Food from the Farm: Chevre

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The cheese I have begun making is chevre, a cheese made from goats' milk. You may have to ask around town for a source of farm-fresh goats' milk but this cheese is quite simple to make, so once you find a supply of goat milk and order some culture you'll be on your way. You can get the powdered culture - and many more recipes - from the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company at www.cheesemaking.com.

The culture comes with a recipe for chevre, which I would recommend following the first time you make it. I like my chevre creamier than what I get when I use the times suggested in the official recipe; the results are less crumbly when you use the shorter times in the ranges given below. If yours comes out too dry, stir in a little of the whey until it is a consistency you like.

  • 1 gallon goats' milk
  • 1 packet chevre culture
  • Salt
  • Butter muslin
  • Instant read thermometer

If the milk has not been pasteurized, heat it slowly in a big pot until it is 145. Remove from heat and cover for 15 minutes. Make a cold water bath in a sink and place the pot in the water, being careful that the water will not spill into the pot. Remove the lid and let the milk cool to 82 degrees.

Sprinkle the culture over the top of the milk and let it sit for two minutes. Stir it in and cover the pot. Let it sit in a warm place (in the oven with the pilot on, on top of the frig, on the counter if it's warm in your house) for 8-12 hours. It will set into a semi-solid mass and a layer of whey will be floating on top.

Line a large colander with a square of butter muslin, cut large enough hang over the edges of the colander. Set the colander in the sink, or in a large pot if you want to collect the whey for another use. Pour the entire contents of the pot into the colander. Collect all four corners of the muslin and tie together in a knot. Hang the cheese from the knotted muslin from a cupboard handle over a pot on the counter, or something similar. Let it hang for 6-12 hours.

When it is finished, flip it out of the muslin into a bowl, scraping the muslin to retrieve bits of cheese stuck there. Salt the cheese to taste and store in a container with an airtight lid.

Enjoy with eggs, on toast, with roasted vegetables, on top of a bowl of soup or beans... pretty much anywhere.

By: | Jan 29, 2013 10:14 AM | Permalink
I am so excited to try this. What exactly does farm-fresh mean - does it include the goat's milk I can buy in my local grocery store? About how long does the chevre last? Thanks!

By: | Jan 26, 2013 10:25 PM | Permalink
Does anybody know the sodium, phosphorous & potassium percentages- I'm dealing with an individual that has kidney issues & missess the "dairy" which they can't have now (cows). L. J.

By: Audrey Hacker | Jan 26, 2013 01:18 AM | Permalink
I enjoy making chevre from Bulgarian buttermilk instead of chevre culture. I use raw milk too- but it has to be good quality and fresh. Walmart sells flour sack tea towels that are much cheaper than butter muslin. My recipe calls for 5 qts goat milk warmed to 80 degrees, 1/2 cup buttermilk and 2 tbs diluted rennet which is 3 drops liquid rennet in 1/3 cup cool water. I use the animal rennet from Hoegger goat supply. Allow to set in a warm room for 8 to 12 hours then drain through cloth. I use the whey to cook rice in, or fresh for lacto-fermenting vegetables.

By: Suzanne Catty | Jan 25, 2013 09:47 PM | Permalink
You can make your own cheese press quite easily. Take a plastic container and a drill with an 1/4" bit and drill holes all over the sides and bottom of the container. You want more holes on the lower half and bottom as that's where the whey will run. Make sure that you wash the container after the drilling and remove every little bit of plastic (and recycle of course). Line the container with 3-4 layers of cheesecloth, add the drained cheese, cover with the cloth and then place a weight on top and leave to drain on a rack over a plate in the fridge for 8-12 hrs. If you're using a standard 1 qt yogurt type container you can use another one the same size but filled with water as the weight since it will ensure even pressure across the whole surface. I miss the herd of goats and all the amazing ways to use their milk but so wonderful to see how many people are doing it at home. Kudos to you all.
says:    (Jan 26, 2013 12:00 AM)

Great to see you are making Chevre..One of my favorite things to flavoure fresh chevre with is garlic and honey..I usually make 2gallon batches of cheese to which I add 3 good sized cloves of garlic and a couple TBS, of fresh organic honey. experiment to discover how much of each you prefer. I have a lovely Oberhasli who gives me milk..I grow my garlic and trade milk with a neighbor for their wonderful honey. There are so many variations to making flavored Chevre cheeses ..both herb and desert style. It lends itself beautifully to almost anything..from cherry compote to chopped chives and lavender. I prefer unsalted cheese..also, I have found it freezes very well.

By: Margaret Kane | Jan 25, 2013 09:24 PM | Permalink
One of my favorite additions to the finished chevre is to put a soft cream cheese size container of it in the food processor and add honey, chopped up crystallized ginger, and a couple drops of almond extract. Makes the most delicious spread for toast you ever tasted.

By: Ruth Ehman | Jan 25, 2013 09:18 PM | Permalink
Firesign Family Farm near Whitmore Lake, MI (48189) hosts several cheese making classes through fall and winter. These classes run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and cover making both soft and hard cheeses using common household kitchen equipment. Dates and additional information are available on the LocalHarvest events page.

By: darlene goodwin | Jan 25, 2013 08:41 PM | Permalink
I also have started making cheese (cherve), I love it,. Easy to make and I love homemade stuff. Also now make goat milks soap which has to be the best stuff in the whole wide world. Thanks!
says:    (Jan 26, 2013 12:00 AM)

where can I get a recipe for making goats milk soap? what kind of equipment do you need?

By: | Jan 25, 2013 08:19 PM | Permalink
We're part of a goat CSA in which we milk two goats once a week and keep whatever we milk so we make chevre, as Erin suggests. We love it as a spread and it's also fantastic baked in dishes like lasagne and goat cheese tart or on pizza. It's so easy and versatile, we hate to go without it when the goats are kidding so we freeze it too, in small batches, and it's just as good thawed as fresh. Thanks, Erin, for sharing how a deeper engagement with something as basic as cheese is beneficial and delicious.

By: Jerri Bedell | Jan 25, 2013 08:06 PM | Permalink
Hi Everyone, just want you all to know that we have all the cheesemaking supplies, our own kits and the Ultimate Cheese Press that we designed and now manufacture right here in the Prescott AZ area and online at homesteadersupply dot com. We'd love to share our recipes with you!

By: | Jan 25, 2013 07:24 PM | Permalink
We made this cheese for 20 years while homesteading in Walla Walla. Our favorite addition was a tablespoon (or more, to taste) of caraway seeds, rubbed in your palms before stirring in. We also used this cheese to make a slicing cheese by pressing in a press; as I remember, the New England Cheesemaking folks had presses for sale as well as directions for making them.

By: TAMAS MUDRONY | Jan 25, 2013 06:57 PM | Permalink
use of kosher or canning salt is the best no iodine and other chemicals added
Hans Quistorff says:    (Jan 26, 2013 12:00 AM)

Instead of adding salt return the salt in the whey back to the cheese. After straining the whey into the pot put it on the stove with low heat and hang the cheese above it. The larger diameter the pan the better. As the water evaporates the butter fat, sugar, protein and salt will get hot enough to scorch so use very low heat at that point and stir regularly. The last of the water can come out as steam explosions so be careful. Remove from heat and stir curd into the pan. Shape in a mold and refrigerate. Surface can be inoculated with Brie to make a cheese that will keep longer.


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