I have to admit. Cheese making can be very challenging. Some cheeses require presses, cheese caves, and all sorts of special attention. Fortunatly today’s cheese, Chevre does not.
Chevre is a soft French Goat milk cheese that is an acid-set curd rather than a rennet set curd. What this means is that we want our mesophilic culture to do most of the heavy lifting. We will be adding a few drops of rennet but that’s only to assist the culture along the way. With lactic set curds we are trying to acidify (or ferment) our milk very slowly. The slower the better. The longer it takes for our milk to coagulate the more cohesive our curds will be. This means that they will retain more moisture during the draining process. Our goal ripening/coagulation time should be 18-24 hours. This can be controlled by how much culture you add in the beginning and how warm your room is. If you notice that you milk if fermenting faster than it should, you can either reduce the amount of culture that you add (for the next time) or place the milk in a cooler environment. Our ideal temperature for ripening our milk is 68f-72f.
Is there an easier way?
In this recipe I use a mesophilic culture and a little bit of rennet to make this cheese, but there is an easier way that is just about fool proof!! The New England Cheese Making Supply Company has a product called ““Goat Cheese Home Kit”. This kit has everything you need to start making awesome goat cheese at home. The kit has premeasured packs of starter culture (mixed with powdered rennet) so there’s no mixing or measuring involved. Just add the pack of culture to your milk and voila!! You’ll have goat cheese 1 day later. If you aren’t interested in a kit and you just want premeasured packs of starter culture check out their Chevre Starter Culture. Either way, these are great options If you are just dipping your toes into the vast ocean of cheese making!! Also, molding this cheese is optional. Once you are finished salting you can simply place your cheese in a storage container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks. Voila!! 2 little shortcuts to make the chevre cheesemaking process even easier!!
Lets cover a few basics
There are a few things that we need to understand about cheese making. First and foremost cleanliness needs to be a top priority. Sanitize all of your equipment by either boiling it in water for 20 minutes or spraying with a liquid sanitizer, like Iodophor. Iodophor is great because you only need a little bit and it only takes 3 minutes for it to do it’s job. After 3 minutes your items are sanitized and you are ready to start making cheese.
As far as goat milk goes, try and get the best quality that you can get for cheese making. The better the goat milk the better your cheese will turn out. Stay away from ultra pasteurized milk or ultra high temp processed (UHT) milk. These are not the best options for cheese making.
Raw goat milk produces some amazing cheese so if you choose to use raw milk make sure it comes from a reputable place with healthy livestock. If you use raw goat milk to make this cheese you DO NOT need to add calcium chloride to the recipe. Calcium chloride is added to replenish the calcium in milk that’s been pasteurized. Also, if you use raw goat milk you can reduce the amount of culture by 25%.
Time and temperature play an important role in cheese making. Each cheese has it’s own parameters that must be strictly followed. For that reason I suggest getting a high quality kitchen thermometer that you can monitor the milk’s temperature. I use a hand help thermometer called MK4 Thermapen. It’s accurate, reliable, and keeps me on track when making cheese. You will see thermometers in pretty much every cheese making video recipe I post. It’s that important.
In addition to temperature, time is critically important when it comes to cheese making. Whether you are ripening a culture, setting, cooking the curds, or draining the cheese time is at the heart of each one of those steps. The timer I use is from ThermoWorks as well (Extra BIG and LOUD Timer) and It keeps me on task through the entire process.
Do I need a Ph Meter to Make this Cheese?
The easy answer is no. This cheese can be made easily without the use of a pH meter. With that being said, if you happen to have a pH meter, testing the pH will produce a consistently better cheese. I use a pH meter from Apera Instruments called the PH60S-Z to test the ph and it’s completely improved the way I make cheese. It literally takes all of the guess work out of cheese making. In this video we only use this ph meter once, but in many of the advanced cheeses you’ll see how critical it is to know the ph of your cheese at each stage. If you don’t have a ph meter for this cheese that’s ok. Just wait the amount of time recommended (18-24 hours) and as soon as you get a clean break in your curd mass you can begin to cut and ladle the curds into your cheese cloth. The only downside is that you won’t know the ph of your milk, so if it’s a little tangier than you like then next time add less starter culture or place the milk in a cooler area…
One last thing to mention before we make cheese
Use the recipe I have below as a guide line. If you don’t have the mesophilic culture I mentioned that’s ok. You can use any mesophilic culture you have (buttermilk, kefir, some other random culture, etc.). It’s important to know that unlike most recipes when it comes to cheese making, the amount of culture and mold that’s added doesn’t multiply like some of the other ingredients. Take good notes and if you have any questions be sure to let me know..
Here are a few things you might find useful when making this cheese
- Apera Instruments pH Meter (PH60S-Z)
- Iodophor Sanitizer
- DOT External Thermometer
- MK4 Thermapen
- Extra BIG and LOUD Kitchen Timer/Alarm
- Calcium Chloride
- Cheese Salt
- Mini Measuring Spoons
- Cheese Cloth
- Stainless Steel Cheese Skimmer
- Flora Danica Mesophilic Culture
- Chevre Starter Culture
- Cambro 12qt container w/Lid
- 8oz Cheese Mold (perfect for this recipe)
- 16oz cheese mold (for a larger version)
- Bamboo Cheese Mat
Enjoy the video and the recipe. If you have any questions feel free to ask away. If you make this at home I’d love to hear about how it came out!!
If you want to see the different things that we use in operation our be sure to check out our new Amazon Store.