Making cheese is both simple and tricky. Let me show you this easy chèvre recipe, step by step.
And chèvre, the cheese we think of simply as “goat cheese”, is delicious, with a taste that is both true and complex, sweet yet tangy. If you haven’t yet tried it freshly made, you are in for a treat!
I love cheese, and ever since we have been receiving more goat’s milk than we can drink, I have been experimenting with making fresh cheese at home. I have had some high points, some disappointments, an extremely low point, and have finally managed to get some consistency. I’m excited to finally share what I’ve learned here!
This recipe is extremely simple. Just a few ingredients. Follow the technique carefully and you will get excellent results. Although I love to improvise in the kitchen, a word of caution: Even if you drink your milk raw, please consider pasteurizing for the purpose of makingcheese. If you think about it, growing cheese is growing bacteria and you want to make sure that you are only growing the bacterium that you want. It is also VITAL in cheesemaking to sterilize EVERYTHING that touches the cheese. By sterilize I mean using bleach, not just soap and hot water. Spoons, pots, colander, jars, dishes, etc… My husband and I learned the hard way. Please check out my first home dairy post on How to Pasteurize Fresh Milk at Home for more of that story and to learn how to make raw milk safe for cheesemaking.
- a large stainless steel pot (or two)
- a reliable digital thermometer
- a stainless steel spoon
- a stainless steel colander
- fine muslim (or butter) cheesecloth
- cooking twine
- cheese cellophane
- (if pasteurizing raw milk) a mesh strainer
- 1 gallon of goat milk (raw or pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized)
- 1 package of chèvre starter
- cheese salt (or non-iodized salt)
- (optional) fresh herbs, pepper, truffle salt, etc. for rolling around the outside of the finished logs
Where? Click on any of the links to purchase these supplies through Amazon. Full Disclosure: I make a small commission on any completed purchase made from a link off this site or from our Store. If you are in San Diego, you can also buy all these and more at Curds and Wine. The owner is also very generous with her knowledge and has even helped me troubleshoot a ricotta a that wasn’t setting over the phone.
Why special ingredients? My first attempt at cheese was a chèvre recipe I googled that just used lemon juice. Let me tell you, it did NOT work. My second attempt was a ricotta using vinegar. It worked somewhat but it was rubbery and unpleasant to eat straight. Give the real stuff a shot!
(Goat Cheese) Chèvre Recipe Step by Step with Pictures
1. Sterilize all of your equipment with hot water and a little bleach.
2. Bring the milk up to 86° F into a large stainless steel (non-alluminum) pot. (If using raw milk: filter milk and bring it up to 145° F for 30 minutes in order to pasteurize it. Let the milk cool down to 86° F.)
3. Sprinkle a package of chèvre starter over the milk. Let it sit for 2 minutes to rehydrate and then stir it to mix it in. Then let the milk sit at room temperature, or 72° F, for 10-12 hours. (I prefer to do this overnight.) The cheese will be “ready” when a small amount (1/4 inch) of whey has pooled at the top and a knife or spoon inserted into it can make a “clean break” or crevice in the thickened cheese. It will look a little like greek yogurt.
4. Gently ladle all of the curds (the thickened part) and whey (the liquid part) into a colander lined with a double layer of cheese cloth. Tie up the cheese cloth with twine and hang so that the whey drips into a large pot or bowl. Let hang for 6-8 hours.
5. Cut down the twine and unwrap the fresh cheese. Transfer to a bowl. (Cheese can be covered and stored in the fridge at this point.)
6. Hand form the cheese into logs. Roll each log in cheese salt (or salt that has not been iodized.) You may also put fresh herbs, coarsely ground pepper, truffle salt, dried berries, or another topping on the plate with the salt.
7. Wrap the finished logs in cheese cellophane and secure with scotch tape. (Regular cellophane is not breathable and will cause the cheese to get slimy.)
Click on any of these images to see them bigger.
Chèvre produces a relatively large yield of cheese, as opposed to some hard cheeses. You can easily halve this recipe (using 2 quarts of milk). I got 1.75 pounds of cheese from 1 gallon of milk this last time and have gotten about 1 pound of chèvre from 1/2 gallon of milk.
Please let me know if you have any questions. I promise to post the chocolate and goat cheese truffle recipe next!
Update! The chocolate and goat cheese post is now up. Click here for the chocolate…