Goat cheese is one of the most popular cheeses in the world. It has a creamy, slightly tangy flavor and texture that makes it perfect for all sorts of dishes, from salads to desserts. If you’re looking for an easy way to make goat cheese at home, this post is for you! We’ll cover everything you need to know about making goat cheese, including what ingredients you’ll need, types of goat cheese and what makes them different, step-by-step guides to making goat cheese, tips and tricks to improve your results, common mistakes to avoid when making goat cheese, storing and serving tips for homemade goat cheese, alternative recipes to try out, and the health benefits of eating goat cheese. Let’s get started!
What You Need to Know About Making Goat Cheese
Making goat cheese requires just a few simple ingredients, some kitchen techniques, and patience. The process is relatively straightforward: You start by heating milk until it reaches a certain temperature and then adding starter cultures or rennet. This helps separate the curds (the solids) from the whey (the liquid). Then you strain the mixture through cheesecloth and press it into molds before aging it. With these basic steps, you can easily make delicious homemade goat cheese with just a little practice.
Types of Goat Cheese and What Makes Them Different
There are many different types of goat cheese, ranging from soft and spreadable chèvre to hard aged varieties. Each type of cheese has its own unique flavor and texture, which depends on several factors such as the type of milk used, how long the cheese was aged, and even what additives were included in the recipe. Here are some of the most popular types of goat cheese:
- Fresh Chevre – Soft, creamy cheese made from pureed goats’ milk; often flavored with herbs or spices
- Aged Chèvre – A harder version of fresh chevre; aged for longer periods of time for more robust flavor
- Feta – A brined Greek cheese usually crumbled over salads or served with olives
- Ricotta – Italian style ricotta made with either cows’ milk or goats’ milk
- Cream Cheese – Creamy white cheese with a mild flavor; often blended with herbs or other ingredients
Choosing Ingredients For Your Recipe
When choosing ingredients for your goat cheese recipe, look for high-quality products that don’t contain any added preservatives or artificial flavors. Choose organic milk whenever possible to ensure the best quality product. Also be sure to select pasteurized milk rather than raw milk if you plan to eat your finished product. Other essential ingredients include starters or rennet for coagulation, calcium chloride for firmness, and salt for flavoring.
Step-by-Step Guide To Making Goat Cheese
Now that you have all the ingredients you need, let’s walk through the process of making goat cheese. Here’s what you need to do:
- Heat the milk – Begin by heating the milk in a large pot on the stove over medium heat until it reaches 88 degrees Fahrenheit. Stir occasionally to prevent scorching.
- Add starter culture or rennet – Once the desired temperature is reached, add the starter culture or rennet according to package instructions and stir gently. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for 30 minutes.
- Separate curds and whey – After 30 minutes, cut the curd mass into small cubes using a long knife and stir gently to break up any clumps. Allow the mixture to sit undisturbed for another 15 minutes.
- Strain and press – Line a colander with cheesecloth and ladle the curd mass into the cloth-lined colander. Gently press down on the curds to remove excess moisture.
- Age – Transfer the pressed curds into a shallow container lined with clean cheesecloth and allow them to age in a cool area (around 55 degrees Fahrenheit) for at least 12 hours.
- Enjoy! – After 12 hours have passed, your freshly made goat cheese is ready to enjoy! Cut it into cubes or slices, season with herbs and spices as desired, and serve alongside breads or crackers.
Tips and Tricks To Improve Your Results
Here are some tips and tricks to help you get great results every time you make goat cheese:
- Use high-quality milk – Always choose high-quality milk with no added preservatives or artificial flavors when making goat cheese. Organic milk is preferred if available.
- Use cold milk – Start with cold milk instead of room temperature milk for better separation of curds and whey during coagulation.
- Rinse the curds – When pressing the curds in the colander, rinse them under cold water for 10-15 seconds before transferring them to the shallow container for aging. This will help remove any bitterness from the curds.
- Patience is key – Allowing your goat cheese to age properly is essential for achieving great flavor and texture. Resist the urge to eat it too soon or you won’t get full enjoyment from your final product.
Common Mistakes To Avoid When Making Goat Cheese
While making goat cheese is relatively easy once you get the hang of it, there are some common mistakes that can ruin your batch if not avoided. Here are some things to watch out for:
- Overheating – Heating your milk too quickly or letting it reach temperatures higher than 90°F will cause proteins in the milk to denature, resulting in poor separation of curds and whey during coagulation.
- Underaging – Rushing through the aging process will leave your cheese bland and flavorless. Be patient and wait at least 12 hours before sampling your homemade creation!
- Too much stirring – Mixing too vigorously while heating the milk can result in grainy curds during coagulation due to protein breakdown caused by agitation. Keep stirring gentle when working with heated milk.
- Improper straining – Using a colander without lining it first with cheesecloth can lead to loss of valuable curds during draining as well as difficulty removing excess whey during pressing. Make sure you line your colander with clean cheesecloth before beginning straining.
Storing and Serving Tips For Homemade Goat Cheese
Storing and serving homemade goat cheese correctly is important for preserving its freshness and flavor. Here are some tips:
- Store properly – Wrap your fresh goat cheese tightly in plastic wrap and store it in the refrigerator immediately after it has been pressed. It will keep fresh for up to two weeks in the fridge or up to six months in the freezer if stored properly.
- Serve chilled – For optimal flavor and texture, serve chilled goat cheese within 2-3 hours of refrigeration or thaw overnight if frozen before serving. Warm temperatures may cause it to become overly soft and runny.
- Try different toppings – Experiment with different topping combinations such as olive tapenade or cranberry compote for added flavor and texture when serving your homemade creations!
Alternative Goat Cheese Recipes To Try Out
If you’ve mastered basic goat cheese recipes and want to try something new, here are some alternative recipes worth exploring:
- Tomato Basil Chevre – An easy yet flavorful combination of tomatoes, basil leaves, garlic, black pepper, lemon juice, olive oil, and chevre stirred together for a quick appetizer dip or sandwich spread
- Honey Mustard Chevre Spread – Creamy chevre combined with honey mustard sauce creates an irresistible condiment perfect for topping burgers or spreading onto crackers
- Raspberry Balsamic Chevre Log – A tasty mix of raspberries, balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, ground cinnamon, minced shallot, sea salt, and chevre rolled into a log shape and served over greens or crackers
- Dill & Garlic Chevre Crostini – Thinly sliced baguette rounds topped with dill-flavored cream cheese spread mixed with chopped garlic cloves and topped with herbed chevre create an impressive party appetizer that everyone will love
Health Benefits Of Eating Goat Cheese
In addition to its delicious taste, goat cheese also offers numerous health benefits thanks to its nutrient content. Some notable nutrients found in goat cheese include protein, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, zinc, iron, vitamin B12, riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), folate (vitamin B9), selenium, omega-3 fatty acids, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Eating goat cheese regularly can help promote strong bones and teeth, regulate cholesterol levels, boost immune system function, aid digestion, reduce inflammation throughout the body, increase energy levels, support weight management efforts, enhance brain function and cognitive performance, protect against certain types of cancer cells, decrease blood pressure levels, balance hormones naturally, maintain healthy skin tone and appearance, improve cardiovascular health overall, and more!
To sum it up, making delicious homemade goat cheese doesn’t require any special skills—just some basic ingredients, kitchen equipment and techniques, plus a bit of patience! With our guide on how to make goat cheese above plus helpful tips on selecting ingredients wisely, avoiding common mistakes when making goat cheese at home, storing and serving advice for optimum flavor and nutrition benefits from your finished product, plus alternative recipes to try out beyond basic chevre—you’ll be able to whip up amazing batches of goat cheese each time!
I am an inspired, life-long homesteader with a heart for simple, sustainable living. Growing up surrounded by farmland in the rural Midwest, I developed a deep respect for nature and the rewards of cultivating your own land. That’s why I’m passionate about helping others become homesteaders, too. Through my website therootedhomestead.com, I share my DIY tips, share inspiring stories of other homesteaders, and provide resources for anyone who dreams of growing their own food or living off the land. I hope to open a door to a more joyful, meaningful and purposeful life for all.