On the coldest day of the year (-25 degrees F), I went milking goats with my friend Lisa Ringer from Two Pony Gardens. The milk froze to the side of the pail in an instant, but the rest came inside for cheese making. Milking on that cold morning, I never thought that holding the warm teats of a goat could feel so good.
Chevre is about the easiest thing in the world to make — as long as you’ve got a packet of starter and a goat on hand. Well, don’t sweat the goat. High-quality store-bought goat milk works, too. But you can’t beat fresh goat milk from the backyard, or from a nearby farmer.
The recipe that I used for making the chevre was from the excellent book Home Cheese Making. The ingredient list is simple:
1 gallon whole goat’s milk (they suggest pasteurized, we used raw)
1 packet direct-set chevre starter (which includes: s.lactis, s. cremoris, s. lactis biovar diacetylactis, malto dextrin, and vegetable rennet.)
Heat the milk to 86 degrees F. Add the packet of starter and mix it in completely. Cover the pot and let it sit for 12 hours. After 12 hours scoop the curds into cheese cloth (muslin) and hang for another 12 hours. Remove the cheese from the cloth. At this point, you can add sea salt and mix thoroughly if that’s your thing. Otherwise just refrigerate and salt as you go. The book says to use within a week, but I have some in my fridge that is two weeks old and still very delicious.
Chevre is tasty on just about anything. Great with a mix of herbs, on toast or pasta. You can even substitute it for cream cheese in a cheese cake. I served it with pan-fried lamb chops (wish they had been goat), roasted sweet potatoes, and preserved tomatoes.