Attempting to Make Some Fresh Chévre with Urban Cheesecraft

This post is going to start out with a photo of our most successful roasted chicken to date with Thomas Keller’s simple recipe. I guess third or fourth time’s a charm! All you need is salt and pepper and let it go. Who knew?

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BAM! And it was just as delicious as it looks. We made the leftovers into soup and I froze the bones so I can make some stock at a later date.

Anyways, Dr. Awesome and I were in Whole Foods and passed by the cheese section that had something that I hadn’t seen before: Cheese making kits by Urban Cheesecraft. They had a goat cheese (Chévre) one and I was smitten. The kit itself costed $40, which is a little much, but the idea is to keep making cheese with the molds, etc. that you get from it.

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Our pet dragon made a special cameo. He couldn’t help himself.

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So, all I needed to get was goat milk. Easy right? NO! I went back to Whole Foods and they only had Kefir, which is cultured and wasn’t going to do me any good. We ordered some from Fresh Direct (you can order Berkshire Blue from them too!) that was from NY. Also, make sure you sanitize everything before you use it, even the cheese cloth. The most important thing about cheese making is sanitation. (I learned that from my Pops.)

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I followed the directions for creamy goat cheese instead of the firm. Now, I’m going to admit, I had a bit of a problem following directions. Instead of seeing that I was supposed to dissolve one teaspoon of citric acid, I tried dissolving the whole packet, making me go into a frenzy and run around (luckily not much) to find more (which I found at an awesome Indian grocery up the avenue). Crisis averted!

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So first I added the two quarts of goat’s milk to my non-reactive pot and then added my dissolved citric acid solution plus cheese salt (which I think is just regular salt). I stirred it around and brought it up to 180-185 degrees F, making sure it didn’t boil.

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Once it go up to temperature, I let it sit off the heat for 10-15 minutes.

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Then I poured it into my cheese cloth that was on top of a colander to let the whey strain out.

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You can see the small curds in this photo I took with the flash.

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Whey is almost drained.

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Once the whey drained most of the way, I spooned the cheese into the molds and let them drain some more. About 30 minutes.

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Voila! The finished product in a little gladware container, ready to be given as a gift. It looks a littler watery, but it firmed up a bit in the fridge.

Ok, so there was my process. Thinking back on what I could’ve done differently:

1) Calibrate the thermometer. I think it might’ve been off. I think I’m going to invest in a digital one or a hardcore candy thermometer.
2) Let the whey drain out of the colander a bit more. I think the cheese was a little too watery, even after I left it to drain out in the molds.
3) Add more salt. One teaspoon was definitely not enough for me, though it might differ from milk to milk.
4) Try another brand of goat milk. This brand wasn’t particularly tangy. What I look for in goat cheese is that great tanginess. I didn’t know how this one tasted, but now that I do, I’m going to look for one that’s a bit stronger in flavor. The cheese came out really mild.

Those are my observations for now. I think there’s always trial and error in the beginning, but now that I know the basics, I can tweak how I see fit. If anyone wants the instructions I have, I’m more than happy to send you a copy. If anyone has any favorite places to get a great goat’s milk, let me know.

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~ by Rori on December 20, 2011.

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