Humble Garden

ReSkilling for future food independence

Making chevre cheese from our home-milked goat milk

Posted by Nika On June - 22 - 2008

(This was cross-posted to Nika’s Culinaria and Peaknix)

Making Chevre: Completed!

(Homemade chevre cheese)

We are enjoying our independence from the food chain. We get our eggs and our milk (and now cheese) from our backyard. We eat our salads from our backyard.

If you don’t now, what are you waiting for?!

If you think food prices are high now, you will be pale with shock soon enough. Think oil-based fertilizers, oil-based pesticides, oil-run tractors and trucks, think floods, think drought, think 2008.

secret egg

(One of our hens, Jennifer, escapes the coop every day and lays her beautiful egg in the shed where the hay is)

The seed companies are reporting a 40% rise in seed sales this year (they were shocked, didn’t see it coming, these people need to get on the web more often).

Now that the baby goats are not such babies and are fully weaned, we have more goat milk to work with. We go through less than 1 gallon of fluid goat milk a day for Baby O (who adores goat milk and is sensitive to lactose in pasteurized cow milk).

Can't have him, McCain

(Baby O with new hair cut, growing lots of muscles from that goat milk!)

Our milking doe, Torte, gives us about one and 1/2 gallons of milk a day. Over two days, we then have one extra gallon of milk, works out nicely.

torte being milked

(Torte in her stanchion)

You may or may not know that it is hard to make cream or butter from goat milk because the fat doesn’t separate out (because the fat globules are smaller and stay spread out, like its been homogenized). We could make it if we bought a $400.00 cream separator but thats not going to happen! I love goat cheese just fine.

torte being milked

(Q milking Torte)

We will be getting a jersey cow/calf to have super high quality milk, cream, and butter. I can wait for that.

Back to the topic for today.

It is VERY easy to make chevre but it takes a few days, you simply have to be patient.

We are using milk we pasteurized for this batch, we may go raw with he next batch.

We used a chevre starter from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, I can not recommend them highly enough.

Making chevre with our home-milked goat milk

(All in one chevre starter)

This little packet is enough for one gallon of milk. This could not be easier, you just bring your milk up to (or down to as the case may be) to 86 F and sprinkle the starter in. Mix well and let culture at room temperature for 12-20 hours.

The curd sets up and excludes the whey.

You then slice it up a bit so that the mass of curd is broken up and more whey is excluded.

Remember that all of the equipment being used must be sterilized.

We bought the plastic chevre molds from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company which I cleaned very well.

These are well worth the cost and will last a long time.

Making Chevre: plastic molds

(Chevre molds)

Using a sterilized slotted spoon, you scoop out the curds and begin to fill the molds.

Making Chevre: curds out of the pot

(Curds and whey)

Making Chevre: scooping in the curds

(Pouring curds into molds)

One gallon of milk yielded three molds worth of cheese.

Making Chevre: curds in the mold

(Filled mold)

Making Chevre: curds in the mold

(Filled cheese molds)

Once they are filled they go on a wire rack over a pan or bucket to catch the dripping whey, cover the tops and let sit at room temperature or in the fridge for 2 days. They will shrink a lot.

Making Chevre: 2 days to drip

(Covered and dripping, on the counter top)

After the two days, the cups were no longer dripping and the cheese was quite firm and much dryer.

Making Chevre: Completed!

(Homemade chevre cheese)

This cheese tastes unbelievably fresh and, I think, uniquely ours. Its a fantastic feeling to sit down to a salad that we grew topped with chevre we made from our own goat. I watched Torte munching on tree bark in our backyard as I nibbled on the cheese.

Resources:

14 Responses to “Making chevre cheese from our home-milked goat milk”

  1. Mom says:

    The photos of the cheese are great…made my mouth water. Of course the photo of Baby O is gorgeous because he is!

  2. Erika says:

    Nika, I’m amazed! That is awesome that you actually made cheese! And it didn’t look to difficult at that. Your independance from the food production machine is inspiring!

  3. Nika says:

    Erika: you can do it too, for sure. Making cheese is not hard, just have to be patient :-)

  4. Nika,
    Recently I double-dipped with the same chevre culture you use. After pouring off the “clear” whey, I collected some of the fresh stuff that was white with solids and immediately used one-half cup to inoculate a new 2-quart batch. I was wondering if you have ever done this, and if you think the culture will hold up for a while when handled this way. Yogurt and keffir are so tough that I use half-cup inoculants that have been frozen for a month to start new batches. It would be great if the same is true with the chevre culture.

  5. Nika says:

    Barbara,

    How did yours turn out?

    I too would love to be able to save starter (like you do with yogurt in ice trays) tho I have not tried it with the chevre. The chevre packets from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company are a combo of bacteria and vegetable rennet. (their site says Culture includes: s.lactis, s. cremoris, s lactis biovar diacetylactis, malto dextrin and vegetable rennet)

    If it were just bacteria then I think you could proceed with saving starter for a next batch BUT since this method would not give you the amount of rennet you would need to coagulate the proteins you will need to add rennet to your next batch.

    I do not know how much of the saved starter you would need to use. This likely will be different each time because of culture conditions that might select for certain of those bacteria and against certain others (you may have some live s. lactis but lost live s. cremoris by the end of your incubation period – giving rise to a saved starter that is deficient in s. cremoris – hope that makes sense) – if that selection process is going on, you will get a progressively pure (and weaker?) culture. There must be a reason for the three bacteria that NE Cheese sells as a combo.

    I bought a whole bunch of packets so I have been lazy and have not started experimenting with this. I have also found that each batch from the same doe can be quite different – go figure! (even with a few week time span and also same feed – the biggest source of variability is the consistency (or lack) in pasteurization time/temp – we are not perfect!, time in the fridge after pasteurization before making cheese, etc)

    Let me know how it goes for you. When I have some time, I will google this to see what others are saying.

    My next adventure is moving on to hard goat cheeses. We are going to have LOADS of milk in the spring once all 8 goats freshen and the babies wean. I need to be able to capture that product in a way that feeds us all year long. Chevre is so easy but its so perishable. I need to invest a bit in constructing a cave of sorts to age/store our cheese – that’s my biggest block at the moment.

    Anyways, tell me how yours goes!

  6. kristi says:

    hi, i am interested to know if you fed baby o goats milk formula? i am due with our 4th in 3 weeks and would love to be able to give her our own fresh goats milk. i am unable to nurse due to a surgery i had several years ago. ANY information or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
    thank you so much..
    kristi c

    thanks again

  7. Nika says:

    Kristi: Will you be able to do any nursing at all? Your baby will need to have colostrum in his/her first days for a properly functioning immune system. What do your docs say?

    We did not give our little guy goat milk (not formula) until he was past 1 years old – when he had stopped drinking formula and had transitioned onto cows milk (thats when we realized his intolerance to pasturized cows milk).

    I didnt have to solve the problem of finding goats milk formula so I do not know if there even is a source of it and if there is, whether it is actually a good one!

    Let me request one thing tho! Do NOT feed your child any soy formula and then when older, no soy milks or other products.

    Sorry I could not help you more re: goats milk formula!

  8. Sally says:

    Hi..
    I am so envious of you being able to keep Goats, I had Victoria, a Saanen, when I was a teenager living in Kent, England. She adored my father and he adored her but she would eat his Carnations, so she was always in disgrace.

    I have made great Goats cheese using the following recipe.

    2 quarts of Goats Cheese, 1 cup of Goats Yoghurt – for the bacteria & cultures – 1 cup of Goats Cream,
    2 teaspoonfuls of white wine Vinegar, 1 teaspoonfull of Salt.

    Have ready a sieve lined with 2 layers of Cheesecloth or muslin and a LARGE mixing bowl underneath to catch the WHEY.

    Put ALL ingredients into a heavy based saucepan, bring pan gently to boil, allow to boil very gently to allow milk to curdle for 2 mins, remove from heat and pour the whole contents very carefully & slowly into the lined sieve.

    The curds will remain in the sieve, the whey will now be in the bowl.

    You can take the curds and put them into a shaped rush basket – mine are very old Italian Ricotta basket – and let the curds set, this will give you a very light cheese as there will still be quite a lot of moisture in with the curds.

    OR.. you take up the 4 corners of the cloth and tie them together and suspend the bag of curds so that all of the why drips out.

    The longer you let it drip, the denser the cheese will be. So you can go from the consistency of Ricotta to Mozzarella with the same formula…

    Use the Whey for making Soda Bread.. to eat with the ‘Mozzarella and home grown tomatoes..

    What coupd possibly be nicer for a home made meal?

    Best wishes from Sally. An avid gardener and cook AND Goat lover!

  9. Nika says:

    Sally: thanks for writing and sharing the story and the recipe! Sounds delicious! Will see if I can give it a try.

  10. Lisa says:

    In case you are interested, there are regularly milk separators on EBay for around 70 plus shipping for a hand crank. I don’t have any goats, yet, as I still live in town. However, while researching I had some across how ridiculously expensive the separators are. At some point I searched for them on Ebay and was so astounded by the price that I almost bought one anyway :) I’ve since realized that they are a very popular item with great reviews and that there are always plenty available.

  11. Mindy says:

    I just stumbled across your blog. I was very excited to read this. I just started making ricotta cheese and was interested in branching out. Can you make the chevre without the cultures? Chevre is one of my favorite cheeses so I’m very excited to try it. Thanks for posting. Have you tried using the whey to make ricotta?

  12. Maria says:

    can I use cows milk and use the chevre powder?

  13. Nika says:

    Maria, i am not sure – have not done it myself – you should give it a try!

  14. […] another excellent recipe for goat Chèvre from the folks at the Humble Garden.  Click here for my homemade ricotta recipe […]

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About Me

We are a family of 5, including Nika, Ed, Q (14), KD (7), and Baby Oh (4). We garden 1024 square feet of raised beds plus assorted permacultural plantings. We also have 13 LaMancha dairy goats, 40 chickens, and one guard llama.

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