Simple, Easy Goat cheese, once you get the milk!

I think our two little goats are going to be a wonderful addition to our ever-growing farm family.  I admit we did have a bumpy start but once we got everything worked out the rest is just falling right into place.

IMG_3585Are these not the cutest most sweetest goats you ever saw?

These little girls are so different from each other.  My little Nigerian Dwarf Dutchess, is very timid and shy.  She likes to watch from a safe distance, is very chatty and gives me a run for my money.  She does not like to be milked, at all so I haven’t been able to milk her completely, I get just enough to make her comfortable and that’s it.  Every single time I get my container filled with milk from her she gives it a kick and we spill the whole thing.  I swear she knows and she waits and then bam!  I try to prepare myself for this because I know its coming but she still gets me.  Dutchess also does not like to go to bed at night so I spend a fair amount of time chasing her around the barnyard, bribing her with animal crackers and when I finally do get her inside she always manages to run back out as soon as I get to the door.  I don’t know how she does it.  It is starting to become a routine with her.  I think she is playing with me.  Etie, my La Mancha on the other hand is so friendly.  The minute she hears you coming she runs to greet you and the whole time you are in the barnyard she is at your side.  She loves to be hugged and kissed and talked to.  She is also very watchful of Dutchess.  Even though she was in heat and rather fresh the first two days Etie is now a very caring companion.   She is also extremely easy to milk and doesn’t seem to mind it at all.  She just lets me do my thing while she happily eats her pellets and I get a quart of fresh milk with no spilling, every time.

IMG_3581All from my LaMancha Etie.  She is so good!

I am learning a lot about these two and about goats in general.  Things like, goats are peeing, pooping machines!  I thought chickens were bad but goats!!  Really, I have never seen anything poop as much as they do, everywhere!  I’m also learning that they are smart, they already know I carry bribes treats in my pockets and that’s the first thing they do when they see me, they try to get into my pockets. I’ve learned how to milk a goat, how to strain the milk and yesterday I learned how to make goat cheese.

IMG_3573Ta-Da!!  Does that not look delish?  And pat myself on the back because I harvested it and I made it all by myself!!

It was so easy, you don’t need any special equipment except for cheesecloth, it only takes about 2-3 hours and it is delicious!  Funny thing here folks is that I hate goat cheese!  I never learned to like that tang you get with goat cheese.  To me it tasted, well, goaty.  Not this stuff, this is just smooth and creamy and oh so good.  You have to try it.  You can make it with store-bought goats milk or even cows milk as long as it isn’t ultra pasteurized.  I’m sure it won’t taste quite as good as my little girls goats cheese, because my little girls are the best, but it will be close.

To make your own goat cheese you will need:

  • Large, heavy bottom pot.  Do not use aluminum as it will leach into the milk.
  • 1 quart of fresh goats milk
  • 1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice
  • salt to taste
  • cheese cloth for straining
  • colander
  • thermometer
  • herbs of choice

The first thing you should always do is make sure that everything is clean and sterile.  Then measure out 1 quart of good quality fresh goats milk.  Pour it into a large stainless steel, heavy bottom pot and slowly bring it up to a temperature of between 180-185 degrees.  You will see gentle bubbles forming on the top and the surface will look foamy.  Remove from heat, stir in the lemon juice and let sit for 10 minutes.  The milk will curdle and get thick on the surface.  Line a colander with a double layer of cheesecloth and gently pour the milk into it.  Gather up the corners of the cheesecloth and tie it into a bundle or use a rubber band to hold it together at the top.  Hang the bundle over a large bowl, pot or jar so the liquid can drip out.  You can do this by attaching a wooden spoon to the top of the bundle and setting it over the top.  Let the cheese drain for at least 1 1/2 hours.  Scrape the cheese into a bowl and stir in salt and other seasonings of your choice.  Use your hands to roll the cheese into a log or small wheel.  You can even use a cookie cutter as a mold or simply fill a pretty little bowl.  The flavor improves upon refrigeration and it will last up to 1 week in the fridge.  If you have chickens they will love the liquid that drained from the cheese so don’t throw it away!

IMG_3554Up to temp.  Now what?

IMG_3559Oh! You let it strain over your pot!!

IMG_3575Save that whey for your chickens!!

I made mine with fresh garlic and chives.  We ate most of it right away with crackers but I did manage to save some which I later added to our mashed potatoes with dinner.

IMG_3577Doesn’t that look scrumptious?  It was.

I will definitely be making this again and again and I am looking forward to trying other cheeses like feta, mozzarella, yogurt and hard cheeses.  But first… on to goat soap!!

Got Milk?? No? Then get a goat!!

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