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Soft Cheese Making Ideas

Making soft cheese with goat's milk is very easy with direct set culture packets! Anyone can be successful. These are measured out for one gallon of milk, simplifying the job.

These packets are available from New England Cheese supply (www.cheesemaking.com) or they can be purchased at some Food Co-ops like the Olympia Food Co-op, in Olympia Washington, where my Grade A Raw milk is sold.

Equipment you will need: A double boiler that will hold a gallon+ liquid, a good thermometer, cheesecloth, a ladle, colander, clear plastic wrap or foil, wire whisk or large spoon, one or two large Stainless Steel mixing bowls, and one culture packet for Chevre, Fomagena, or similar soft cheese.

I use a milk pail with a missing bail and a stock pot with several butter knives in the bottom for my 'double boiler'. It works great for this job if you need to innovate.

Cheese Making Supplies
Cheese Making Supplies
My Double Broiler
My 'Double Broiler'

Start by heating your gallon of Goat Milk in a double boiler to 145 degrees—stir to insure it is uniformly heated then cool rapidly in ice water to 86 degrees. Add your culture packet, cover and let stand undisturbed at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours. You should have yogurt consistency with whey around the edges & top.

Milk Culturing
Milk Culturing

Gently ladle the curd into your cheesecloth lined colander. Gather the corners of your cheesecloth together and secure with string or wire. Figure out a place to hang your curds to drain that is out of the way where you can leave it for 6-7 hours. I have some handy knobs on my upper cabinets in the kitchen—the trick is to not need to open that one or use the counter space under it for a while. :-)

Ladeling Curds
Ladeling Curds
Curds Ready to Hang
Curds Ready to Hang
Curds Draining
Curds Draining

When your curds are no longer dripping, remove them from the cheesecloth into a large Stainless mixing bowl or two. Yield will be around 30 ounces of soft cheese. Now it is time to get creative!

Divided Curds
Divided Curds
Flavoring Options
Flavoring Options

Plain Chevre is great on toasted onion bagels, regular toast with jelly, many varieties of crackers, and in my not so humble opinion, to die for on the Snappy Saltines, see recipe below on this page. Two flavored options I enjoy are a 3 Pepper Chevre and Garlic/Dill Chevre.

Using half your curds add a fresh minced Jalapeño pepper, 1 tsp of freshly ground black pepper, and 2 tsp of dried crushed red pepper. Mix well into your curds. You will have a colorful hot cheese. If you like hot you will make this one often.

3 Pepper Chevre
3 Pepper Chevre

For the Garlic/Dill variation mix in 2 tsp of dried minced Garlic and 1 tsp of dill weed. NOTE: Fresh garlic will be overpowering and fresh dill will be to wet.

Store your cheese in tightly covered containers in the refrigerator. It will keep for a week.

You can make desert cheese from your plain Chevre. Here are several I enjoy that also get rave reviews when I share them. Try these on the people who say they don’t like goat cheese.

These Sweet cheeses work well on Vanilla Wafers or Honey Graham Crackers. They are fine on a salty wafer type too.

Cranberry Fantasy

Use 1/2 your plain Chevre
Take two butter knives and cut the drained cheese into small pieces in mixing bowl.
Add 1/2 tsp of Pure Almond Extract—cut into curds.
Add 1/2 cup whole berry Cranberry Sauce---mix into flavored curds.

You should have slightly pink streaks with cranberries & pieces mixed throughout –have some white curd showing. NOTE: This makes a great cheese ball formed into a round and rolled in sliced almonds— serve with vanilla wafers or Honey Graham Crackers. (using 1/2 your plain Chevre gives enough for two small orange sized cheese balls with any of these desert type cheeses)

Ingredients for Cranberry Fantasy
Ingredients for Cranberry Fantasy

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Christmas Cherry

Use 1/2 your plain Chevre
Take two butter knives and cut the drained cheese into small pieces in mixing bowl. Cut in 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
Drain and rinse off all syrup, 10 to 12 each Red & Green Maraschino Cherries. Cut into pieces (1/8ths work well) mix each color separately into your Plain Chevre.
NOTE: This can make a Holiday cheese ball formed into a round and rolled in coconut---serve with vanilla wafers or Honey Graham Crackers.

rolled in toasted coconut and ready to enjoy
rolled in toasted coconut and ready to enjoy!

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Red White & Blueberry
Use 1/2 your plain Chevre
Take two butter knives and cut the drained cheese into small pieces in mixing bowl. Cut in 1/2 teaspoon of pure vanilla extract.
Drain well 10-12 Red Maraschino Cherries, Cut into eights. Mix cherries into Chevre first.
Measure out rounded 1/4th cup sweet ripe blueberries. Mix into curds. Note—the smaller the berries the better—larger berries need to be cut in half or quarters.
NOTE: This variety will also make a nice cheese ball, rolled in sliced almonds or coconut to add the final touch---serve with vanilla wafers or Honey Graham Crackers.

Red White Blueberry and Cranberry
Red White & Blueberry (L) and Cranberry (R)
Party Balls
Party Balls

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Snappy Saltines
Once you try these you will never want a plain Saltine again—except maybe in soup!
Snappy Saltine Makings
Snappy Saltine Makings

1 Packet dry Original Ranch dressing
1 to 3 Tablespoons crushed red pepper
1 rounded teaspoon each of:
Garlic powder
Onion Powder
Parsley Flakes
1 & 1/3 cups Pure Canola oil
1/2 pound Saltine Crackers

Measure Canola oil. Mix in spices and dressing packet. Stir with fork and let set while you stack two rows of saltines into a gallon zip lock bag. Stir the spice mixture several times while you are getting the crackers ready. You want to make sure all spices are dissolved not floating on top.

Mixed Spices Ready to Pour
Mixed Spices Ready to Pour

Pour mixture over crackers. Push excess air out of bag and seal. Place bag on side and let crackers marinate for 6-8 hours. (Longer will not harm them) Turn the bag often during the marinating. HINT: Place it in a spot you will go past a number of times so you can turn the bag over.

Marinating
Marinating

I have not had a bag leak but to be on the safe side I place the bag in a pan.

When finished marinating, line a loaf pan with a paper towel, remove crackers from bag and set on edge in pan for 10 minutes or so. Remove to a serving dish and enjoy!
Snappy Finished
Snappy Finished

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Goat Cheese Omelets
If you want a change from cheese and crackers try breakfast.

Two egg goat cheese omelet I make using plain cherve (for one person)
Scramble two eggs set aside until ready to cook.
Crumble a 1/2 cup plain cherve into a small bowl, set aside.
Dice a heaping tablespoon each of onion and green bell pepper(red bell is great too)

Omlet - onion & bell pepper

Sauté the onion and pepper in olive oil until just tender.
Pour your scrambled eggs into small egg pan on medium heat.

Omlet - saute and cooking

When they are about half cooked add the cherve and sauté veggies to one side.

cooking omlet

When eggs are almost done fold over and allow the edge to seal.
Slide onto a plate with toast and enjoy.

Enjoy your Goat Cheese Omlet

If you want to wake up your taste buds, add some salsa to each bite...Yummy!

You can make the omelet plain without the onion & pepper.

If you REALLY want a wake up call make the omelet with your 3 pepper cherve!

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Last revised: May 29, 2013