How To Make Your Own Chèvre Using Natural Ingredients
Making cheese at home may seem like a time and labor-intensive process, but what if you could make a delicious, high-quality cheese that practically makes itself? According to David Asher, author of The Art of Natural Cheesemaking, you can.
The following recipe for all-natural chèvre will change the way you look at homemade cheese!
The cultural circumstances within which chèvre evolved make the production of this cheese ideally suited to our modern times. With the many distractions and diversions in our lives, it is often difficult to find dedicated time for cheesemaking; chèvre’s simplicity helps it find a place in our daily rhythms.
Cows’ milk can be used in this recipe in place of goats’ milk: the soft and creamy curd that results is firmer than yogurt cheese and is sometimes called cream cheese, fromage frais, or Neufchâtel, though that final name is an American bastardization of a very different bloomy-rinded French cheese. The long fermentation of the cows’ milk allows its cream to rise, creating a beautiful layer of creamy curd atop the whiter curd below.
Chèvre is excellent on its own but also serves as a delicious canvas for adding many other herbs, spices, and flavors. Roasted or raw garlic, cracked pepper, preserved lemons, even fruit preserves all pair well with chèvre. But be sure to add them at the end of the cheesemaking process, when the cheese is salted and drained; if the flavorings are added too soon, their flavor will flow away with the whey.
Chèvre is generally eaten fresh in North America, so it is a little-known fact that it can also be aged! Chèvre is the foundation of an entire class of aged cheeses that start as this fresh cheese.
1 gallon (4 L) good goats’ milk
1⁄4 cup (60 mL) kefir or active whey
1⁄4 dose rennet (I use less than 1⁄16 tablet WalcoRen calf’s rennet for 1 gallon milk)
1 tablespoon (15 mL) good salt
1-gallon (4-L) capacity heavy-bottomed pot
Du-rag or other good cheesecloth
30 minutes to make; 2 days total
Makes about 1 1⁄2 pounds (700 g) chèvre
Warm the goats’ milk to around 90°F (32°C) on a low heat, stirring occasionally to keep it from scorching.
Stir in a cheesemaking starter culture: Pour in the kefir or whey and mix it in thoroughly.
Stir in a small amount of rennet: Dissolve the quarter dose of rennet in 1⁄4 cup (60 mL) cold water. Mix it into the warm milk gently but thoroughly.
Leave at room temperature, covered, for 24 hours. After the long fermentation period, the curd will shrink and sink to the bottom of the pot.
Ladle the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander perched over a bowl to catch the whey. Tie the cheesecloth into a bag, and simply leave it in the colander to drain.
Drain for at least 6 hours, at room temperature. Cover with a clean towel if need be to keep flies from landing on it. Be sure that the curds are well suspended above the level of the whey.
Salt the curds: Open up the cheesecloth bag and sprinkle 1 tablespoon (15 mL) salt over the surface of the cheese. With a wooden spoon, mix the salt into the cheese thoroughly.
Tie up the cheesecloth bag, and let the salted curds drain for another hour or two. Once the cheese feels quite dry, it’s ready to eat, or have herbs or spices added to it.
Keep chèvre in the refrigerator if you don’t eat it right away. It will keep for at least 2 weeks.
As the trees lose their leaves and autumn slowly turns to winter, those first inklings of true cold can be daunting. What better way to stay warm and positive than a festive gathering centered around good food and drink? Here we offer culinary inspiration for the season: Spicebush Duck Legs from Marie Viljoen’s Forage, Harvest,…Read More
Are you new to the Chelsea Green community and aren’t sure which book to read first? Or maybe you’re a long-time fan and want to continue your binge-reading but need some fresh ideas. Regardless of how you got here, we can help! From the enlightening and thought-provoking to the quirky and fun, we, the Chelsea…Read More
Struggling to find the perfect gift for the foodie in your life? Our wide range of food and drink books will give you plenty of options to choose from! Whether you’re shopping for an adventurous cook who likes foraging for their ingredients, a fermentation aficionado, or a lover of culinary classics you’ll find something for…Read More
Are you looking for a new recipe to impress your family this holiday season? Or perhaps you’re in need of a new gift idea for coworkers, teachers, and the alway busy this time of year mailman. This recipe for Pain d’Epices is the perfect choice! You can capture the warm and joyful spirit of this…Read More
They say history is bound to repeat itself if we don’t take the time to learn from the past. Our decision-making skills are essential for survival but, for some, it’s difficult to connect the dots between the cause and effect of said decisions. However, in this day and age, it’s important to recognize our strengths,…Read More