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Recipe and Tools
- 1-quart goat's milk (can be pasteurized, but not ultra-pasteurized)
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- salt to taste
Lemon juice can be substituted for the vinegar.
Goat cheese can also be made with a starter culture.
Continue to 2 of 8 below.
- Non-reactive pot
A non-reactive pot is important because certain metals, such as aluminum, will leach into the milk. Use a stainless steel pot to avoid this.
You can get away with not using a thermometer by knowing what the milk looks like when it reaches 180 - 185F. It will be nearing a simmer, with bubbles forming. However, you're more likely to have consistently successful results if you use a thermometer.
- Wood or stainless-steel spoon with a long handle
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Heat the Milk
Place a non-reactive pot on the stove over medium-low or low heat. Pour the goat's milk into the pot. Slowly heat the milk until the temperature is around 185F.
The milk should not reach a full boil, nor do you want the milk to burn to the bottom of the pot, so keep the heat low and be patient. Once the milk hits the right temperature, gentle bubbles will be forming and the surface will look foamy.Continue to 3 of 8 below.
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Now that the milk has reached around 185F, turn off the heat and add the vinegar.
Give the milk a quick stir then let it sit undisturbed for 10 minutes. Loose curds will form on the surface, making the milk look curdled.Continue to 4 of 8 below.
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Separate Curds and Whey
Drape several layers of cheesecloth over a strainer. The piece of cheesecloth should be large enough so you can pull up the sides around the curds.
Pour the pot of goat's milk into the strainer, catching the solids, or curds, in the cheesecloth.
You can set the strainer over a sink if you don't want to keep the whey that drains out. Or, you can set the strainer over a large bowl and save the whey for other uses.Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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Pull the sides of the cheesecloth up and around the curds, forming a pouch. Hang the pouch from the long handle of a spoon or ladle by tying the cheesecloth to the handle or by securing it with a rubber band.
Balance the spoon handle over a pot or over a tall jar so that the cheesecloth pouch full of curds is hanging. Let the curds hang like this, undisturbed, for 1 - 2 hours so that remaining moisture will drip out.
After 1 - 2 hours, give the pouch a few gentle squeezes to get a few more drips of moisture out. Then, scrape the curds out of the cheesecloth and place them on a plate or in a bowl.Continue to 6 of 8 below.
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Salt and Flavor the Cheese
Season the curds with salt to taste. At this point, you can also add other types of seasonings like black pepper, red pepper flakes, and fresh or dried herbs.
Massage the salt and/or seasonings into the curds with your hands, almost like you're kneading dough. This helps the texture of the curds become a little bit softer, smoother and creamier.
You can eat the cheese at this point, but the flavor tends to improve if you refrigerate the cheese for a few hours.Continue to 7 of 8 below.
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Shape the Curds
Use your hands to pat and roll the curds into whatever shape you like. Using a round cookie cutter is an easy way to shape the cheese. Or, you can just smooth the curds into a ramekin or small bowl.
Cover the top with plastic wrap and refrigerate the curds for a few hours.Continue to 8 of 8 below.
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Homemade Goat Cheese Step 8: The Finished Product
Serve and enjoy! Before serving, top the goat cheese with olive oil and fresh herbs if you like.
The texture of your homemade goat cheese should be smooth and creamy, although it is likely to be less creamy than fresh goat bought at the store. The texture of homemade goat cheese made with vinegar (or lemon juice) tends to be a bit more springy and spongy and slightly less creamy.