It definitely feels like spring here, with kid goats frolicking in the field and teenage chickens clucking about underfoot in the yard. Local frogs have even moved into the pond. In fact, they’re croaking quite boisterously out there right now.
Since I’ve been getting better at milking, I’ve had some extra milk to play around with and have been starting to try my hand at cheese and yogurt. And let me tell you, I need all the practice I can get. I’m using raw milk for both because I want the full health benefits that you don’t get from pasteurized products.
I’ve now gotten to the point where I’m getting consistent results with pre-measured packets of direct-set mesophilic culture and vegetable rennet. You can buy them on Amazon, along with a variety of cheesemaking books and supplies.
I have had issues with my vegetable rennet, and after a couple of failed attempts, I now use more than the original recipe called for. You may have to experiment with your rennet as well, as age and shipping temperatures can weaken it. Get to know your rennet!
Use a stainless steel pot and stainless or wooden utensils, and always sterilize your equipment before you begin. A digital thermometer is also a must.
I have edited this process as my cheeses improve.
- Heat 1 gallon of fresh goat milk to 86˚ F.
- Add 1 packet of direct-set mesophilic culture and mix thoroughly.
- Dilute 5 drops of liquid vegetable rennet in 1/4 C distilled water, then pour into milk through a slotted ladle to distribute evenly. Stir with a gentle up and down motion to thoroughly combine.
- Cover and let set at 72˚ F (average temperature of a warm, draft-free corner of the kitchen) for 12 hours or until curd forms.
- Ladle curd gently into a butter muslin lined colander, then tie the corners together, hang and drain for about 8 hours (until it is the consistency you want, creamy or drier).
- Remove the curds from the butter muslin and gently mix in 1 teaspoon of non-iodized salt.
- Mold or simply cover, then refrigerate and enjoy, in and on everything!
It’s super light and fluffy and creamy.