Making goat cheese?

Has anyone out there had experience making goat cheese? The new supermarket near me just opened and is carrying goat milk. I looked up a few recipes and it seems easy. 1st attempt = mega fail. Any hints? I heated to 180 degrees then added lemon juice, stirred but it did not separate into curds & whey. Heated a bit longer, still nothing. Going try again later. Thanks!

Helen's All Night Diner


Tony S. July 7, 2011
A little late to the party here but you can always use Rennet tablets. Simply bring a gallon of milk up to 105 - 110 degrees. Crush the Rennet tablet, dissolve in a few tablespoons of the warm milk, then stir into the entire pot of milk. Let it sit undisturbed for 15 minutes then stir and strain through cheesecloth.
SKK July 6, 2011
Cheers to HelenAND. And thanks for the link mzmecz, I did not see it until you pointed it out.
Helen's A. July 6, 2011
Ooooh, love the Fankhauser link! Thanks!
mzmecz July 6, 2011
Yea! Better living through food chemistry! Congrats!

PS: Did you see the link in the article Merrill cited ( It was way down in the discussion section. Now there's a real cheese making education! I bookmarked that one.
Merrill S. July 5, 2011
Helen's A. July 5, 2011
Success! Thank you to everyone for the great advice. Here is the result. My husband has proclaimed it "perfect". He is, of course, biased, but it does taste better than some chèvre I've bought at the store! Now I have a new impressive starter for my next dinner party...
mzmecz July 5, 2011
Buttermilk itself is somewhat acid and slightly denatured (that's one reason it's kind of thick), that's why it helps form the curds.

The Indian woman who taught me to make paneer takes the milk to a full boil, holds it there 1-2 min., turns the heat to simmer, adds the vinegar, holds the simmer 1-2 min. and then lets it sit off heat 5 or so min. The whey turns to a nearly clear yellow - that's how you know you got the milk solids to precipitate well. She collects the curds in a clean dish towel, wrings them dry as she can then rinses them in water to remove some of the acid. I like the tang so often do not bother with that step.
Droplet July 5, 2011
From what I have read it sometimes helps to actually let it sit off the heat for a while after adding the acid to allow the curds to form. I have noticed also that when I add cold buttermilk (from the fridge) to the warm milk, the curdling seems to happen much quicker. Stirring too much would also give tiny curds and cloudy whey.
SKK July 5, 2011
@AJ - love the quote, it gave me the giggles. @mzmecz - thanks for the education!
AntoniaJames July 5, 2011
Great, informative answers, msmecz. When I had problems with ricotta not forming curds one time, I just cranked up the heat, got it rolling, then I added some buttermilk and turned down the heat. Then I patiently waited for the curds to form. I have no idea why, as I was just trying everything, hoping something would work. And it did, beautifully. (Sailors have an old saying which immediately comes to mind: "When you don't know what knot to tie, tie a lot of them.") I really admire that you went and actually tested this, to help provide an answer. Thank you! ;o)
Helen's A. July 5, 2011
Thanks Mzmecz! I did bring the first batch to a simmer after adding lemon juice. For the 2nd batch, I brought it to a simmer first, then added the buttermilk & cider vinegar. Drained through coffee filter & let sit in the fridge overnight after adding salt, pepper & herbs d provance. Looks like goat cheese now! Haven't tasted it yet... Thank you for the improved directions. I will try this next time!
mzmecz July 5, 2011
I tried replicating your process with ordinary cow's milk and got the same result. At 180 degrees I added my 1/8 c. vinegar to my 1/2 gal. milk -my usual paneer ratios. Barely a skim of tiny frail curds formed. They increased slightly the longer I held the milk at 180. After not seeing much progress after 8 min., I brought the temp up to 190 and saw the curds double. This was still a very poor yield, maybe 1/3 of what I would usually get. Again I waited to see if they would grow but again it was slow and maybe 1/2 what I expected. I finally cranked the heat up to a simmer (just over 200) and the curds began to get fat and round but the whey still did not clear as well as I expected. I brought it up to full boil and got close to my expectations for curd volume and whey color but not quite.

Back to the 180 temp. - milk is a complex blend of proteins. There may be some you DON'T want in your curd and limiting the temperature may be a way of avoiding the precipitation of these into your curd. I can only guess that this might be the reason for the "magic temp." but if you get NO curds ...

Here's a compromise - bring the milk to a boil for 1-2 min. (this will begin to unfold the protein structure and help "set up" the proteins to more easily fall out of solution when the acid is added). Cool the milk back down to the 180 temp. and then add the acid. Hold the milk at 180 and see if the curd formation improves.

If it doesn't work bring it back to the boil and see what you get - what do you have to lose?
SKK July 4, 2011
HelensAND - love your perseverance! Keep us updated.
Helen's A. July 4, 2011
On my 2nd batch now. Using different recipe that includes buttermilk. The curd is still not coming together, but is separating. Draining through coffee filters since the particles are so fine. Maybe this will work...
mzmecz July 4, 2011
Paneer, ricotta, etc. all denatured protein from a milk source. I don't understand the "magical temperature" of 180 degrees. Just boil it! (1-2 min) Heat and acid (the 1/4c lemon juice should be enough) should do the trick. It always works for my paneer.
Helen's A. July 4, 2011
Thanks SKK. That may explain it. The directions from the link that Merrill posted have a photo of the exact same kind of milk I used, so I assumed it would work...sigh... it was just not meant to be.
SKK July 4, 2011
Was your goat's milk ultra-paturized (UP)? If so it won't make cheese.
Helen's A. July 4, 2011
Thanks Merrill! Yes, this is the recipe I followed. Everything poured through the 4 layers of cheesecloth... very sad. I put everything back in the pan & added more lemon juice to no avail.
Merrill S. July 4, 2011
Are you sure nothing happened? The curds may not be as obvious as, say, cottage cheese curds. According to this article, you can try adding a few more drops of lemon juice if nothing happens at first: I would also double-check to make sure your thermometer is accurate!
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