The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Perfecting chevre

Draining cheeseAfter some research and great input from our readers, I decided to make a few changes before repeating my neufchatel/chevre endeavor. First, even though the instructions called for two drops of liquid rennet in my half-gallon recipe, raw goat milk is notorious for not needing nearly as much thickening agent --- pure milk is just very alive. So this time around I backed off to one drop of rennet, looking for more of a soft cheese consistency instead of the more chewy cheese I ended up with last time.

I also decided to try to boost the flavor with a bit more buttermilk (three tablespoons instead of two) and a much longer culturing period (24 hours instead of 6, although I should mention that the weather was much cooler during round two). After that elongated culture period, there was quite a bit of clear whey on top of the curd, and the curd had also begun to pull away from the walls of the pot. This is all an effort to give the bacteria more time to work, since I suspect microbial byproducts are what gives soft cheese most of its flavor.

Finally, I drained the cheese the right way for four hours instead of squeezing out the whey, and I upped the salt to 0.75 teaspoons. The result? Nearly perfect! The salt was too much --- I'll be going back down to half a teaspoon next time around --- and I think the culturing period might have been just a hair on the long side as well. But the flavor was much more full-bodied than last time and the cheese felt much moister rather than dry and crumbly. Success!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Try adding some black currents or raspberries to your cheese and serve with hot toast it is wonderfull
Comment by Chris Sun May 24 13:05:26 2015

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