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.
Hi Loretta, Yes it’s very easy to make buttermilk from goats milk. I will try to write the directions up tonight when I have more time.
So, to make buttermilk you need 1 quart of goats milk and 1 pack of dried buttermilk culture or 2 tablespoons cultured buttermilk.
1. Warm the milk to 72 degrees F in a pot. Stir in the pack of buttermilk culture or the 2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk.
2. Put into a covered quart jar or similar container.
3. Allow to sit at room temperature for 12 hours (or more) to thicken.
4. Once it’s thickened, store in the refrigerator.
5. Save 2 tablespoons to make the next batch.
Yes, I use goat milk since we have goats.
Machella B. says
I guess I mean a non cow’s milk butter milk. I can’t have any cow’s milk due to allergies.
You can use buttermilk made with goat’s milk, it doesn’t need to be cow’s milk buttermilk.
Hi Susan, I usually hang it to drain over the sink in our laundry room, which is just as warm as the rest of the house. I’ve never had a problem!
Barbara Tarleton Underwood says
Seems easy enough however I did not see any follow up of what to do with the cheese after it has finished. Do you freeze it, wax it or just stick it in the refrigerator? If not refrigerated how long will it last?
Hi Barbera, good point on the storage. I have always either put it in the refrigerator or freezer depending on how soon I wanted to use it. I don’t know how long it will last if you don’t refrigerate it after it’s finished – I just figured it was a dairy product and needed to be refrigerated if I was going to use it pretty soon or frozen if it was going to be awhile before we got around to eating it.
Will this work with pasteurized cow milk? I can get raw cow milk locally, so if I use that, is the recipe the same? Meaning would I still use the buttermilk?
Hi Jeff, this should work with pasteurized or raw milk, and the recipe is the same.