I may have cheekily emailed Ree Drummond aka Pioneer Woman and suggested to her that I be her intern. I may have also promised her goat cheese or at least a short entry about how I make my goat cheese, which I learned from this post on Serious Eats. I may be avoiding writing my last two exam questions in favor of making snacks. I may be nesting because the hurricane has poured down on our home for two days and although I like rain, the dog and I are getting restless. Regardless, I braved the storm earlier to buy goat milk and now I have herbed cheese!
I make my goat cheese by heating up the milk at medium temperature in a sauce pan and stirring it occasionally until it’s foamy and it just starts to boil. A good rule of thumb for this process is 15 minutes. I was using a meat thermometer to do this at first, but wasn’t good at keeping the thermometer out of the milk… er.
In the meantime, I take 9 square feet of cheesecloth (I am told a bandanna could work just as well for this) and cut it into three folded-in-half squares. I buy my cheesecloth at Bed, Bath and Beyond. The brand they sell is more tightly woven so the milk won’t run through it. Using a less tightly woven brand, I once poured the entire concoction through 9 layers of cloth into the sink. I cried. After cutting up the cloth, I arrange it in a colander, then get out some kitchen twine, a wooden spoon, and my stock pot.
When the milk reaches that frothy, almost boiling stage I take it off the heat and add 1/4 cup lemon juice and stir. This makes the milk curdle, but you would never know. If there are microscopic white grains on your spoon when you take it out of the milk, it’s curdling. I ladle into the cheesecloth slowly, making sure I don’t overflow the cloth. Then I brace myself for the heat and gather the cheesecloth up in my hand so the milk is bundled inside. I use my kitchen twine to tie it up and then tie it to the wooden spoon and hang across the stock pot. In one hour, it will drain and you have cheese! The tying up part is tricky, but as long as you don’t drop it or have a buddy to help you’ll be fine. It doesn’t have to be perfect.
I like rosemary and thyme as well as plenty of cracked pepper and salt in my goat cheese. This is not the strongest goaty taste in the world, probably because the cheese is pasteurized. It’s still pretty good and I’m always so charmed by the fact that I made it myself that it somehow tastes better. I hope you’ll try it and eat it with absolutely everything!