Hooters Hall

Cheesemaking Basil & Garlic Goat’s Cheese

If you follow us on social media you’ll know we have two new Golden Guernsey goats at Hooters Hall. Hopefully by this time next year we will have a lot of goat’s milk. We’ve produced our own goat’s milk before but didn’t get the chance to make much cheese with it. This time round I’d like to make a variety of cheeses regularly, using herbs and other ingredients that we produce at Hooters Hall as well as our own milk. With that in mind I’ve decided to start learning more about making cheese in advance of having our own goat’s milk.

This weekend I started my cheesemaking education by making a simple fresh goat’s cheese flavoured with homegrown Basil and Garlic. There are lots of recipes and blogs available about cheesemaking but I decided to start with a cheesemaking kit I bought on Amazon.

A good place to get kits and individual ingredients for cheesemaking is Moorlands Cheesemakers

The kit that I bought came with a cheese thermometer, cheese salt, citric acid, dried herbs, cheesecloth and instructions.

The goat’s milk isn’t included in the kit but easy to get from the supermarket, I bought 2 litres from Sainsbury.

The cheese is a fresh cheese so doesn’t take long to make. I added cheese salt which means it should keep for about a week in the fridge but we ate most of it the day I made it.

The first step is to make a citric acid solution. This is added to the goat milk and then you heat the milk up to 85C, stirring regularly.  You stop heating at 85C and leave the milk to cool for 15 minutes.

While the milk was cooling I set up a colander lined with cheesecloth, in a bowl. I ladled the milk into the colander and then left it for an hour. During this time the whey liquid passes through the cheesecloth and you are left with the curd. I did give the curd a gentle squeeze to get out as much whey as possible.

Once you’ve got your curds you sprinkle on the cheese salt and then add any flavourings that you want. I used three cloves of raw, crushed garlic and a handful of chopped basil. To mix in the garlic and basil I simply pressed the curds flat, sprinkled on some basil / garlic then folded the curds over and repeated until I had added all of the basil and garlic. This method did result in a good even distribution of basil and garlic.

The final step was to mold the cheese into a log shape, I just rolled it by hand. Here’s a picture

We enjoyed the cheese later that evening as a starter served with crackers and grapes. It was very nice. The basil and garlic flavours were strong but not overpowering. The cheese texture was a bit like feta, a slight crumbliness but creamy and easy to spread.

I’m definitely going to make some more. For my next cheese I’m going to experiment with infusing flavours. I’ve read about this technique in the book Mastering Artisan Cheesemaking by Giancaclis Caldwell. I plan on infusing the milk with Rosemary which I have a lot of in the garden.

Over the next few months I hope to progress from this simple fresh goat’s cheese to explore a variety of cheese types and techniques. I’d like to make at least one of each of the following.

  • Soft ripened cheese e.g. Brie
  • Semi hard cheese e.g. Caerphilly
  • Hard pressed cheese e.g. Cheddar
  • Innoculated cheese e.g. white moulded Camembert & blue veined Blue Wensleydale

I also want to experiment with using the plants that I grow in making cheese. Obviously there’s a lot of herbs that can be used to add flavour and there are a variety of ways to do this but I’ve also read about using fig and vine leaves to wrap cheese and making your own rennet from thistles.

When we start milking our goats I’ll be exploring cheesemaking with raw milk. I’ll be blogging about all my adventures in cheesemaking and sharing pictures on our Facebook ,  Instagram , Twitter and Pinterest

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