Make Your Own Goat Cheese

How to Make Goat CheeseMy kids love cheese (who doesn’t). In fact, despite my regular efforts to put a wide variety of food on their plates each day, I’m pretty sure they would both exist entirely on cheese and fruit if given the opportunity. This is something I struggle with as a parent because on one hand, cheese is a good source of protein and calcium, but on the other, it is high in fat and sodium and I’d like to expose them to a wider variety of foods.

Lately I’ve been serving more flavorful cheeses in smaller quantities. Goat cheese, or Chèvre, for example has a pretty strong cheese flavor and so a little bit goes a long way. It spreads easily on crackers or toast and can be sprinkled on everything from frittatas to salads to roasted vegetables imparting the food with an awesome cheesy flavor.

Last year, my kids’ preschool held a silent auction fundraiser and one of the items up for bid was a gift certificate to a local wine and cheese making store along with a book called “Artisan Cheese Making At Home” by Mary Karlin. The bidding was competitive, but I won and off I went to Curds and Wine for my supplies (they have an online store as well). The store owner, Gisela Claassen, was very informative and helpful with selecting my supplies. Since my family is so hot on chevre, I wanted to start there and it turns out that this type of cheese is phenomenally easy and cheap to make. In fact, the toughest part was finding the goats milk because you can’t use ultra-pasteurized milk to make cheese and that is what most stores sell (read more about ultra-pasturized milk). However, on Gisela’s recommendation, I did find some low heat pasteurized goat’s milk (unfortunately not organic) at Trader Joes for $6.98 per half gallon.

Enough talking, it’s time to make some chèvre.  Here’s what you will need:

Materials: large non-reactive stockpot, thermometer, whisk, plastic colander, glass bowl

How to Make Goat CheeseIngredients: half gallon of goat’s milk, cheese salt, chèvre starter culture, butter muslin

How to Make Goat CheeseHeat the milk in a stockpot on low until it reaches 86 F stirring often.

Remove the milk from the burner and sprinkle 1/4 tsp of Chevre Starter Culture over the milk. Allow the starter culture to rehydrate for 2 minutes and then stir the culture into the milk using an up and down movement.

Cover the pot and leave to culture for approximately 12 hours at between 72 F – 78 F.  I keep mine in the microwave (not running of course).

How to Make Goat CheeseAfter 12 hours, the curds will have formed into a thick yogurt-like substance at the bottom of the pot with the yellowish whey on top.  If this is what yours looks like, you are ready to strain the cheese.

How to Make Goat CheeseLine a plastic colander with butter muslin and place it in a glass bowl.

How to Make Goat CheeseScoop chevre into the lined colander and mix 1/4 tsp cheese salt or fine sea salt into the curds. Gather the corners of the muslin and set out to drain for 6-8 hours.

How to Make Goat CheeseI mixed 2 Tablespoons of pesto into the cheese after about 3 hours and then continued to drain. You can either leave plain or mix herbs into the mixture.  Put cheese in a covered container in the refrigerator and it should keep for about 1 week.

Cost (prices reflect the cost of portion used for recipe):

Goats Milk – $6.98

Chèvre Culture – $0.60 

Butter Muslin – $1.19 

Total Cost:  $8.77 or $0.67 per ounce (my batch yielded 13 ounces).   At my local Sprouts market, I found a 4 oz package of chèvre for $2.99 or $0.75 per ounce.  Therefore, this doesn’t really qualify as a huge money saving activity, but it is a fun project and if you can find a source for lower cost goat milk it would be even cheaper.  There is also something to be said for making something yourself with fresh ingredients that just can’t compare to store bought.  See below for a discount code on cheese making supplies.

This post is linked on Mix It Up Monday, Homestead Barn Hop, Fat Tuesday, Traditional TuesdaysReal Food Wednesday, Whole Foods Wednesday, Wonderful Wednesday, Party Wave Wednesday, Healthy 2 Day, Tasty Traditions, Thank Your Body Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, The HomeAcre Hop, Old Fashioned Fridays, Little House in the Suburbs, Strut Your Stuff Saturday and Frugal Days Sustainable Ways.

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  • Jeannette Olton June 12, 2013, 5:41 am

    Chevre is my favorite cheese. I have just started milking my own goats and would love to win this so that I can make my own chevre!

  • Sarah R June 12, 2013, 2:24 pm

    This looks like fun- I’m dying to make my own cheese, but I just haven’t gotten up the courage yet!

  • Victoria June 12, 2013, 5:57 pm

    Your title literally means “Homemade Goat” I think you mean “Homemade Fromage de Chèvre” (homemade goat CHEESE)

    • Suzanne June 12, 2013, 5:59 pm

      Oops! Thanks for the tip. I didn’t know that. I guess I’m forgetting my high school french these days. Thanks!

  • H. Lew June 13, 2013, 1:46 am

    My favorites are sharp Cheddar, Gouda, Havarti and especially Goat cheeses.

  • Sue June 13, 2013, 2:05 pm

    Impressive!

  • Jennah S June 14, 2013, 7:00 am

    Great post.. Found you blog via Party Wave Wed. We have milk goats and I did just get some supplies recently to make Mozzarella and Ricotta. Now you are making me hungry for Chevre.

    • Suzanne June 14, 2013, 7:02 am

      Thanks for the comment. I tried to make mozzarella once and it didn’t turn out right…I think I need some practice. I’ve been wanting to try ricotta myself too. Good luck!

  • Rivka June 14, 2013, 10:35 pm

    I see a fun project in my future. I love goat cheese.

  • Robbin T. June 15, 2013, 3:48 am

    Cranberry-Cinnamon Goat cheese…lots of it!

    • Suzanne June 15, 2013, 9:39 am

      Oh, that does sound delicious. I’m going to try that.

  • Sherry Grant June 16, 2013, 4:28 am

    We have goats and cows and love all kinds of cheeses, and yogurt, and ice cream, etc…..

  • Nancy@livininthegreen June 17, 2013, 6:36 am

    Thanks for the recipe!! This sounds amazing!

  • Jill June 18, 2013, 3:19 am

    My favorite cheese is All of them! just wish I had the time to make them

  • Carol J. Alexander June 18, 2013, 9:22 pm

    I love, love feta. Tried to make it once. It was a flop. Thanks for sharing with us at the HomeAcre Hop. Hope you can stop by again this week: http://everythinghomewithcarol.com/the-self-sufficient-homeacre-hop-4/

  • Ashley P June 19, 2013, 8:24 pm

    queso fresco/paneer yummy cheese and simple to make at home without a culture.

  • Kylie C June 19, 2013, 8:26 pm

    I like Parmesan.