August 22, 2009
Home Creamery: Chèvre
by Gareth Mark
Chèvre is a cheese that commands a premium in the marketplace. I always assumed that there was a real art to making good chèvre. Turns out that it's embarrassingly easy!
To make this cheese you need a gallon of goat milk, a packet of chèvre culture, a colander, some butter muslin, a thermometer, and a stainless steel pan with lid. I purchased my culture through New England Cheesemaking Supply Company.
So here's the big secret. Heat the milk to 86°, sprinkle the culture onto the milk and stir it in, then cover. Keep the covered pan in a warm place for 12 hours while the bacteria do their magic. Then carefully lift the curds into a colander lined with butter muslin. You can leave it in the colander or hang it, your choice. Let it drain for 12 hours. Yield is about 2 pounds. If you've made yogurt, you have all the skills needed for chèvre.
You could choose to mold it into logs, or into boules, or not at all. I molded it by packing a ramekin full, then turning the cheese out into a container to marinate. I let the cheese marinate in extra virgin olive oil with some fresh herbs until ready to serve.
The recipes you'll find usually call for pasteurized goat milk, and that's the legal thing to do. I, however, am a scofflaw and used raw goat milk. It made a truly delightful chèvre.