Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Milk Pail Diaries
My first Chevre

This weekend I used an inexpensive kit from New England Cheesemaking to create chevre from Bonita's amazing milk. The kit cost around twenty dollars and came with cultures for curdling the milk, rennet, butter muslin, a recipe book and 4 molds. I thought making mozzarella was simple, but chevre made that cheese look complicated as a rubik's. Here's how easy it is to make chevre from raw goats milk. I started after morning milking on Friday, and it was ready to spread and serve Saturday morning. But most of that time was draining and cheese curdlin' - only took about 5 minutes of actual work, the hardest work was waiting!

1. Heat gallon of goats milk to 86 degrees in stainless steel.
2. Add packet of chevre culture, stir well into the warm milk.
3. Take off heat and let it sit with a lid for 12-20 hours.
4. Milk sets into happy thick curds you can slice with a knife
5. Strain through cheesecloth in a colander
6. Cover and let drain 6-10 hours
7. Salt, place in containers, refrigerate up to a week.

Produces two pounds of fresh soft cheese!

In the morning I set the drained curds into a mold and let it drain even more, to firm it up to be a free-standing mini wheel of salted delight. The other curds were fluffy and beautiful in the cheese cloth. I scooped them into a mason jar and set them in the fridge as a dip or spreading soft cheese. I took a taste and closed my eyes to savor it. It wasn't anything like any commercial goat cheese I ever ate. Light, fluffy, tangy (in a good way!) and reminded me of what good slightly soured whole milk cream and cream cheese would taste like if you whipped them up together. It was amazing, light, not at all "goaty" as I am learning over and over. I spread it onto an everything bagel and it was the perfect companion of light and fluffy cream to the seasoned and seeded bread. The hot bagel and the chilled chevre did a dance in my mouth and I think it was then in my heart I decided Bonita would be here to stay.

I don't think I can go back to life without a dairy animal in the backyard. It's just too much fun, too rewarding, and too damn tasty to go on without. From walking out with the pail to placing it in the fridge is less than 20 minutes a milking, and worth every second. Life is too short to live without a goat. And you can quote me on that, darling.

photo of Bonita by 468photography.com
photo of cheese by Melina Smyres

36 Comments:

Blogger Brenda said...

This post brings such a smile to my heart! I love it when someone experiences the joy of a goat and all she can add to your life. Enjoy!

April 15, 2012 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger Karen Rickers said...

OMG, that looks good!

April 15, 2012 at 11:11 AM  
Blogger Tara said...

See, if you tell people how easy it is, they'll stop thinking that those of us who make it are miracle workers! (I kid) ;)

FYI, there is NOTHING better with chevre than some sweet & spicy pepper jelly. It also makes a divine pizza topping with figs and caramelized onions.

April 15, 2012 at 11:12 AM  
Blogger Amy said...

Ohhhh Jenna, this is just the tip of the iceberg- think of all the wonderful things you can make! I'm excited for you & glad you decided to keep Ms Bonita. To have your own milk really rounds out your self-sustainability, and besides it's also an added bonus for us who love reading bout all your farm adventures!

April 15, 2012 at 11:15 AM  
Blogger Goat Song said...

Bwahahaha! And so another one falls to the charms of the goat world...

Welcome to the club, friend. ;) Just know that it always starts out with, "I just want ONE goat." Soon you'll be collecting them just like all the rest of us. It can't be helped! LOL.

And hey, a really good forum to skulk around on for goat questions is The Goat Spot. You'll get answers to your questions within minutes most of the time. http://thegoatspot.net/phpbb/index.php?sid=cd402f94303b9523c08ec2635bbf4d8d

Congrats on the cheese, BTW! Looks great!

April 15, 2012 at 11:23 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

MMMM! I want a dairy animal so. bad.

April 15, 2012 at 11:24 AM  
Blogger Melina said...

Your cheese is by far the best goat cheese I've ever had. Loved it on a bagel.

April 15, 2012 at 11:38 AM  
Blogger Alison said...

When your hive is harvested, try adding some honey to the end product. My favorite grab 'n' go breakfast with some crackers.

April 15, 2012 at 11:51 AM  
Blogger Tiffrz-N-Kidz said...

I was wondering how long it would take you to come over to the dairy goat side. I just set 30 bars of plain unscented un messed-with soap to cure. They will be the first of a series of little side-dollar items we sell at the farmer's market we are attending this Summer. I have not run the numbers yet, but I aim to clear $2/bar so there's a load of hay paid for this Fall. Or maybe I'll trade you for some cheese! It looks DEElish!

April 15, 2012 at 12:23 PM  
Blogger Ann said...

You're making me jealous. Alas, I live about 3 minutes from city hall and don't see it happening. Good for you.

April 15, 2012 at 12:31 PM  
Blogger Jess said...

Nice! Glad Bonita is working out for you.

April 15, 2012 at 12:46 PM  
Anonymous Jen's Farmily said...

Yum. I love cheese. I've never heard of this particular kind though.

I would love to have a goat one day for fresh cheese!!

April 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM  
Blogger JulieG said...

I'd take a spot for CAF cheese if any show up. It kills me to read CAF and I can't stop reading. Here in NC it's illegal to sell raw milk and I think if you make cheese, it has to be at least 60 days old to sell. Can't sell a hamburger that isn't well done, can't be pink.

Too many regulations here to have a proper farm the way I want. We're looking into going to South Carolina. A few more posts like this and I'll take off for SC and tell the rest cya and come when you can.

April 15, 2012 at 1:03 PM  
Blogger Farmin in WV said...

Love my goats!! I love goat milk!! I am so glad you have a milk goat! There are so many cheeses you can make! Yogurt too!

Have fun!

April 15, 2012 at 1:18 PM  
Blogger mush said...

I think you can put goat droppings on the garden without composting.

April 15, 2012 at 1:39 PM  
Blogger ~ Janis said...

The only thing better than chevre is goat kefir and goat kefir cheese!

April 15, 2012 at 3:32 PM  
Blogger becky3086 said...

Very nicely done. I'm afraid I can't see paying $20 for 2 lbs of cheese but I think it is ok, to start with the kit anyway until you know what you are doing.

April 15, 2012 at 3:34 PM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

That looks delicious! And you make it sound totally do-able.

April 15, 2012 at 4:24 PM  
Blogger Nuno said...

I was already sure that I'm gonna have goats one day but now I can't wait. Thx for sharing, as always

April 15, 2012 at 5:05 PM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

I knew it! I knew the minute you tasted your first homemade chevre Bonita would be there to stay.
Seriously now, try the haloumi.

April 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger goatgirl said...

I knew it! I knew the minute you tasted your first homemade chevre Bonita would be there to stay.
Seriously now, try the haloumi.

April 15, 2012 at 5:26 PM  
Blogger famousthecat said...

This is wonderful! We have been just in the VERRRY beginning stages of considering adding a goat to our own menagerie, and I love hearing how delicious the milk can be and how easy making chevre is. Beautiful!

April 15, 2012 at 6:00 PM  
Blogger Meredith A said...

Fun fun. Id add a goat or two but i'm in VA and my boyfriends a chef at an inn outside of Asheville, NC... weekends away would be more complex than they already are with that responsibility. Looks like fun though. My friend has a horse/goat pair (ham and ollie) and they get along swell.

April 15, 2012 at 6:20 PM  
OpenID ruralaspirations said...

I have used New England Cheesemaking supplies myself and love how easy they make it. I personally love chèvre, especially mixed with herbs and garlic, or you can be sinful and mix in cranberry preserves (or other berry preserves). I'm super happy that you're going to add a goat to CAF. I love reading about all your livestock!

April 15, 2012 at 6:51 PM  
Blogger Kelly said...

You have once again inspired me! I am getting a goat ☺

April 15, 2012 at 9:27 PM  
Blogger Christine said...

Haha, I love how you just fling yourself right into everything. You seem to have an instant passion for every new challenge you take up. We can't wait to have a goat around here.

April 15, 2012 at 9:39 PM  
Blogger pawsfurme said...

Janis - I make goat kefir every morning for breakfast. Haven't tried cheeses yet. I've been wondering about making kefir cheese. Could you give instructions?
The alpine/Saanan kefir I've made isn't nearly as good as the Nigerian Dwarf kefir I've made. I think it must be the fat content. I find it quite interesting.

Goat Song - My plan had been to have 2 Nigerian does and no bucks...didn't work out so well. I have acquired 10 in under 2 years with new babies on the way! They're addicting!!

mush - yes, you can. It's not "hot" like horse, cow, and chicken manure. It can go straight to the garden. Don't overdo it or you might end up with BEAUTIFUL plants but no fruit!

April 15, 2012 at 10:02 PM  
Blogger Jenna said...

For pete's sake, stop setting the bar so high for getting it all together! ;)

Good job, Jenna. I really enjoy reading about your experiences.

April 15, 2012 at 10:16 PM  
Blogger kristen said...

Jenna,

If you use your milk raw, there's no need to heat the milk. When I had my goat girls (oh, I miss them), I would milk, bring it in and strain it, and mix the chevre culture in right then. It was a perfect temperature. :) Makes it even easier! So glad life with Bonita is going well. I can't wait to have a goat again.

April 15, 2012 at 11:04 PM  
Blogger kimberlesk said...

Congrats on your first Chevre! I smiled through that whole post -- I'm so envious! Hope you enjoy Bonita and her bounty, cheers!

April 16, 2012 at 3:17 PM  
Blogger Jasmine said...

Thought of you - and possibly future lasagne chez CAF when I read this post today:

http://growitcookitcanit.com/2012/04/15/cook-it-2012-april-resolution-make-fresh-cheese/

April 16, 2012 at 5:01 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Best Chèvre I have EVER had. Best best best. Looking into loopholes for goats in the city.

April 17, 2012 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Kate said...

Best Chèvre I have EVER had. Best best best. Looking into loopholes for goats in the city.

April 17, 2012 at 7:56 PM  
Blogger Robyn said...

My husband and I have been having the goat discussion- namely, wondering if we should get a goat when we have our bit of land. This adventure of yours came along at just the right moment, and it sounds like something we really should do!

April 18, 2012 at 12:22 PM  
Blogger micah puncochar said...

Jenna,

I've always heard that you should have at least 2 goats. Does that rule not apply since there are many other animals around? Maybe it's an old wives tale? Thoughts?

Thanks,

Micah

April 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM  
Blogger micah puncochar said...

Jenna,

I've always heard that you should have at least 2 goats. Does that rule not apply since there are many other animals around? Maybe it's an old wives tale? Thoughts?

Thanks,

Micah

April 18, 2012 at 4:42 PM  

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