Chevre Instructions

Chevre is a simple fresh cheese, meant to be made fresh and enjoyed right away. It is soft, like a spread, and can be used in place of cream cheese in recipes. It is best to start with fresh raw milk, either goat or cow. If using goat milk, make sure it is no older than 2 days to avoid a "goaty' flavor. You can start with pasteurized milk from the store, but not "ultra-pasteurized" or "ultra-high temperature" treated milk. The higher temperatures will have damaged enzymes necessary for the cheese making process. Hopefully they will be labeled UP or UHT.

2 gallons of fresh milk
1/4 teaspoon of 'Mesophyllic A' freeze-dried cheese culture
1/2 to 1 tablet vegetable rennet, or 4 drops liquid animal rennet
salt to taste

Pasteurization is not necessary, but provides predictable results. In a large stockpot that will hold the two gallons bring the milk to just to 162 degrees Fahrenheit over medium high heat. Make sure the temperature of the milk doesn't go over 172, or a noticeable sulphur smell will develop once the milk cools.

Quickly cool the milk back down to 90 degrees. You can speed this along by floating a clean plastic food storage tub, or zip-top bag, filled with ice on the top of the milk. Another method is to place the whole pot in a sink filled with ice water.

Add the 1/4 teaspoon of culture and stir to dissolve. Allow the cultured milk to sit undisturbed for approximately a half hour. Maintain the 90 degree temperature by either turning the stove on and off very briefly, or placing the whole pot in a sink filled with warm water.

If using liquid rennet, add the four drops and briefly stir to mix. If using a rennet tablet, cut the rennet tablet in half. Crush one half to a fine powder between two spoons and add to the cultured milk, stirring briefly to dissolve and mix. Again, maintain the temperature at 90 degrees. Allow to sit for 15-30 minutes, or until it looks like white Jello when touched with a spoon. If it has not set, increase the temperature slightly and add another finely crushed 1/4 tablet of rennet.

Cutting The Curds
Once the curd looks like white Jello, cut it into squares with a long smooth knife. Increase the temperature to 100 degrees, by either turning the stove on and off briefly or placing the pot in a sink of hot water. Do not overheat. Drain the curds when yellowish-green whey forms between the squares, about 10 minutes.

Scoop the curd squares out into a fine mesh strainer over a mixing bowl, or into a cheesecloth-lined colander. Stir to facilitate draining and break the curds apart. Drain for an hour or so, stirring every ten minutes or so. The longer it drains the firmer it will become, though it will always be soft. It's at this point you can add salt to taste, about one tablespoon. You can also any other spices, herbs, dried fruits or peppers.

The chevre can be stored in the fridge in a plastic storage tub with lid closed. Chevre should keep about two weeks in the fridge. If it develops green or black mold, throw it away. Whey may continue to slowly drain from the cheese. It can be frozen for up to three months.

Chevre can be used in recipes calling for cream cheese or other soft style cheeses.