DIY Food

Homemade Goat Cheese

December 14, 2012

Every week, a DIY expert spares us a trip to the grocery store and shows us how to make small batches of great foods at home.

In today's Small Batch, Tasia Malakasis of Belle Chevre shares her recipe for homemade goat cheese.

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Cheese. It's one of those ingredients we imagine as 'nuclear': as a base ingredient that comes from who-knows-where for use in other recipes. However, much like pasta, cheese is a food that you can make at home, one that you should make at home. Fresh chevre is one of the easiest cheeses to craft in your kitchen. It's mostly a matter of heating goat's milk, allowing the curds and whey to separate, and draining for a few hours. The best batches are always those you hang and forget about for half the day; with time, the cheese gets denser, more flavorful, and more like the award-winning chevre we make at our creamery.

It may seem contradictory for a cheesemaker to encourage her friends to make their own cheese. But as you'll find, it is both fun and satisfying. And incredibly simple. You can make it in the time it takes you to brew a pot of coffee.  I promise that after you try your hand at it, you'll wonder what you were waiting for. Not only is goat cheese the healthiest (we like to say sexiest, skinniest, and smartest) cheese, lower in fat and calories and higher in vitamins than cow's milk cheeses, it's also the most versatile. In my new cookbook, Tasia's Table, I have recipes for everything from goat cheese salad dressing to chevre cheesecake -- it's like the little black dress of cheeses.

My recipe includes citric acid, which is what we include with Belle Chevre's new DIY Make Your Own Goat Cheese Boxes. However, if you are without this ingredient at home, you can also use the juice of one lemon. So what are you waiting for? Get to cheese-making, and have fun!

Homemade Goat Cheese

Makes one log

1 gallon goat milk
2 rounded teaspoons of citric acid
2 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
Cheesecloth or cotton kitchen towel

Mix the citric acid with 1/2 cup of water. In a heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pot, combine the goat milk and citric acid to 185 degrees over medium heat, stirring continuously. Once it reaches this temperature, turn off the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes. 

Lay out your cheese towel in a bowl. Pour in the milk mixture. The curds simply resemble curdled milk at this point. Tie the ends of the towel together so it becomes a bag. Hang it on a wooden spoon and let the bag hang free. The whey should strain for at least two hours,  but for best results you can leave closer to 6 hours. This makes forming a log easier and results in a denser cheese. Before taking the cheese out of the cloth, squeeze the cloth to extract more liquid from the cheese. 

Transfer the cheese from the cloth to a bowl and season it with cheese salt to taste. You can garnish with fresh herbs, peppercorns, or form a traditional log.  To shape into a log, simply place on a clean smooth surface and begin to roll out gently, like a Play-Doh snake.


See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Tasia Malakasis
    Tasia Malakasis
  • T. E. Robinson
    T. E. Robinson
  • Kate's Kitchen
    Kate's Kitchen
  • Claire Elizabeth Tran
    Claire Elizabeth Tran
  • duckfat
I started out in the software marketing world, but left my old life behind in 2005 to become a cheesemaker. Belle Chevre, my artisan cheese company based in Elkmont, Alabama, was founded in 1989, and continues to be the country's most playful (and delicious) artisan goat cheese creamery. We sell our goat cheeses, which range from classic to daring (honey-laced fromage blanc) in stores nationwide as well as on our website, I love my job, but when I do stop working I love to entertain, take walks, and play with my three babies: two gigantic dogs and a nine-year-old son.


Tasia M. February 20, 2013
T.E. thanks for your comments! If you'd like your cheese less creamy, just let it hang for a longer period of time. Sometimes I leave mine hanging at home for the whole day!
T. E. February 17, 2013
I just made this recipe and halved it. My cheese came out very creamy. I just rolled it and put it in the refrigerator. What I did taste was mildly tangy and will take herbs and spices well. My milk was Ultra Pasturized. I read the posts after I made my cheese so I wonder if it would have a different consistency had the milk simply been pasturized. I'll check it out tomorrow.

Also, Whole Foods sells the citric acid in the vitamin section. I went to Whole Foods and Sprouts and was not able to find a gallon of goats milk only quarts and 1/2 gallons. I used 1 quart of whole milk and 1 quart of low fat.
Kate's K. January 13, 2013
I have made goat cheese using the kit a couple of times. It was not as tangy as I like it but rather a mild creamy cheese that takes well to adding some extra ingredients such as smoked sundried tomatoes and more of the salt (it's just kosher salt)than called for. After emailing the company they suggested I try to find Pasturized goat's milk vs. the Ultra-pasturized that is found in grocery stores. I have yet to find some of the Pasturized but plan to keep looking.
Claire E. January 2, 2013
Sorry for below comment, it showed up twice for some reason, and not sure how to delete, my apologies!
Claire E. January 2, 2013
Having the same issue, did you ever have any luck?
duckfat January 2, 2013
Not yet!
duckfat January 1, 2013
Any directions on aging the chevre?
Esther H. December 22, 2012
copied this off the web:
almost all commercial dairies now pasteurize at temps so high that the proteins are completely denatured and will not coagulate into anything except rice sized grains. Smiths pasteurizes at 170 deg. Dairyman's at 180. Useless for cheesemaking. In Ohio Hartzler Farms Dairy in Wooster pasteurizes at 140 deg for 30 mins. Makes beautiful cheese. I googled Ohio Dairies and just started making phone calls. Or Contact your local chapter of Weston A Price Foundation and find a local source of raw milk, if it is legal in your state.
emily6532n December 22, 2012
Help! I followed the directions exactly (using a lemon instead of powdered citric acid) and my milk didn't curdle at all after the 15 minute wait. Is there a way to salvage my hot, non curdled milk and still make the cheese? What did I do wrong?
Claire E. January 2, 2013
Having the same issue, did you ever have any luck?
zora December 17, 2012
I'm puzzled by this recipe for queso fresco made with goat milk, which you call chevre. I make chevre using a bacterial culture/rennet powder that I buy from New England Cheesemaking Co. The milk is warmed and cultured for 12 hours like yogurt, after that the curd is drained for six hours, then mixed with salt. I believe that this method makes the traditional, tangy cheese that most people are familiar with when they think of chevre. I often mix mine with fennel pollen and lavender powder.
Esther H. December 17, 2012
FYI another common name for citric acid is Sour Salt, it sells during canning season and for some reason Lieber's produces it during Passover (I buy mine after the holiday when it is on clearance- just in time for summer canning).

Can I use my plastic yogurt cheese strainer instead of a towel? Would there be a significant difference?
photolady December 16, 2012
My store sells goat milk by small cans.How do I find someone that would sell a gallon? And what is cheese salt????
Kate's K. January 13, 2013
Kosher salt is what they call cheese salt.
Jenn@Slim-Shoppin December 16, 2012
Love it! I am going to make this for my sister and Mom for Christmas. Can you buy goats milk at Whole Foods? Where do you buy it?
douglasalan December 16, 2012
citrus acid u mean like lemon juice? or no?
HuricaneLane December 16, 2012
I believe they mean citric acid in powder form.
Das_Muller December 25, 2012
"My recipe includes citric acid, which is what we include with Belle Chevre's new DIY Make Your Own Goat Cheese Boxes. However, if you are without this ingredient at home, you can also use the juice of one lemon."