Goat owners faced with an overabundance of milk from their lactating does often transform the excess milk into creamy, protein-rich goat cheese or chevre. When you make your goat milk cheese, always use a stainless steel pot, since the acidity of the cheese could cause leaching if you use an aluminum pot (or spoon). Look for cheesecloth that has tightly woven fibers to help prevent the cheese curds from slipping out during the draining process. If you’re on a budget, consider using a clean pillowcase in place of traditional cheesecloth; it works just as well and is typically less expensive.
Things You'll Need
Place a large stainless steel cooking pot on the front burner of your stove. Measure 2 to 4 qt, of goat milk into the pot, depending on how much goat cheese you want; as a rule, 4 qt. of goat milk produce approximately 1 1/2 lbs. of soft goat cheese. Insert the tip of the candy thermometer completely into the milk and attach the thermometer’s clip to the side of the pot.
Turn the stove burner on to a medium heat. Stir the milk and check the thermometer regularly as the milk heats up to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Keep the milk at the desired temperature for the next 10 minutes, stirring it and lowering the burner heat slightly to maintain the temperature and keep the milk from scorching.
Pour the white vinegar into the hot milk, stirring it to distribute the vinegar evenly throughout the pot. Continue stirring the milk and watch the candy thermometer as you bring the temperature back to 180 F. Turn the stove burner off as soon as the milk returns to the proper temperature; you should notice white clumps of curd have formed in the watery liquid, called whey. Remove the candy thermometer using a hot pad to ensure that you don’t burn your hands.
Place the strainer in the sink and line it with a cheesecloth or clean pillowcase. Lift the pot from the stovetop and pour the curd clumps and watery whey into the cloth-lined strainer. Pull the corners of the cheesecloth together and tie them to one another to form a bag for draining the goat milk cheese curds.
Suspend the bag of cheese curds from the spigot of your sink and leave it to drain the liquid whey directly into the sink for two to eight hours; a shorter drain time creates a softer, more spreadable cheese, while a longer drain time results in dry, crumbly cheese. Transfer the drained goat milk cheese to a bowl; use a fork to blend in a dash of salt and any other desired seasonings, such as basil or chives.
Refrigerate the covered goat milk cheese for up to one week. Serve atop bagels, toast or crackers or sprinkle the cheese crumbles over a green salad.
Chevre typically works well as a substitute for cream cheese or ricotta cheese in most recipes.