Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Every Good Bread Deserves Cheese

After my failure to make mozzarella last month, I chose an herbed goat's cheese for this month's foray into cheese-making. I would call this one a qualified success, I feel that I lost a fair amount of cream but I did get two nice moulds of cheese for my efforts and likely broke even money-wise. (If I had been thinking at the time, I would have saved the run-off cream for a wonderfully fragrant Alfredo!)
The scent and taste of the cheese is amazingly floral and herbal. The basil dominates over the other herbs, it being one of my favourite flavours of summer, and the cheese is light and delicate like milky clouds.
I used my coeur a la creme moulds to make the cheese and they worked out just fine.
My cheese making partner did not have success with this one, but then again she did well with the mozza. Cheese is a fickle art to learn, we have discovered, but we are having fun anyway!

Herbed Goat Cheese
The Home Creamery, Kathy Farrell-Kingsley

2 cups whole goat's milk
2 cups heavy cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt with live cultures
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 sprig parsley
1 sprig fresh thyme
1/2 tsp liquid rennet
1/4 cup cool water (55-60F)
1/2 tsp salt

1. Pour the milk and cream into a large pot. Stir in the yogurt, basil, parsley, and thyme, and cook over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Really low, I think I let mine get too hot)

2. Pour the mixture through a strainer, discard the herbs an return the milk mixture to the pot. Bring the mixture to 100F. (Mine was already over this, too hot) Check the temperature with a thermometer.

3. In a small cup, dissolve the rennet in the water. Add this mixture to the milk and stir for 30 seconds. Remove the pot from heat, cover, and let stand for 2 hours longer to form curds. (I didn't end up with much in the way of curds, more like yogurt/ricotta)

4. Cut the curds into 1-inch cubes and gently stir. Pour or spoon the curds carefully into a butter muslin-lined colander set over a large bowl and let drain about 1 hour. Turn the cheese out into a medium bowl and stir in the salt. (I use cotton weave napkins for straining)

5. Line 1-cup cheese moulds with butter muslin. Fill moulds with cheese, fold cloth over top, and place a weight on each, such as a plate and a can (a total of about 2 pounds). Refrigerate under the weight overnight or up to 2 days.

6. To serve, unmould cheese and remove butter muslin. Cheese will keep up to 1 week, tightly wrapped and refrigerated.

*You can roll the cheese in cracked black peppercorns or dried herbs if you wish.