Chèvre, which simply means “goat” in French, is possibly my favorite cheese to make. It’s incredibly easy, versatile, and always a crowd pleaser. I typically make it in the evening so my curds set while I sleep. The next morning, all I have to do is let them drain and get creative.
Fresh chèvre is a lactic cheese with a little bit of rennet. That means the cultures do most of the coagulation work by turning lactose into lactic acid, allowing the proteins of the milk to bind together. Rennet is there to give the curds just a little bit more body. In this recipe, you have the choice to use cheesemaking.com’s chèvre packet which includes both the culture and the rennet, or to go the classic route by adding your culture and rennet separately.
Ingredients and Equipment:
- Goat milk, 1 gallon, raw or pasteurized NOT ultra-pasteurized… read your labels closely.
- C20G, 1 packet or ¼ tsp mesophilic culture such as MA011 or MM100 and one drop of liquid rennet.
- Salt, preferably a little coarse, like sea salt or kosher salt
- Pot with lid, heavy bottom, non-reactive
- Slotted spoon
- Colander over bowl
- Butter muslin
1. Warm milk to 86F. Do this on medium heat, stirring constantly to avoid scorching.
2. Sprinkle cultures, let rehydrate for a few minutes and stir in with an up/down motion for about a minute.
Tip: if you are not using the C20G packets, sprinkle and stir the mesophilic culture first. Dilute the rennet in ¼ cup of cool, non-chlorinated water, add to the milk. Proceed with next steps.
3. Once well incorporated, still the milk, cover the pot and let set at room temperature.
4. 12-18 hours later, the curd should have formed and look like yogurt with clear whey floating on top.
5. Ladle the curd into a butter muslin lined colander over a bowl or pot to catch the whey.
6. Hang the muslin to let drain for 1-6 hours. The more it drains, the drier your cheese will be.
7. Transfer the curds into a clean bowl and mix in about 2 tsp salt with a spoon or a fork. Taste and add more salt as desired.
8. This is the fun part: add any additional herbs, spices or sweetness to the curds. It keeps about 7-10 days in the fridge.
You can go in the herby, sweet, spicy, or tangy directions. Some of my favorites are Herbes de Provence, honey & lavender, or lemon zest! Either mix the herbs into the cheese itself or coat a ball of cheese by rolling it into your herbs or create your own way to integrate them. The possibilities are truly endless!
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