Soft Goat Cheesemaking 101

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I am milking again and I love it.  It has been almost a month and I have been making soft cheese every few days.  Soft goat cheese is one of the most delectable things about milking every day.  I make a batch and eat to my heart’s content.  Here are the basic directions.  This recipe is for those of us who want our cheese but have not gotten the more specialized supplies yet.

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I take a gallon of milk freshly strained from the morning’s milking and put it into a stainless pan that has a lid available.  To that I add 1/2 cup of Bulgarian Buttermilk and 1/2 tablet of Junket Rennet which was dissolved in a little bit of water.  Junket is not the best thing to use for harder cheeses, but it does the trick for soft cheese.  Just be prepared for variations in the finished product.   Stir well.  I love my large flat ladle that has round holes in it.  With that I can make sure to get the rennet thoroughly mixed in.  Cover and set this in a warm, draft free place for 12 hours.  I use my oven that has a pilot light.  With the door propped open a little, the temperature is perfect, around 70 degrees.

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After chores that night I take the softly solidified milk and ladle it into a sieve lined with a piece of muslin.  (Okay, so mine is a cloth diaper stolen out of the package before I used them on my children.)  When all the milk is in the sieve, I gather the corners and get it ready to hang.  I use a cloth shoelace because it can be washed.  The shoelace is tied in such a way so when I loop it around the cloth and string it on the hook, there is room for the whey to drip out and not splash back up on itself.  Now it is left to hang for the next 12 hours.

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The next morning the fun starts.  I take it out of the cloth and put it in a stainless or glass bowl and season it.  Plastic has a tendency to retain and pass on flavors so I never use that for my cheeses.  My favorite flavor is mixing in a package of powdered Ranch Dressing mix.  But I have chopped up jalapeno peppers and put that in there.  Or just salt.  Or I press some garlic and put that in with basil.  With the garlic/basil cheese I make it into little balls and put in the jars with olive oil.  The options are endless.  From there I might wait until it is cold, but not likely.  I have gone through more packages of Ritz crackers or Wheat Thins than I have used in the last 4 years combined.

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In reality, the cheese is best when it is aged a couple of days with the seasonings.  But I don’t often wait that long.  So test this out for yourself.  This is my favorite simple goat cheese recipe.  If you have any questions or flavor suggestions please feel free to comment.

About Janolyn

I am a mother of 5 wonderful children, 4 boys and 1 girl. During the years that my children were growing up, we grew most of our own food with a vegetable garden, many fruit trees and berry patches. I grew flowers for joy. We milked goats and raised our own meats and eggs. I learned to make my own cheeses, butter, canned foods, sourdough, and fermented foods. I made our own health products like soap, hand creams, lip balm, and herbal tinctures. We live off the power grid and have learned to do without conveniences that most Americans consider essential. The land clearing and building has been mostly accomplished with hand tools; some of them even the right tool for the job. After a couple of miscarriages between #2 and #3 due to “standard medical procedures”, I consulted a midwife and my last 3 children were born safely at home. That was when I was first alerted to the fact that doctors did not know everything nor would they have the time to share it with their patients if they did. As I learned the basic principles of heath-through-nutrition from my midwife, I learned alternative gardening practices from her husband. That introduction started a lifelong love of learning the practical life of our ancestors. I want to share what I have been learning with you and learn from those who are also living a sustainable life.

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