With our friendly Nigerian Dwarf goats we have been blessed with an abundance of milk. I've previously made goats milk soap, yogurt, sour cream and yogurt. More on those in a later blog posting. I've also made several batches of farmers cheese.
Now I know your thinking goats milk? no thanks.!.... BUT...... Having owned a different breed of goat prior (Toggenburg)... THAT was GOATS MILK in ever sense of what your brain tells you.. pungent and not very appealing... The Nigerians are completely different and the milk is so delicious we drink it!.. We've shared it with visitors at the ranch who have stated "tastes like cows milk" . A much higher cream content than other goats. The flavor does not have that pungent "goat" taste. Their milking procedure can be a bit daunting with their size.. We do have a milk station (again for another blog posting).. But a couple of my girls are pretty short in leg hight so it makes for a more tedious milking ... BUT worth it!..
Today we made CHEDDAR!.. YES cheddar cheese from goats milk!.. Now we wont be able to taste this for a couple of months as it cures but I'm really excited on how it is looking. We will post a blog on the taste test. .Its a pretty timely procedure, way more than simple farmers cheese which is basically bringing the milk up to temp, adding rennet(a enzyme that curdles the milk to make cheese). So here we go -
We're using 1 gallon of milk for this process. First you bring the milk up to 85 degrees stirring constantly.
Turn off the heat and add 1/8t mesophilic starter culture stirring gently in an up and down motion with a slotted spoon. Let rest for 30 minutes covered.
Add 1/4 t rennet mixed in 1/2 cup cool water. Again stir gently with an up and down motion. Bring the temp back up to 85 degrees and keep it at that temp for 1 hour. ( do this using a double boiler so you dont scald the mixture).
Cut the newly formed curds into 1/2 - 1" squares carefully, then slowly start heating them up by 2 degrees every five minutes or so till it reaches 98%. Keep it at this temp gently stirring the curds for 45 min.
NOW its time! Drain off the whey (of which you can use in smoothies, or even use it in your pet feed for extra protein and enzymes).... You will need a cheese mold (has holes all around to help drain and process). Place the curds in the mold lined with cheese cloth. Now here is where it got tricky for me. I dont have a cheese press to make hard cheeses so I improvised!.. See below RED NECK cheese press ......
Yes where there is desire there is a way... AND I wanted to make this cheese today! It requires pressing to remove the moisture from the curds. It takes several pressings to achieve the desired consistency to the cheese. Starting out with 10 LBS and increasing to 25LBS for an hour. Flipping the cheese and pressing again. Its now on its last press and will remain over night with 50 LBS of pressure.. Dont ask what I had to use for that.. IT's working and thats all that matters!..
THEN lastly after being in the kitchen for several hours after I take the cheese out of the mold tomorrow we get to let it "rest" on a cheese board, salting daily and flipping daily for 3 days.. OH wait we're not done yet - for 6-8 weeks allow your cheese to sit at 50-55 degrees for 6-12 weeks!.. AND there you have it.. one pound of cheese.... A new understanding and appreciation for cheddar cheese!
pressed only once so far and not aged.. It will be about half this size tomorrow when I take it out of the press..