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Making Chevre

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

This is the first time I've tried to make chevre, or a cultured goat cheese beyond yogurt cheese. I'm using the milk that I picked up yesterday, fresh from the faucet as it were. =0)

This first pic shows some of the equipment needed. A gallon of milk, a thermometer, the chevre culture, and two stainless steel pots that fit one inside the other. I picked a set of 3 of these up at a local big box store for $30 and they work perfect.

The milk goes in the little pot, the little pot goes in the big pot, and water goes into the big pot to the level of the milk. In other words, you're making a double boiler to gently raise and hold the heat of the milk.

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Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Onto the stove it goes, put the thermometer in, turn on the flame and bring the milk to 145*. I've found with this particular set-up, I need to turn the flame off around 140* and the temp will continue to rise to the required 145*. As the milk heats up, stir it ocassionally to mix the temp layers that otherwise form in the milk. Stainless steel spoons are best as they will confer no off flavors to the milk. I found mine at a garage sale for $2. =0)

Once the temp is up to 145*, it needs to be held between 145* and 150* for 30 min. This pasteurizes the milk and kills any pathogens or competing bacteria that might ruin the cheese. I've found with my set-up the temp will stay up for about 20 min. before I have to bump it a bit with the flame.

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Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

After 30 min. cool the milk rapidly by setting it in a sink of cold water and ice. If you're going to just drink the milk, you can take it all the way down to 40* and put in the fridge. This milk is safe for infants, elderly, and immuno-compromised individuals.

If, as today, you are making chevre, you cool the milk to 86* and stir in the chevre culture, a tiny little packet that sure doesn't look like it could make cheese out of a whole gallon of milk. =0)

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Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Once the culture is added, you put the lid on your pot and place it somewhere where it will stay at 72* for 12 hours. We looked around the house and the closest we got was up on top of the pantry shelves. It was about 70* and we're hoping that's close enough. It's going to be a warm day, so it'll probably warm up a bit up there. Tonight we'll see if we have curds...

Ya'll are seeing way more of my kitchen than most of my friends... LOL

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Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

An important note... when pasteurizing and making cheeses, you'll need a thermometer that can be calibrated for accuracy. They generally have a small nut on the backside of the dial so you can use a wrench to adjust them.

To calibrate, put the sensing end in a glass of ice water... mostly ice, just enough water to fill the spaces. After everything's had a few minutes to chill, your thermometer should read 32*. If it doesn't, take a small wrench and tweak the nut, holding the dial, til it does.

The first time I tried to pasteurize my milk, I hadn't done this and the dang milk was boiling and supposedly it hadn't reached the high temp I wanted (there's a high temp version of pasteurizing, where you keep the temp up for something like 15 sec. but it doesn't yield as desirable a curd for cheese making). Soooo, that's how I found out about calibrating thermometers. LOL

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Paris, TN(Zone 6b)

Great info, thanks Jay!

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

Yeah, great pix too. Hope it turns out perfectly.

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

I bought those stainless steel pots, too, but then I set them aside with the receipt because I thoguht they were not really stainless steel, because my magnet wouldn't stick to them. But my-son-the-chef came over and laughed, said stainless steel is not magnetic. So I kept them and have used the smallest one for cheese making, but never thought to use to of them as a double boiler. Duh! Thanks, Jay.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Those pots are about as thin and cheap as you could make 'em, but they work great for this. LOL They'd make great milking buckets, too, I think. And a whole lot cheaper than the stainless steel pails in the livestock catalogues. =0)

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Where do you buy the culture?

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

I got the goat cheese kit from New England Cheesemaking Supply. It comes with Chevre and Fresh cultures, muslin for straining, cheese molds, and instruction booklet.

www.cheesemaking.com

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

What exactly is rennet? I remember in the Little House books they had to kill a young milkfed calf to get the rennet. They used part of the calf's stomach and boiled it in the milk.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Rennet is an enzyme that coagulates the milk, helping to form a firmer curd. It's especially helpful with goat milk. If you're having trouble getting your goat milk yogurt to firm up, it needs a tiny touch of very dilute rennet.

There's both animal rennet, from calf or lamb stomachs, and vegetable rennet. Now they have a bacteria line that produces rennet as well.

The chevre culture in the goat cheese kit also has rennet in it, from a vegetable source. =0)

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I looked at the link you posted and clicked through to where she shows how to make the mozerella (sp?). I would never have imagined it was so easy. Makes me want to send for the kit.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

It makes great mozarella... another friend makes it all the time for her family. =0)

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I have added the site to my favorites. I may actually try it one day. I would love to have a milk cow. Just a small breed, maybe a Dexter or a Scottish cow, that only gives a couple gallons a day.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

I wish they made a cow that gave as much as a goat... LOL

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

I wish goat's milk tatsed like cow's milk. I'd buy a goat.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Fresh goats milk does taste like cow's milk. =0) It's only if there's a buck around or the milk is a few days old or hasn't been handled properly (cooled quickly) that it gets goaty.

I sure wish I could give you a glass of what I've got now, you'd be out the door lookin' for a milk doe faster than I don't know what. =0)

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

I checked the culture and HOUSTON, WE HAVE CHEESE!!! =0) Well, almost.

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Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

To REALLY have cheese, the whey needs to be separated from the curd...
the colander in the sink is lined with cheese muslin and sitting in a bowl to collect the whey.

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Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

After the curds are spooned into the muslin it is gathered up, tied with a string and left to drain overnight...

Yes, that's the dog's bowl collecting the whey overnight. They love it with their breakfast and we got plenty for ourselves. Whey is also good to soak chicken feed in...

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Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Here's our whey! As you can see, there's more than half a gallon. We make a to die for bread with it. Definitely looking forward to that!

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Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Well, I'd like to say I bounced out of bed bright and early to check the cheese, but we're plumb wore out from yesterday's nice weather and everything we got done... no early, no bounce. Bright's always in question. =0)

But I have taken the draining cheese down and Tah-Dah... cheese, wonderful cheese! A big ol' hunk of it, too. =0) It tastes great, and has a slightly grainy appearance, though the texture in the mouth is smooth. I can't wait to have it on this morning's toast with chokecherry jelly! Oh yum....

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Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

So, is it like cream cheese?

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

About the same consistency, but instead of looking smooth when you cut it, it looks more like... cheese cake. =0)

North of Heber, AZ(Zone 6b)

Sounds delicious -- but, how do you pronounce chevre, anyway? NE Cheesemaking Supply is where I got my mozzarella kit from, the one I haven't used yet. The postage really bothered me, I need to find a cheesemaking supplier on the West Coast, closer to home.

Re rennet, don't bother asking for it at your local grocery. All I got when I tried that were blank stares, LOL. I can remember seeing rennet on grocery store shelves. Doesn't seem that long ago, either.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Yeah, sometimes you can find rennet at the store under the name Junket (I think) but the folks in the know say it's not that good. Of course, my old lady neighbors swear by it...

Some of the goat supply sources have cheese making stuff; they might be closer to you.

Pronunciation... CHEV-rah (I think) lol

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

MMmmm, favorite new afternoon snack... crackers, chevre, Imperial Lime soda. MMMmmmm. =0d

Fowlerville, MI(Zone 5b)

Wow, what a great lesson!! Step by step - and with pictures too! .....You should teach random classes on here!! You're awesome at this! And now I know how to pasteurize fresh milk too! I've saving that info! In my 'self-sufficient library' I have a three ring binder for tidbits like this that I print and put in it. :-D

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

I've got a spiral notebook that I do the same thing in! All sorts of stray info in it, some I'll never use, some I use over and over. It's great. =0)

Glad you found this helpful and interesting. Thanks.
Jay
who for dessert tonight might try chevre with canned peaches....

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Be careful. You may become a chevre-a-holic. And that would require more frequent tripping through the goat lot in your clogs.

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Next time I will go armored with my muck boots...
Next time is tomorrow. =0)

Hi, my name is Jay and I'm a chevre-holic!

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Oh No!!! I'm too late. I'll have to set up an intervention!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Oh sure, call it what you want, but you're not getting my cheese! You'll just have to make your own...

=0) Your name is Cajun, and you're about to become a mozzarellaholic.
LOL

Biggs, KY(Zone 6a)

Not while I'm dieting!

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

I hungry for cheese !

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Skim milk mozzarellaaaaaaaa....
BwaaaHaaaHaaa

none of ur business, OK(Zone 5b)

I got fat free mozzerella at the store , cuz i m dieting :( sad but true. in the summer i won't be so strict and allow myself cheese with full fat !!!

Sapello, NM(Zone 5b)

Just weed harder! LOL

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