Friday, October 25, 2013

Gift Idea #4 - Goat Milk Cheddar



This is the fourth in a series of gift ideas for the upcoming holidays.  There's still plenty of time to make this cheese and give it to a lucky friend.  

We know SO many goat owners who haven't found the time (or courage) to make their own cheese.  Giving them a cheese you made yourself in a basket of cheese making supplies would be the perfect gift.

Here's an easy cheese that you still have time to make before the holiday season begins:


Goat Milk Cheddar
From Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, page 186

This stirred-curd variety of Cheddar has a sharp, peppery flavor and can be consumed after aging for 4 weeks, but improves with flavor if aged for up to 12 weeks.

2 gallons whole goat's milk
1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter or 4 ounces prepared mesophilic starter
1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet (or 1/2 rennet tablet) diluted in 1/2 cup cool, unchlorinated water
Cheese salt
Cheese wax (optional)
1/8 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup water (optional)

1.  Heat the milk to 85F.

I buy my goat's milk from a neighbor.

It helps to have a dairy thermometer (with a clip) and a flat ladle.


Add the starter; mix well.

Direct set starter is the easiest whey to go.


Cover and allow the milk to ripen for 30 minutes.

I use the stove timer.


2.  Add diluted rennet.

If you use vegetable rennet, be sure to cut the amount in half.

Slowly add the rennet.


Gently stir with an up-and-down motion for several minutes.  Let set at 85F for 1 hour.

Gently stir the rennet.


3.  Cut the curd into 1/2 inch cubes.  Allow the curds to set, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.

Check for the "clean break."


4.  Gradually heat the curds to 98F, raising the heat no more than two degrees every 5 minutes.

I would do this in my sink, but I don't have a stopper.  So, I heat up the water in this pan and place the pot on top of the racks.


Stir gently to keep the curds from matting.

This is my favorite part.  Aren't curds beautiful when they're first cut?


Maintain the temperature at 98F for 45 minutes, stirring gently.

They gradually sink to the bottom of the pot as you stir.

Where have they gone?


Drain off the whey and add all 2 tablespoons of the salt to the curds and mix well.

I save the whey for my plants.  But, if you have pets or farm animals, they'll love it.

Getting there...

Adding salt.

I like to use my hand to mix in the salt.


5.  Line a 2-pound cheese mold with cheesecloth.

You can see why I put a large pan beneath this.


Quickly place the curds into the mold.  Press the cheese at 20 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes.

I've said it before and I'll say it again- I LOVE my Wheeler press.


6.  Remove the cheese from the mold;  gently peel away the cheesecloth.  Turn it over, re-dress it, put it back into the mold, and press at 30 pounds of pressure for 1 hour.

It's coming together after only 15 minutes!


7.  Repeat the process but press at 50 pounds of pressure for 12 hours.

8.  Remove from the press.  Gently peel away the cheesecloth.  Rub salt on all surfaces.  Place on a cheese board.

That's a big cheese for only 2 gallons of milk.

The only dents are from the cheesecloth and the mold; they will go away.


9.  Rub salt on it once a day for 2 days.  Turn daily.

The salt doesn't stick as well to the sides as to the top and bottom

After two days on my counter.


When the surface is dry, you may wax it (see page 57).

(Or, you might bandage it or rub it with oil and leave a natural rind.  I chose to leave the rind because I know I'll be giving this as a gift in a couple of months.  If I planned to age it much longer, I would wax or bandage it.)



It's ready for the cheese preserver (an aging method I'm experimenting with).


10.  Age the cheese at 50 to 55F for 4-12 weeks.

My cooler with two frozen bottles of water stays at 60F for one day-then I swap out the bottles.  As you can see, the farmhouse cheese I made over a month ago (and bandaged) is molding up nicely.

I'll turn it every day and we'll see in December!


YIELD:  2 pounds

This is the fourth in a series of posts with gift ideas for the holidays.  To see the first post, click here.

For printing:

Goat Milk Cheddar
From Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll, page 186

This stirred-curd variety of Cheddar has a sharp, peppery flavor and can be consumed after aging for 4 weeks but improves with flavor if aged up to 12 weeks.

2 gallons whole goat's milk
1 packet direct-set mesophilic starter or 4 ounces prepared mesophilic starter
1/2 teaspoon liquid rennet (or 1/2 rennet tablet) diluted in 1/2 cup cool, unchlorinated water
Cheese salt
Cheese wax (optional)
1/8 teaspoon calcium chloride diluted in 1/4 cup water (optional)

1.  Heat the milk to 85F.  Add the starter; mix well.  Cover and allow the milk to ripen for 30 minutes.

2.  Add diluted rennet;  gently stir with an up-and-down motion for several minutes.  Let set at 85F for 1 hour.

3.  Cut the curd into 1/2 inch cubes.  Allow the curds to set, undisturbed, for 10 minutes.

4.  Gradually heat the curds to 98F, raising the heat no more than two degrees every 5 minutes.  Stir gently to keep the curds from matting.  Maintain the temperature at 98F for 45 minutes, stirring gently.  Drain off the whey and all 2 tablespoons of the salt to the curds and mix well.

5.  Line a 2-pound cheese mold with cheesecloth.  Quickly place the curds into the mold.  Press the cheese at 20 pounds of pressure for 15 minutes.

6.  Remove the cheese from the mold;  gently peel away the cheesecloth.  Turn it over, re-dress it, put it back into the mold, and press at 30 pounds of pressure for 1 hour.

7.  Repeat the process but press at 50 pounds of pressure for 12 hours.

8.  Remove from the press.  Gently peel away the cheesecloth.  Rub salt on all surfaces.  Place on a cheese board.

9.  Rub salt on it once a day for 2 days.  Turn daily.  When the surface is dry, you may wax it (see page 57).

10.  Age the cheese at 50 to 55F for 4-12 weeks.

YIELD:  2 pounds


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