...

You cheese looks so tasty. And so simple to make.

I had a flash of memory: Aunt Mary (mama's oldest sister) would hang a cheese cloth bag of Laben (yogart) on the kitchen faucet each night to drain.

artsyfish said...

Yum! You tempt me to try all sorts of things!


LeAnn said...

Nicely done. I'm glad that you showed what didn't work. All the best things happen with experimentation and experience.

Jennifer said...

Mornin Katie... I've been goin through your blog cause I remembered you had post about goat cheese :) This is the same recipe I've been makin but so far mine hasnt turned out creamy like yours, I'm gettin ready to try it again. I've got alot of goat milk in the fridge I need to use. We are planing on buying a ice cream maker to make goat ice cream...

katiegirl said...

Hey Jennifer! Congrats on your goaties and cheese making! Sometimes mine will vary and be creamier sometimes, and drier other times. It also depends on how long you let it drain. I read a tip in one of my cheese the ricotta recipe it says you can add back some heavy cream or half and half (just play with amounts and find what suits your tastes) and that makes the cheese creamier. You can try that too!

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