The Home Creamery

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Kathy Farrell-Kingsley whips up homemade dairy products. She shares how-to make them, including which types of milk to use, needed equipment, kefir and soft cheeses in her book, The Home Creamery.

Goat Cheese
Makes 1 pound

Fresh goat cheese (chevre in French) ranges in texture from creamy to semi-firm. The flavor works especially well with acidic accompaniments, such as tomatoes or strawberries.

1 gallon whole goat's milk
1 cup cider vinegar

1. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed pot and gradually heat over medium-low heat until it reaches a temperature of 175-180°F.  Be sure to heat the milk gradually and to stir it frequently to prevent scorching (and a slightly burnt taste).

2. Hold the temperature at 175-180°F about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat, if necessary. (Once milk reaches high temperatures, it can gain heat surprisingly quickly.) Slowly stir in the vinegar, until the milk acidifies and curds form.

3. Remove the pot from heat. Pour or ladle the curds into a cheesecloth lined colander. Tie the corners of the cloth into a knot, forming a bag from which to drain off th. Slide a long-handled spoon beneath the knot and transfer the bag to hang inside the empty milk pot to drain. For 2 to5 hours, or until desired consistency.

4. Unmold the cheese and use right away, or cover and refrigerate up to 2 days.

Herbed Goat’s Cheese
Makes about 1/2 pound

This cheese is made with a combination of goat and cow's milk. The practice of blending cow and goat's milk is common, especially in France and Greece. After the cheese has been unmolded, it can be rolled in coarsely cracked peppercorns, if desired.

2 cups goat's milk
2 cups whipping cream
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh parsley
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1/2 tsp liquid rennet
1/4 cup cool water

1. Pour the milk and cream into a large pot. Stir in the yogurt, thyme, parsley and basil and place over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Pour the mixture through a strainer; discard the herbs, and return the milk mixture to the pot. Bring the mixture to 100°F, using a thermometer to check the temperature.

3. In a small cup, dissolve the rennet in the cold water. Add this mixture to the milk, and stir for 30 seconds. Remove the pot from the heat, cover and let stand for 2 more hours to form curds.

4. Cut the curd into 1" cubes, and gently stir. Carefully pour or spoon the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a large bowl and let drain about 1 hour. Turn the cheese out into a medium bowl and stir in the salt.

5. Line cheese molds, about 1 cup capacity, with cheesecloth. Fill molds with cheese, fold cloth over top and place a weight on top (about 2 pounds) and refrigerate under the weight overnight, or up to 2 days.

6. To serve, unmold cheese and remove cheesecloth. Cheese will keep up to week airtight in the refrigerator.

Goat’s Milk Feta Cheese
Makes about 1 pound

Feta is best known for its salty, tangy flavor and versatility. Once you have tasted freshly made feta, you might want to have it on hand all the time to add to salads and other Greek-style dishes. Use the cheese right away or store in salted water to cover in the refrigerator up to 4 seeks.

1 gallon goat's milk
1/4 cup cheese culture or buttermilk
1/2 tsp liquid rennet
1/4 cup cool water
Coarse salt

1. Pour the milk into a large, heavy-bottomed pot bring to 88°F, using a thermometer to check the temperature. Stir in the culture or buttermilk. Cover and let stand for 1 hour to ripen. Remove the pot from the heat.

2. In a small cup, dissolve the rennet in the cold water. Add this mixture to the milk, and stir for 30 seconds. Remove pot from heat, cover and let stand for 1 more hour to coagulate.

3. Using a knife, cut the curd into 1-inch cubes. Stir gently for 15 minutes, keeping the curds at 86°F.

4. Carefully pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander, tie the ends of the cheesecloth together to make a bag and hang to drain for four to six hours.

5. Slice the cheese ball in half and lay the slabs of cheese in a dish that can be covered. Sprinkle all the surfaces with coarse salt, cover and allow to set at room temperature for 24 hours.

6. After 24 hours, salt all the surfaces again and let it rest for two hours.

7. Place the cheese in a covered dish and refrigerate for five to seven days. Use within two weeks or freeze for future use.

Goat’s Milk Legends
Legend has it that Cleopatra bathed in it to keep her skin silky smooth. Pharaohs had goat's milk and cheese placed in their burial chambers for the afterlife. Today, the slightly sweet, sometimes lightly salted flavor of goat's milk is enjoyed worldwide.

Music break: Bohemian Rag by Tony Marcus