Sometimes our culturing experiments fail, no matter how many successes we’ve tucked under our belt. When I started the viili yogurt culture it looked fine at first, but it was not churning out good yogurt. I think it had to do with the over 90 degree day we had the day I cultured that milk for the yogurt starter. So I fed it to the chickens and am waiting for cooler days to try again. I wanted to share that because fermentation in general is so individual that you simply cannot expect 100% in-the-box results all of the time. I suppose if you wanted results such as those, you’d be working with more pasteurization and less wild fermentation. Having shared that failure, I wanted to also share that I was ready to move on and up from there and try something different. We recently acquired a couple of milk goats for our little homestead and between that milk and some that we have gotten from generous neighbors, I have had a bit of extra milk to play around with. A simple cheese from a simple goat cheese kit was exactly what I needed to get started.
First of all, I love this goat cheese kit for its simplicity. The culture, rennet, butter muslin, thermometer, recipes, and more were all right there waiting to be unpacked and used. For someone who has always been hesitant about cheesemaking, this was a real confidence booster. Secondly, the recipes are for raw milk cheese and we love that. If you can obtain fresh milk and you want to maintain the enzymes from that milk, these types of recipes are exactly what you need. Finally, the recipes are so simple I almost can’t believe it. This isn’t cheddar or even feta – though that recipe is in the book that comes with the kit and when I’ve got some spare time (snort) I’d like to give it a go. What it is is a simple cheese to slice and serve, crumble on a salad, or serve as “cottage cheese” at breakfast after a good crumbling.
The process is started simply by gently warming the milk to 75 degrees. After that we culture the milk by sprinkling over the mesophilic culture and incorporate the rennet. Put a lid on the pot and leave it undisturbed overnight. The next morning you gather up the cheese into the butter muslin and let it drip for the rest of the day. I think it took me longer to hand wash the butter muslin than the hands-on time it took me to make this cheese. Can you tell I’m still shocked?
What I didn’t realize, however, was that I was not making what I thought of as chevre – one of our favorite store-bought cheeses. The only difference I can see is the addition of rennet, so I’ll be trying this creamy soft cheese next for my chevre-loving family. I’m so grateful to have dipped my toes into cheesemaking with the help of this Goat Cheese Kit. It really took the fear out of the process and has me ready to try more.
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