Soft Goat Cheese
- 4 litres fresh goat milk for best results when cheese making milk must be no more than 48 hours since milking
- 1/4 cup milk kefir or very small pinch of Mesophilic culture - available from Country Trading Co. [a small bag lasts me about 1 year]
- 6 drops of rennet - available from supermarkets and cheesemaking suppliers
- salt to taste
- Pour the milk into a large saucepan. Bring the milk to room temperature - about 18C - either heat gently over a low heat OR sit on the kitchen bench for several hours.
- Add the milk kefir or culture and mix well with a slotted spoon.
- In a small jug combine the rennet with 1 tablespoon cooled boiled water and pour over the back of the slotted spoon to distribute evenly. Mix for 1 minute then cover with a clean tea towel and leave at room temperature for 12 hours.
- After 12 hours check that the milk has set into a soft curd then use a knife to cut into a 2cm squares. Arrange a cheesecloth lined colander over a large saucepan. Use a slotted spoon to scoop the curd into the colander.
- Fold over the cheesecloth and cover with a plate to gently weight the curds and press out the whey. Drain for 8-12 hours until the cheese is soft and light in texture, and the whey has stopped dripping. Spoon the cheese into a bowl, add salt to taste - I add about 1/2 tsp to this quantity - and mix well. Use within 1 week - you can freeze into smaller quantities and thaw as needed.
I love making homemade cheese. Although in all honesty, with two little children in tow and everything else thrown into the mix I rarely find the time. However, this soft goat cheese has become a fridge staple. Besides the length of time involved it is very simple to make – 98.2% of the process is completely unattended!
It is when you make your own cheese that you truly begin to appreciate the cost of good quality cheese. Considering 4 litres of milk will result in about 400g of hard cheese [cheddar, gouda etc.] and up to 700g soft cheese, you get my drift. Even with fresh milk from vending machines popping up all over the region at $2 – $2.50/litre, the cost of making cheese still adds up.
I have been making this soft goat cheese for about 3 years now. It takes around 24 hours from start to finish but the steps are very simple. I make it in a large batch and freeze half so it lasts us 2-3 weeks. I source the goat milk from a local goat farm, and the resulting 600g of cheese costs about $12 to produce. Considering a small 250g punnet of goat cheese costs $12 in our local supermarket this is very reasonable.
The recipe I share is not a new one. It was given to me by an organic farmer who used to sell goat cheese at her market stall. It was the first taste of cheese both of my children experienced and continues to be used extensively in our kitchen. The cheese can be used in place of feta in recipes like quiche and spanakopita, and in sweet baking instead of ricotta. I have shared a few recipes on Homegrown Kitchen using our soft goat cheese, including:
Spread on toast with Cane sugar-free Plum Jam