A few weeks ago, Robyn, Chris, and I attended a cooking demonstration put on by former Top Chef Canada contestant (2nd runner up), and co-owner of outstanding Calgary restaurant CHARCUT, Connie DeSousa.
Connie’s demonstration was all about making homemade goat cheese. Perfect, I love goat cheese! And since goat cheese and my wallet are natural enemies, this was going to save me a bundle! But wouldn’t making your own cheese be a long, arduous, complicated process that requires years of expertise and skills?
Connie assured the crowd that it was, in fact, dead easy.
She was right!
The tables were filled with instructions sheets on how to make CHARCUT’s goat cheese and beet salad. I’m focusing on the goat cheese only, so I’ve cropped the recipe for you from the official instructions.
I made my first batch of cheese last week , using some random goats milk from Superstore. The result was ok, but very mild. In fact most of the flavour seemed to be from my seasonings, and not the cheese itself.
For this weeks batch, I used Fairwinds Farm organic goat milk. The first batch was good, but the second batch was outstanding. I was a bit stunned at just how much difference there was. Batch 2 was much more flavourful, creamier, and had a better texture. So I guess the lesson here is to not be such a cheapskate and start with quality ingredients. Heck, you’re saving tons of dough here anyways, so splurge a little.
Pour the milk, yogurt, and whipping cream into a pot. Whisk together and add a pouch of your favourite herbs. I used fresh dill stems and a bit of rosemary, because that’s what I had. To be honest, I don’t think I used enough but I wanted to be sure not to overpower the cheese flavour.
Bring the mixture up to 100 degrees F and remove from heat. Remove your spice pouch and stir in the dissolved rennet for a few seconds until curds start to form, then cover and let sit 1 hour.
When you come back, the curds should have formed a large mass. Slice the mass with a knife in a criss cross pattern.
Pour the curds into a sieve lined with cheesecloth. I had no luck finding cheesecloth at the first 2 stores I tried, so I took a friends suggestion and used a clean J-cloth. It worked like a charm!
Next, I folded the j-cloth over the top, and weighted the curds down with a couple soup cans in a gladware container.
After about an hour, I dumped the cheese into a bowl and mixed in some seasonings. This step is optional, and you may only want to add salt and pepper at this stage. I added a teaspoon of Herbs de Provence and a teaspoon of salt. Pepper to taste.
Mix the seasoning in thoroughly and return it to the cheese cloth. Weight it down overnight at minimum.
Next day you can give it a taste test and re-season as desired.