April 7, 2010

La Fête du Fromage - Homemade Chèvre

Technically this is a French cheese. The milk came from French goats and it was made in France.
It is my French cheese. Homemade chèvre frais.

For the last year I've planned to make some of my own cheese and just never got around to doing it. Procrastination sometimes gets the best of me.
So when I was offered a couple of liters of extremely fresh goat's milk the other day, I grabbed some cheesecloth and a lemon and in just under two hours, voilà, I had cheese!
Creamy, snowy white, mild, delicious goat's cheese
. Which I then dressed up with a bit of minced garlic and a sprinkling of herbes de Provence.

The process is so simple it's silly. And it makes me wonder what the heck took me so long to try it.
  • 1 liter (1 quart) goat's milk - pasteurized or unpasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized*
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 clove minced garlic
  • a pinch or two of sea salt
  • optional - minced herbs such as thyme, herbes de Provence, parsley, rosemary
1. Heat the milk over medium heat until it reaches 180 degrees F on a candy or meat thermometer. I used a meat thermometer because I couldn't find my candy thermometer in the deep, dark recesses of my kitchen utensil drawer.
2. Take the milk off the heat and stir in the lemon juice. The milk should begin to curdle immediately. You'll see the curds separate from the whey.
3. Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth - I used about 4 layers. You want to make sure that the curds don't get through.
4. Place over a large bowl to catch the whey and ladle the curds and whey into the cheesecloth lined colander.
5. Gather the corners of the cheesecloth together and hang from a wooden spoon over a deep bowl for about 60-90 minutes. The consistency will be similar to that of dry cottage cheese.

6. Transfer the curds to a bowl and fold in the salt and optional herbs. If it seems a bit dry you can stir in some whey to create a creamier texture, a teaspoon at a time.
7. Eat.

Your homemade chèvre can be stored in the fridge for 1 week in an airtight container. The texture becomes drier after a day or two, so I recommend eating it pretty quickly. Which you will want to do anyway.

*I used unpasteurized milk and heated it to 185 degrees F

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Deeba PAB said...

I love this, the very idea is making me hungry. Soft cheese making is a passion with me, but unfortunately we don't get goat milk here. Love the pictures...YUM!!

Anonymous said...

The recipe works great and was much easier to make than I thought it would be. You can find goat's milk at Trader Joe's. I guess there must be only 1 recipe for making goat cheese because the identical recipe was posted by Kiss My Spatula at the beginning of January.

Kenneth said...

Well that's awesome! I was just wondering if you knew what could be done after this step to make it more like a log of chevre that you'd normally buy to slice, rather than a more ricotta-like texture?

Jilly said...

Wonderul! I buy fresh chevre in the market in Menton and it's gooooooood, but I bet this is even better. Bravo!

Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Will be making this as we start milking the girls in earnest, probably this weekend :D

croquecamille said...

Yum!!! I used to make cheese often back in the States, and now I'm trying to think of a way to finagle such a thing in a much smaller fridge. :)

Loulou said...

Thank you! Glad to hear from another passionate cheese lover.

Thanks for the Trader Joe's tip - I'm sure I'll get that question.
There are many, many recipes for homemade chèvre out there. I got the inspiration from several sources. Here: http://ceramiccanvas.com/2009/12/homemade-herbed-goats-cheese/
and here:

I would imagine it would simply require putting it in a mold and aging the cheese a a cool temperature for a while.

You should try it. It's really delicious!

I was jealous of your goats before, but now I am really jealous that you'll have all that fresh goat's milk to make cheese with! Please let me know how it goes!

Can't believe it took me so long to try this. I love the flavor and texture!
Our fridge is pretty tiny too so I won't be making big batches. What did you do with the whey?

sunita said...

I wish I can find unpasteurized milk, becasue I know it doen't work with pasteurized milk.....drooling

Sue said...

This sounds wonderful - I am definitely going to give it a go. We have a neighbour who keeps goats so I am off to experiment. Thank you!

Loulou said...

I've read many recipes that say it works with pasteurized milk as well. It doesn't?

Enjoy! We just finished the batch so I'm anxious to get my hands on some more milk. Must try to make a deal with the local goat farmers.

Sharon said...

LouLou, I was just recently introduced to your blog through a link from David Lebovitz's. I have spent a very pleasant morning reading your past posts about cheese (delish!) and life in France. Now if I could only find goat's milk that was not ultra-pasteurized! Thanks you so much!

Amber said...

Hello LouLou,
I can't wait to try this. I like goats milk much more than cows milk but have never made my own cheese...shame on me! Thanks for the little push - inspiration.

Andi said...

Looks like heaven!

Loulou said...

Thank you for taking the time to comment! I hope you find the milk you need so you can try making this recipe.

Happy to hear that I've inspired you. Please let me know how it comes out!

It is. :)

LC said...

I have used the same process with goat milk (or cow's) from the grocery store here. One tip: instead of cheesecloth, I bought 1/4 yard of unbleached muslin at the store, washed it clean, cut it into squares and sewed the edges to keep them from fraying, then use them in the colander. They let all the whey out but keep every speck of cheese in, and they're easy to clean and reuse! BTW, your pics are SO beautiful.

Loulou said...

Merci! That is a great idea. I need to find a decent fabric store here and buy a bunch of muslin and étamine for my next forays into cheesemaking.
Glad you like the photos. Good luck with your move! :)

Mme Paulita said...

oh what a project I would like to try

The Chef In My Head said...

I have grand ideas about cheese making. As usual I try the big projects first and sometimes get discouraged. This looks like a great way to start. Thank you for the inspiration! ~LeslieMichele

Loulou said...

Mme Paulita
You should! You'll love it.

It couldn't have been easier. I think it is the perfect place to start.

It's Not You, it's Brie said...

Way to simplify a chevre recipe! I've seen so many around that are daunting in their length and instruction. Looks fantastic.

Chez Loulou said...

Mlle Brie
It really is a fantastic recipe. One try and we were hooked.

Kim Gantz said...

Do you have to heat it to such a high temperature? I'd like to keep my cheese raw. Would it work to only heat to about 115 degrees?

Chez Loulou said...

I've not tried it by heating at such a low temperature, so can't help out I'm afraid.

Sharon T said...

Hi LuLu,
I finally got access to goat's milk that was not ultra pasteurized and am currently making this. So simple and it looks delicious already! Thank you :)

Chez Loulou said...

You're welcome. Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

squirrelbread said...

Just bought a half gallon of fresh goat milk yesterday! We've had this on our radar for a while after successfully making mozzarella and paneer. It's always good to read as many different perspectives on the process before heading in. Your comments will be very helpful!



Chez Loulou said...

Please let me know how it turns out! I have had a difficult time finding goat's milk lately so haven't made any in a while.