I have long been a fan of fresh goat cheese. I will gladly use the logs that are found at Trader Joe’s; they can’t be beat on pizzas, or for a nice addition to a cheese plate, rolled in fresh herbs or dried herbes de Provence. But if you have ever tasted fresh goat cheese, you will be thoroughly spoiled. R and I eat plenty of it in Beaune from the gentle young man who sells it at the Saturday market. He is bearded and soft-spoken; I can see him lovingly tending his goats. I love to take friends to see him at the market, and select the cheeses which our guests prefer: very mild, very fresh, aged or rolled in ash. Chevre at the local market is not expensive, and I like to buy five or six kinds that we will eat over 2-3 days; tasting them side-by-side will help you decide which you prefer. As with wine and many other foods of France, it’s a matter of taste. If you ever get a chance to sample a lineup of farm-fresh chevre cheeses, please do so.
Last weekend we had a small serving of fresh goat cheese before dinner, with a Myers’ lemon gelée studded with blueberries, and on the lawn were several goats, not to mention a small baby goat which was hand-carried and bottle fed all day. I’m not a huge fan of commercial cow milk production, and I left the party with the idea to give home-made goat cheese a try. Though some say goats can be moody, many people tell me they are very attached to their people, when socialized, and make wonderful pets. How about this sweet face?~
My research on Monday took me about five minutes. I decided right away to use raw milk if I could find it, which I did, at Mothers Market, $7 for one quart. You can also use pasteurized goat milk. I think that pasteurized milk is heated longer than this cheese recipe, so I opted for the raw milk base as I favor the least-processed product:
Rennet is often used in making cheese, and it’s origin and types are something I won’t go into here. Many recipes for goat cheese call for vinegar or lemon juice. I used two small lemons from our tree~
To make the cheese, put one quart of milk in a non-reactive container; and heat it to 180-185 degrees, then remove from heat.
Add 1/3 cup of lemon juice.
The milk will start to curdle a little. Cover it and set it aside for 8 hours or more.
The next morning, 8-12 hours later, strain the mixture. You can use cheese-cloth, but I used a thin French linen towel. If you use a towel, make sure it is clean and not dried with any fabric softener.
At this step you are separating the curds (solid) from the whey (liquid). Wrap the end of the towel up and turn the spoon so that the whey can drain. At first this is a steady stream, but it will drip for hours over the bowl after that. Be patient!
Hours later, you will have this, strained curds about the size of a ball of fresh mozzarella~
Salt it a little with a high quality salt; I used a little fleur de sel; you can also add honey or other flavors at this point.
The cheese is very light and the texture is not like the Trader Joe’s version at all. I rolled a ball of it by hand and then rolled it again in fresh herbs from the garden, served on a slice of toast drizzled in olive oil from Akram of Thyme of Essence.
Next time I will smash this down just a little. My parents ate all of this tonight.
I made a second plate of toast, tomato, peach and herbs. The tomato and peach was drizzled with Arakm’s Fig Balsamic before I added the cheese; the balsamic will stain the cheese, so I add the cheese last.
And in its most simple form, the first cherry tomato from my garden, a sliver of peach and a taste of fresh chevre are magnificent on a sprig of garden basil with a sprinkle of fleur de sel and pepper. My family would pop these in their mouth just like this~
Please don’t think of fresh goat cheese just for appetizers. While I think it’s better in a more raw state than cooked, I used fresh lavender-honey goat cheese from Soledad at my dinner bash last summer, in a goast-cheese cheesecake, and it was the first dessert to be gone. Tonight I made a plate for my parents with two scoops of the strawberry-cheesecake ice cream we have on hand, two pieces of nut fudge, and a ball of goat cheese. Drizzled with chocolate and topped with a fresh violet. Violets in classic times were the way to reveal your love. They are also edible, and my sister and her girls will eat every flower I put on the plates, for garnish or not. Sis also loves violets, and on Sunday I gave her this $3 plant from Trader Joes. The two blossoms I saved were put to good use this evening~
Dress it up more with a few pistachios.
This is all just what I have on hand, Imagine what we can do with a little taste of tangy-lemony goat cheese if we try!!
This will figure heavily in my summer menus. Ounce per ounce, I think making this at home is better than buying at a farmers market; and my parents ate all of the samples I prepared tonight and are demanding more soon. It’s a great food to have on hand for summer. It will last about a week fresh, but you will have no problem consuming it by then.
Oh Andrea how can you tempt me like this!? I am wondering if you should open a Bed and Breakfast Inn!ReplyDelete
I think Isabella and I will make some goat cheese soon!
Giveaway by The Enchanted Home!
Je suis très heureuse que nos petits producteurs français de fromages de chèvre vous séduisent.
Je suis une très gourmande de fromage de chèvre. Ma dernière fille, Daphné, également ! Lorsqu'elle était petite elle partait à l'école avec des rigottes de fromage de chèvre dans son cartable!
Elle adore lorsque je lui fais une tarte de fromage de chèvre frais au melon.
Merci pour cette très jolie publication gourmande.
Gros bisous à vous.
Oh lord, if there is any cheese I cannot stand it is goat cheese. In fact, I cannot stand goat anything for that matter; I am always aware of the smell. Such talent,and kudos for you for going to all the bother; it is fun to do craftsy things, and goat products are popular!ReplyDelete
the trick is to get the milk from a dairy that keeps the boys away from the girls, otherwise the milk and so the cheese will taste and smell very "goaty". I agree with you on that and don't like a cheese that smells goaty. The ones I like to not smell!Delete
I just bookmarked these because goat cheese is in my top 5 favorite foods of all time. I can eat it every day. The result was beautiful. How was it in flavor? Pretty close to the one you buy?ReplyDelete
Nothing like store-bought. Very light in texture, smooth and not pasty or gummy like store bought. Flavor in this batch came from the lemon juice: a hint of lemon, which paired well with the peach, tomato and chocolate. You can also make it with rennet or vinegar, but I prefer the lemon. If you allowed this to age it would dry out more, but I prefer the flavor and texture of fresh goat cheese. I hope you will try it!Delete
Do you have a recipe for the goat cheese-cheesecake?ReplyDelete
I purchased the Lenotre cookbook based n your suggestion and the lavender pound cake was divine!
Don't stop at the lavender pound cake, there is soo much great stuff in that book! I will make the cheesecake before the end of the week and post it here. Thanks for stopping by~Delete
That piece of toast looked amazing! Brioche ?ReplyDelete
It's a Bristol Farms Country Italian loaf, since they were sold out of the Poilane; it's very soft inside with a crusty crust~Delete
OMG, I have just D.I.E.ed over this post. We love chevre! Your meticulous directions are so easy to follow I know we will try this soon. Actually, I adore white goat cheeses from any country, and I've never noticed an unpleasant odor in any of them. Baby goat is precious too. And, your previous post was read all the way through, it looked like a splendid night. I will be back often!!!ReplyDelete
Andrea, you are a fine culinary artist here. My mother would make goat cheese when we were young kids, we forget that there is fine foods that we can create rather then go to the market and reach for it off the shelf.ReplyDelete
I agree with Karena, you should open a B&B or invite me over and pretend to be the inn keeper :)
The presentation of your menu shows your fine taste in dinning, I would rate your inn a 5 star experience.
Thank you my friend for taking the time to visit me, You my dear need to send off photos of your home to fifi, its a sure win of adding your beauty to her publications.
see you soon and all the beauty you create.
Hi Andrea, Everything look delicious! I just made fresh mozzarella for the first time and next I will try the goat cheese. Have a great weekend.ReplyDelete