If you want to make a very simple version of homemade goat cheese, this recipe using lemon juice and goat's milk is the one. The acidity in the lemon juice thickens the milk and makes soft curds form. Once the liquid is drained away from the curds, viola, you have a basic but tasty version of homemade goat cheese.
White vinegar can also be used to make homemade goat cheese, although the flavor of lemon is slightly more pleasing in the finished product.
For the best and most consistent results, starter culture and rennet should be used to make homemade goat cheese. Starter culture can be bought online, and so can cheesemaking kits that contain everything you need to make goat cheese.
After the cheese is made you can add herbs, spices or garlic to enhance the flavor.
- 1 quart goat's milk (pasteurized is fine, but don't use ultra-pasteurized)
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (no pulp or seeds)
- Salt to taste
First, gather these tools:
- Non-reactive pot: A non-reactive pot is important because certain metals, such as aluminum, will leach into the milk. Use a stainless steel pot to avoid this.
- Thermometer: You can get away with not using a thermometer if you know what the milk looks like when it reaches 180 - 185 F (It will be nearing a simmer, with bubbles forming). However, you're more likely to have consistently successful results if you use a thermometer.
- Strainer or Colander
- Wood or stainless-steel spoon with a long handle
1. Slowly heat the milk on the stove until it reaches 180 - 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Gentle bubbles should be forming and the surface will look foamy. Turn off the heat.
2. Stir in the lemon juice then let the milk sit for 10 minutes. The milk should curdle and become slightly thicker on the surface.
3. Line a colander with two layers of cheesecloth. Gently pour the milk into the cheesecloth then gather the cheesecloth up around the curds and tie it into a bundle. A rubber band is also a good way to hold the cheesecloth together at the top.
4. Hang the bundle over a pot or jar so the liquid can drip out. (You can do this by attaching the bundle to a wooden spoon or a ladle and setting the spoon over the top of the pot or jar.)
5. Let the cheese drain for at least 1 1/2 hours. Scrape the cheese into a bowl. Stir in salt and/or other ingredients to taste.
6. Use your hands to pat and shape the cheese into a small wheel or log. You can also use a cookie cutter as a mold to shape the cheese.
7. The flavor and texture of the cheese usually improves a little bit if you refrigerate it for a few hours before serving
The goat cheese should stay fresh in the refrigerator for 1 week.