Wednesday 23 October 2013

How to make "Chevre" - soft goat's milk cheese

Homemade and bought moulds
 This is a longer post than usual because its a, "how to do it" piece for my cousin Helen who has been trying to make cheese since the summer.

Make it with supermarket milk if you don't have a goat.

Improvise, don't buy specialist equipment at this stage your kitchen probably contains all you need.

Moulds are expensive so use plastic drinks cups, yoghurt pots of various sizes or even old  baked bean tins. Make holes all the way to the top because you are going to completely fill the mould and the cheese shrinks to about 20% of the original volume of curd. If you abhor wast feed the whey to your pigs or make ricotta with it.

                         5L Goat's milk pasteurised
                          Calcium chloride
                          Mesophillic cheese culture

                         The cheese culture, rennet and the calcium chloride you can get in small quantities on Ebay.

                        Large jam pan
                        Smaller pot or can to go inside the big one
                        Dairy thermometer or a jam thermometer
                        Slotted spoon
                        Roasting tin and wire cooling rack
                        Cheese moulds


1.  Pour the milk into a stainless steel pail or pan, place the smaller milk container in the water filled jam pan and heat to 31C. Add 1/4 teaspoon of calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup of water. The calcium chloride replaces the calcium lost in pasteurisation and helps with curdling.
2.  Warm the milk to 31 c and remove from the heat.
3.  Sprinkle the culture grains 1/8  teaspoon over the top of the milk, stir gently to mix well. Stand at room temperature 21C for 35 - 40mins.
4. Add 1/8 teaspoon rennet dissolved in 1/4 cup of non chlorinated water. Mix for 1 minute with your clean hand and arm from the bottom of the pan.
5.  After 25 mins test for coagulation of the milk. Stick your middle finger into the curd and then bring it up horizontally, if the curd is ready there will be a clean break in the surface. If it looks like yoghurt and doesn't break leave it for another 5 - 10 mins.
6.  Cut the curd with a long bladed knife. Hold the knife vertically and cut from one side of the pan to the other about 12cms apart, repeat at right angles then at an angle to the surface to produce walnut size pieces.
7.  Let the curds rest for 10 mins, then fill the moulds to the top, scooping the curds out gently with the slotted spoon. Stand the moulds on a cake cooling rack over a bowl or roasting tin because the whey will start to flow from the moulds and the cheese will start to shrink.
8.  Leave the moulds to drain for 4hrs then flip the cheese. Invert the mould over your hand, the cheese will fall into your palm then put the cheese back upside down, Leave the cheese to sit in the mould over the rack for 12 hours at room temperature.
9.  Unmould the cheese by turning upside down on your palm, place cheese on draining rack for two hours.
10.  Place a good pinch of salt on a sheet on waxed paper or a flat pale. Sprinkle or rub salt over the cheese surfaces and then return to the drying rack for 4 - 6 hours.
11. Refrigerate and use within 15 days.

The almost finished product drying before refrigeration

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