Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Making Goat Milk Cheese





   This weekend was very busy.  I am trying to do so many things to get caught up so I can get into the fall spirit.  I would just love to walk into my kitchen and it not be a mess of canning jars, buckets of apples, and puzzle pieces (courtesy of my three year old).  I have visions of a beautiful walnut table with a center piece of fresh cut Limelight hydrangeas in the middle, instead of piles of homeschool books and supplies.  I wish my floors were shiny instead of streaked with mud and standing water from the kids running in and out of the house from the barn and pool.  I do realize that would mean my kids would not get to fully enjoy living on a farm to do that, and I want them to enjoy every minute! 
   I wanted to do something productive yesterday and in the middle of the mess, I somehow came to the conclusion that making cheese was just that thing.  We have been milking our goat, Bernice, for about 2 months now.  She gives about 3/4 to a half gallon of milk a day.   I had some extra and had been eying a video on youtube of a farmer making it with only apple cider vinegar.  I figure I can't go wrong with that and it does not cost a thing, since I had everything on hand. 
   I started by putting a half gallon of milk in a heavy sauce pot and heating it to the boiling point, to which I then add a 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar and the milk began to curd.  I was half way to making my first batch of homemade cheese and had not spoiled a thing yet...YEAH!!!  I turned off the heat and continued to stir until it did not curd any more.  I poured my curd and whey mixture into a dish towel over a strainer and a large stock pot.
   I then continued by pulling up the corners of my dish towel and twisting it and mashing it to get as much water out of the cheese I could.  I then had a perfect ball of cheese.  I could not believe I actually had done it.  I was so proud of myself.  I could just taste the hot cheese on crackers and could not wait for it to cool so I could have some.

    I cut into it and added some kosher salt.  It was delicious!!!  ALL my kids loved it.  It does not taste "goaty" it does not have an off flavor.  Just delicious fresh cheese.  We ate it on bagels and just by itself.  But I wanted a cracker to go with it.  I went to the cabinet where we keep our snacks....no crackers....I knew I just opened a box.  I went to the pantry.  No crackers!  I could not believe I had this perfect cracker topper and there was no cracker to be had.  Then my oldest offered that sissy and the little one ate the WHOLE box in a sitting while I was busy doing something else.  THE WHOLE BOX!!!!
    I just have to say that owing my own milking goat has been a investment totally worth it.  We have already recouped what we paid for her in calf milk replacer and at least 6 to 8 gallons of milk over the last few weeks. In the afternoon and early morning when I am out milking and everything is quiet it is just a moment of silence that can make your day perfect.  There is time to think.  You can talk to the Lord while you milk and no one bothers you...... for just a moment.  But then you go in the house to eat your crackers and cheese and then remember, the reality is 2 children under the age of 6 ate a whole box of crackers in one sitting.  What can you do but just smile and go on with your day.