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Homemade Honeyed Goat Cheese with Ground Sumac Berries

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Goat cheese is just one of those things that I get really crazy about. I mean it... I am a total weirdo about goat cheese! I have to temper my excitement when I see it on menus or discover a new flavor at the store. Fellow goat cheese lovers may share these feelings, but unfortunately my husband doesn't. Try as I might, I haven't convinced him that he likes goat cheese yet. I am not going to lie, a piece of me dies a little every time he turns down this beloved treat of mine. I am being dramatic, but I just can't fathom a world without goat cheese! 

Cheese in general is one of my absolute favorite things to consume. I have played around with making my own cream cheese a time or two, but this year I want to expand my food making experiments further into the world of cheese. The plan has been to work my way from soft cheeses up to aged ones. I’m only up to the chèvre level, but wanted to try a few different methods for goat cheese before moving up. Some goat cheese recipes call for lemon juice, others for vinegar, and then some use culture and rennet. After trying all three of these routes, I definitely prefer the culture and rennet route. It just seems to create such a rich and velvety experience.

The honey and sumac berries in this recipe are optional... you can leave them out or incorporate your own flavor combinations. I am looking forward to adding seasonal fruits and summer herbs to my upcoming batches!

Homemade Chevre (Goat Cheese) 

  • 1 gallon raw or low-temperature pasteurized goat milk 
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mesophilic Culture (MM100)*
  • 2 drops liquid rennet*
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 2-4 tablespoons honey (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac berries (optional)

Equipment needed:

  • Non-reactive vat (I use stainless steal)
  • Cheesecloth
  • Colander 
  • Candy thermometer 

*I simply ordered culture and rennet on Amazon. One thing to note on the rennet if you are a vegetarian or vegan... there is an animal rennet and a vegetable rennet. 

Pour milk into the vat and heat slowly, stirring consistently until it reaches 80 degrees. It will warm quickly so do not abandon it.

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Remove from heat immediately. Gently stir in culture and rennet. Cover and let rest at room temperature for about 12 hours. It will be ready to strain when it has thickened to a yogurt texture and a layer of yellowish clear liquid forms on top (whey).

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Place a piece of cheesecloth over a colander in the sink and drain. 

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Pull the corners of the cheesecloth up and secure it somewhere that it can hang for 4-6 hours. I use a cabinet handle for this and place the vat under to catch the whey that drips.

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You want to let it drain until the dripping stops, making sure not to leave it too long or it will dry out and be crumbly. 6 hours has been the perfect time allotment for me, but just make sure to check in on it around the 4 hour mark to see. 

Remove from the cheesecloth and transfer to a bowl. Fold in the salt, honey, and ground sumac. 

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For this batch, I scaled it down and only used a quart of goat milk and 1/4 of the other ingredients. You can scale up or down. For one quart of milk, you will yield about 6oz of goat cheese.

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Happy cheese making!

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