This easy homemade goat (or cow) milk cheese recipe is so easy anybody can do it, and it’s delicious too. The recipe makes a soft cheese like you typically see in small round or log packages in the store. And, this cheese freezes well so that you can have fresh cheese available just about any time!
The recipe is also very forgiving, if you overheat it or underheat it a little, it still turns out fine. Also, the times for sitting and hanging seem to be fairly flexible. The longer it sits after about 8 hours; however, the tangier it seems to get.
What You’ll Need to Make Easy Homemade Goat Milk Cheese
The ingredients are just milk, buttermilk, and liquid rennet (scroll down for a link for buying the rennet). Splendid Table did a write-up on the difference between goat and cow milk if you’re considering both.
Instead of rennet, you can also make homemade cheese using lemon juice or vinegar (see this recipe for Homemade Ricotta Cheese for one using vinegar) but I find that using rennet makes the recipe almost foolproof – this recipe has ALWAYS worked for me. And, the recipe uses only a couple of drops of rennet for each batch, so once you’ve purchased a bottle of rennet – it seems to last forever!
For the buttermilk, you can use homemade buttermilk or buttermilk from the store – they both work fine.
Since we have goats, I use raw, whole goat milk for this cheese, but it works with whole cow milk just as well. And, it works with unpasteurized (raw) milk like we use or with pasteurized milk.
You’ll need a non-reactive (stainless steel is best) pan large enough to hold a little over a gallon of milk to heat the mixture in, a food thermometer, a knife to cut the curds, and cheesecloth to drain the cheese.
Gather your ingredients – it takes 1 gallon of milk, 1/4 cup of buttermilk, and 2 to 3 drops of liquid rennet.
Mix the liquid rennet into the buttermilk. Pour the milk into the stainless steel pan and heat the milk to 98°F as measured on your thermometer. When the milk reaches 98°F, add the buttermilk/rennet mixture to the warmed milk and stir it in.
Once the buttermilk/rennet mixture has been stirred in, simply cover and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 8 – 12 hours at room temperature or until soft milk solids form (you can see them under the whey in the photo below).
Once the solids have formed, take a long knife and cut the milk solids into curds.
Pour the curds into 2 layers of cheesecloth that you’ve prepared (lay one layer of cheesecloth one way and the other the opposite way so that you have four corners that you can tie together for hanging) and hang to drain, making sure that you’ve placed something underneath to catch the whey. The whey can be used to replace liquids in baking, or in many other ways – it’s high in protein.
Let hang for 8 – 12 hours, and then remove it from the cheesecloth. Break the ball open to see if enough moisture has drained away and it’s the consistency you prefer. If it’s not to the consistency you desire, rehang until it reaches the desired consistency.
You can season the cheese in many ways, or leave it plain. For this batch, I left it plain and formed it into 3 cheese rounds that I’ll drizzle honey or hot pepper jelly over for an appetizer. You can mix any combination of seasonings into that you wish – your imagination is the limit as to how you want to flavor it!
The one gallon of starting milk will produce around 27 ounces (three 9 ounce rounds in this case) of cheese, depending on how much it’s been drained.
That’s it, pretty easy, right? When I have lots of milk on hand, I tend to make lots of this cheese and then vacuum pack the individual rounds and freeze them. Then, just take them out and thaw them in the refrigerator prior to using the cheese just like I would fresh.