We have been working on our cheese making skills for a couple of months now. A good friend of ours, Autumn, kindly shared her family’s recipe with us. We’ve been making variations of this recipe and it always reminds me of the white cheese that was served at many of the places we ate at when Scott and I were in Israel last summer. It takes the place of cream cheese and feta, depending on how long it is allowed to drain. One of our favorite ways to eat it is spreading it on toast and adding a fried egg and roasted vegetables to make a delicious sandwich. It is also tasty crumbled in salads.
We start out with 2-3 gallons of fresh goat milk. Next, the milk is heated in a nonreactive pot to 180 degrees. After reaching that temperature, remove from the heat and add 1/2 C of apple cider vinegar for every 1 gallon of milk. Stir once and then let it sit for five minutes. Strain into a colander that is lined with a cheese cloth. The amount of time it is allowed to strain will determine the hardness of the cheese. Add salt after straining. We use an immersion blender after straining for five minutes to make cream cheese. If we allow it to strain for more than twenty minutes, it will be a harder chunk of cheese that we can break up to use like feta. We have also made ricotta by straining for ten minutes and then adding some of the whey (the liquid left over in the pot after making the cheese) back into the cheese and blending it with a fork.
Our Nigerian Dwarf goats have a higher fat content in their milk which makes it excellent for cheese making. However, we only get about a cup a day from Shmita. Her mom, Mia, just had triplets about a month ago and will be ready to hand milk in another week or so. This will be an adjustment for both her and her babies. Thankfully they have started nibbling on hay and grain so nutrition shouldn’t be a problem. We do use milk from our Saanen, Buttercup, purely for the amount that she provides daily. We have been freezing a lot of milk due to our inability to consume as much as she gives! I am looking forward to working with Mia’s milk to make cheese strictly with the higher fat content milk.
This past week, we tried our hand at making mozzarella cheese. It started out beautifully but, in the end, while it wasn’t what I was hoping for, it wasn’t a total flop either. We had all of the ingredients except for citric acid which, because we were using raw milk, we didn’t need.
We did a few things wrong. We started with two gallons of milk instead of the one called for in the recipe because we needed to use some extra milk up. We also didn’t let it cook in the whey long enough to get stringy. It still tastes like mozzarella, it just doesn’t look very pretty.
My advice to myself would be to use only a gallon and follow the recipe exactly until getting the hang of it. A friend recommended that I leave the cheese in the whey much longer than the recipe indicates. I got a little nervous and was afraid of over cooking it and pulled it out before it had the classic stretchiness of mozzarella. Oh well, live and learn! Every time I do something wrong, it gives me some knowledge to do it better next time. We definitely won’t win any awards for it but our efforts resulted in something that tastes like mozzarella! I guess that’s what counts. Click here for the link to the recipe we used.