Goat Cheese, Crossroads, and Big Decisions

I did not post last weekend, and in fact, it’s been so long since I’ve posted that my computer had logged me out of WordPress!

Life has been hectic and stressful, and while I have been baking up a storm (it’s just what I do when I’m stressed), I have not taken notes on recipes, photographed, etc.

I take life in stride, and usually just let the chocolate chips fall where they may, but every now and then life plops me between ten different paths and time stands still for no baker.

It might feel like it’s standing still when you eat this cheese though.  There are no words to describe homemade goat cheese.  It’s pretty quick, modifiable, and oh. my. god. creamy.  Not to mention shockingly inexpensive, and aside from goat’s milk, you probably already have the ingredients in your pantry or fridge.

I spread mine on some homemade rosemary olive knots that I was going to photograph and post with this, but, well… you know.  Life.  It’s also delicious spread on some red bell pepper slices, like an adult version of ants on a log (you know, peanut butter + raisins on celery), or spread on some decent bread + toasted + topped with roasted red peppers & caramelized onions.  You will never buy goat cheese again, once you seek out a goat milk source.  It’s expensive and bland compared to this stuff.

Goat Cheese

Adapted from Kiss My Spatula

Ingredients

1 quart pasteurized goat’s milk ( the original recipe says to avoid ultra-pasteurized, but the first time I made this that’s what I had grabbed.  It was certainly milder upon first taste, more like a tangy cream cheese, but after a few days in the fridge it develops a stronger ‘goat cheese’ flavor.)

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 clove freshly grated garlic

A few pinches coarse salt

Herbs (up to you) but recommended: Rosemary, chives, parsley, herbs de Provence, fennel fronds, dill, and other non-herbs like dried apricots.  I used a combination of fresh rosemary, thyme and coarsely ground black pepper.  The whole mixture (of garlic, salt, pepper, and herbs) probably amounted to a tablespoon.

Method

  • Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth—really, several. Otherwise you’ll lose precious goat cheese through the soggy cloth. Place over a large bowl to catch the whey drips.curd draining rig - I'm sure most of you have one of these pots with the colander that fits inside
  • Fill a medium saucepan with goat’s milk. Heat gradually until it reaches 180°F. Watch closely. You can run in and out of the kitchen, but don’t get too distracted. It shouldn’t take more than about 15 minutes.
  • Once it hits the magical temperature, remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let stand until milk starts to curdle**, about 20 seconds.

    the curds are really tiny - don't expect any cottage cheese effect

  • Ladle milk into colander. Pull up and tie the four corners of the cheesecloth together and hang on the handle of a wooden spoon. (This was my favorite part, second to eating it of course.) Set over a very deep bowl.
  • Allow whey to drain (drip, drip, drip) until a soft, ricotta-like consistency is reached inside the cloth, about 1 to 1.5 hours.

    drip drip drip

  • Transfer to a bowl and fold in salt, garlic, and flavors of your choice. Serve on fresh bread, salads, with fruit, or just straight-up. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge, but after a few days, the consistency isn’t as lusciously smooth and spreadable.

    herbs, garlic, salt, pepper

    probably about 6 oz of cheese, which is slightly larger than the tubes of goat cheese at the grocery store

    And then there was none.  When life hands you lemons, slow down and make your own cheese.  Then eat all of it.  It will be well worth it.

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