Thursday, August 29, 2013

Let's Talk: Dairy & Chevre

     It's no secret- I'm a goat mamma. Those little blue eyes and nubby wet noses just melt my heart every time my feet take me past their fence. My love for these feisty characters isn't the only reason they make their home here, it's the milk, of course. For several years now we have had our very own little homestead dairy set up; a gift and blessing to every growing family who has one.
     Let's be clear and honest by saying keeping a home dairy up and going, even if it is just for you own family is a challenge; rewarding, but a challenge. Illness happens, accidents occur, a power outage, loss and life are all part of the every day run of things. Dairy work is a commitment much like being a parent is, after all, goats don't milk themselves.
     Our home dairy produces half a gallon of milk a day, and this is the low season for production. That fresh milk becomes yogurt, kefir, cheese, and even ice cream. It was a long learning process, but those delicious products are now a family staple; one I can't imaging being without. The easiest, most simple cheese we make is Chevre; creamy and rich with a hint of tang, we use it just like cream cheese.


1 packet Chevre direct set culture
1 gallon milk

# Bring milk to 86 degrees.
# Stir in Chevre culture, let rehydrate 2 minutes, then stir.
# Cover and let set for 12 hours..temp is ideal at 72 degrees.
**My kitchen is very warm..sometimes I set the pan in a sink of cool water to keep the culture from being too warm.
# Ladle curd gently into a butter muslin lined colander; hang and drain 6 to 12 your desired consistency. 
**Our Chevre is kept on the creamy side; easy to 6 hours for us.

NOTE: I order my starter cultures here. I realize that cultures can be purchased, activated, and maintained, but I have just not yet arrived at that place in my cheese making; it is a goal, just one I haven't attained.

   Admittedly..I love the flavor and versatility of this cheese and use it daily in my kitchen. The down side is their need for a purchased culture, however, that is something I am working on. For now, I buy in bulk, rotate the types of cheeses we make: culture based, rennet cheeses, and when all else fails..cheeses made with lemon or vinegar as a base. Now, excuse me while I go make a snack..all this talk of cheese gave me a craving!

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