I love making my own cheese – it seems very homesteader like and makes me feel like I can do anything in the kitchen. This kit would totally be a welcome addition to my kitchen with it’s versatile uses and the cooking ideas Denise gives me. I’m thinking a bit of chèvre with roasted blueberries is a cruditè in my future. -Kathy
I have been wanting to try my hand at making other cheese since making ricotta for the first time a few years back. The thing stopping me has been digging deep for resources. Working with the Belle Chèvre DIY Cheese Kit, a kit that had everything I needed except the goat milk, was perfect.
When the package arrived, I was beyond excited at the mere sight of the box. I admit, I have an addiction to pretty packaging and the simplicity of the Belle Chèvre DIY Cheese Kit is perfect. The kit comes with everything from a pretty piece of cheesecloth to a thermometer for making sure the milk reaches the right temperature. As well, there is enough citric acid and kosher salt to keep your cheese making hobby going for a few months. All I had to do was find the goat milk.
Originally, I wanted to find a goat farm that would let me come out, shoot the farm and pick up some milk. This was a hard task in the Bay Area. Nevertheless, I did find some good local California goat milk from Summerhill Dairy.
Summerhill Dairy is a family-run farm located in the Central Valley of California. Their goats are raised humanely, and they do not use any growth hormones, antibiotics, preservatives or additives and it is not homogenized. Pure goat milk heaven.
Making goat cheese is easy, and it just takes a little time before you have goat cheese on the table. The instructions were simple to follow, which makes the kit perfect for beginners. I love the instruction sheet with adorable drawings as well as tricks and tips for making the process even simpler. I felt completely comfortable with making the cheese. And if you do have any questions, the staff at Belle Chèvre answers emails in a timely manner.
There are two versions of goat cheese to make with this kit, the first being a Montrachet-style Chèvre which is a classic goat cheese log, as well as Fromage Blanc, which is a creamier goat cheese (great for spreading).
The difference between making the two cheeses was simply the amount of time required for the cheese curds to drain. Once the curds were almost drained, but still moist, I scooped out some for my Fromage Blanc. Then, I left the rest of the curds to continue draining to make the classic cheese log or disks. All that was left to do was season with a little salt to taste.
My tips for easily mastering the art of making goat cheese:
- Patience: Set-aside some time, turn on your favorite music, and enjoy the process. Don’t rush it.
- Stir: Yes, keep stirring until the milk reaches the proper temperature. Think of it as a good upper arm workout.
- Curds: Don’t freak out if there are not big chunky curds to be seen. They are tiny. When I added the citric acid, I immediately saw little tiny ones form as I stirred. Even though the milky mixture seems loose, there are little curds in there. You can see them on the back of a wooden spoon as you are stirring.
- Drain: I tied the cheesecloth into a bundle using kitchen twine. Then I tied that onto a rolling pin, which I draped across the kitchen sink. If you want to keep the whey, just place a very shallow pan under the bundle.
- Taste: I found the taste to be more flavorful after sitting in the refrigerator overnight.
Here are some tasty treats I made with the homemade goat cheese. Trust me this is only the beginning to a love affair with making goat cheese at home.
Goat Cheese with Fresh Herbs
- Fresh herbs (I used a mixture of thyme, lavender and parsley), finely chopped
- Form a small disk of goat cheese.
- Gently roll it in finely chopped herbs. Enjoy it with some toasted baguette or your favorite crackers.
Goat Cheese with Grilled Peaches
- Good quality balsamic vinegar
- Toasted baguette slices
- Preheat a grill.
- Slice the peaches into medium thick slices.
- Place the slices on a medium-hot grill, and grill for one minute. Flip over and grill for another minute. There will be subtle grill marks, and the peaches will be slightly jammy and warm.
- Smear some goat cheese on a piece of baguette.
- Place a peach slice on the baguette.
- Drizzle with a small amount of balsamic vinegar
Marinated Goat Cheese
- Fresh herbs (I used sage and parsley)
- Olive oil
- Make a small disk or two out of the goat cheese.
- In a very clean glass jar, add the herbs and peppercorns. Pour in a small amount of olive oil.
- Add the disks of cheese. Continue filling the jar with olive oil until full.
- Place in refrigerator for at least 3 days.
- Enjoy at room temperature on fresh bread.
All photos taken and styled by Denise Woodward.
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