This French cheese, whose name means “Little Goat,” is shaped into small discs and ripened for only 10 to 15 days, making the cheese mild and rather soft. At fifteen days, your Cabecou may have developed a slight blue mold over its surface, which will lend a sharper flavor to an otherwise mild cheese. This cheese can be marinated in the style of mozzarella, if desired. It has an 18-hour setting period, so make sure you will be around the house for a while before attempting to make it. You will also need crottin molds to shape this cheese correctly.
MARINATING OIL INGREDIENTS(OPTIONAL):
- 2 tsp. sea or cheese salt
- 2 tsp. whole peppercorns
- 1 tsp. crushed basil
- 1 tsp. crushed oregano
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 quart olive oil
- 2 quarts goat milk
- 1/4 tsp. mesophilic starter culture
- 1 drop rennet diluted in 1/8 cup cool, unchlorinated water
- Heat the goat milk to 75°F using a water bath method, raising the temperature very slowly and stirring the milk while it is heating to distribute the warmth evenly.
- When the milk has reached the correct temperature, remove it from the water bath. Sprinkle the starter over the milk and allow it to rehydrate for 5 minutes before stirring it in thoroughly with a cheese spoon.
- Add the diluted rennet and incorporate using long, steady up-and-down motions for 1 full minute.
- Cover the milk and maintain it at 72°F for 18 hours, or until it gives a clean break. Try to not touch or move or disturb the milk at all during this period, just check for a clean break right at the very end.
- Place 4 crottin molds in a draining rack and scoop the curds evenly into them. Cover them with a scrupulously clean kitchen towel and drain at room temperature for about 2 days.
- The cheeses will have reduced in size to about 1 inch thick. Flip them out of the molds and salt them on both sides, handling them carefully. Let them air dry in the bottom of the refrigerator on ripening mats.
- Marinate in oil or age for 10-15 days, flipping cheeses and keeping an eye on them throughout.
- Mix together all marinating oil ingredients.
- Place air-dried cheeses in a large clean glass jar.
- Cover cheeses with the marinating oil. Screw the lids on tightly.
- Leave the cheeses to age at room temperature away from drafts and direct sunlight for one week. The olive oil preserves the cheese, making it shelf-stable for up to 3 weeks.