Sunday, June 21, 2009


My first batch of goat cheese was just the tiniest bit disappointing. I was expecting the sort of creamy, tangy spreadable cheese that I associate with the term chevre. I now know it was a learning cheese. It was a quick cheese which used cider vinegar to coagulate the milk and then hung to dry for a few hours. The resulting cheese was mild tasting and much drier and firmer than I'd expected.

I'm learning a little bit with each batch of cheese I make. I now know that vinegar makes a somewhat rubbery cheese and long draining times make a drier cheese. Nearly every recipe I've tried so far has come from either The Home Creamery or Home Cheese Making, both of which are excellent books full of promise. But I also tried a little freestyle cheese making last week, adding to my goat's milk some heavy cream and homemade yogurt which I wanted to use up before a trip out of town. The resulting cheese was unlike anything I've ever tasted and I was so tickled! Ed, my source for ultra-fresh goat's milk, tells me if I created it, I should name it but so far it's just The Awesome Cheese. I don't know why, but adding the cow's milk cream and yogurt to the goat's milk seemed to enhance the goaty flavor in a really good way. The cheese was a little dry but sliced nicely and disappeared all too rapidly. I'll try again and if I can duplicate my results, I hope to share the recipe here.

I still hadn't managed a creamy, tangy chevre and after a bit more research realized that I needed a starter culture and time to let things age properly. I ordered the Fresh French Goat Cheese kit from The New England Cheesemaking Company and soon found myself in possession of two types of starters, four cheese molds, more rennet, butter muslin and a recipe booklet which talked me through all the steps for a classic chevre. It's not quick--it takes a few days what with sterilizing the milk, incubating the culture, and draining the curds, but it worked! Two full days after I started the process I was rewarded with four tiny rounds of delicious cheese. I'm so jazzed about this! I really can make cheese in my kitchen from milk purchased nearby fom the happiest goats I've ever seen. Today I tucked some thin wedges of the cheese into pitted dates and wished I could pat myself on the back for my cleverness.

You won't be surprised to learn that I've added a few new blogs to my RSS reader. Curd Nerds, I Make Cheese, and Cheese Underground really hit the spot for me these days. But after reading/gawking at this fabulous photo essay on artisan cheesemaking in the Alps, I am starting to think that maybe the world needs another cheesemaker more than it needs another ESL teacher.
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Elizabeth said...

Your adventures in cheesemaking have inspired me to put cheesemaking on my summer to-do list, just as soon as school is over for the term. :-)

Chris said...

I love the way you geek-out. Thanks for the cheese blog links.