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.
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, http://bellechevre.com. 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.