It’s that time of year again! We’re milking the dairy goats now that their babies have been put onto bottles. Once all the bottles have been distributed we end up with about 1/2 gallon per milking session. The plan is to milk twice a day which means a gallon of milk is up for grabs each day. We usually milk from April until October. That means we end up with a lot of milk and not many milk drinkers to drink it all, so we had to get creative. Making cheese has become our most favorite and easiest way to use up the milk. After some experimenting with many varieties we’ve settled on a fromage blanc (or also known as quark) recipe that’s very easy but also super delicious. It’s so yummy that we end up with a waiting list of friends who want some for themselves.
Let’s get started. We try to use about 1 1/2 gallons of milk each cheese making session, so we can potentially make cheese every other day. The first thing to do is get the milk to 86°.
Once the temperature is reached we have to add 3 tablespoons of buttermilk, 3 drops of calcium chloride, and 3 drops of animal rennet. These chemicals will start the process of separating the whey from the curds.
After all the ingredients have been added, then we just cover the cheese and let it sit in a cool dry place for 12 or so hours.
The next step is to separate the whey from the curds. We set a colander in the sink lined with a cloth. Then we just start scooping the curds onto the fabric. Just a note here that these curds aren’t as firm as usual because didn’t have buttermilk on hand. We used sour cream kind of as an experiment. It turns out that sour cream will work, but it’s not as good of as a substitute as we had hoped.
Once all the curds are loaded up into the fabric, then we tie the opposite corners to each other so that it can hang up to drain.
The curds are hung up for draining for around 8-10 hours. The longer the draining the dryer the cheese. We tend to like our cheese to be spreadable for crackers, bagels, toast, etc. However, we’ve let it dry a little longer to get more a crumbly texture for salads, tacos, and other such recipes that call for cheese crumbles. Yes, we have quite the high tech cheese hanging system using an old broom stick and trussing string.
The final steps are to mix up the cheese to smooth out the texture and stir in some salt to get the preferred flavor.
We ended up draining the cheese a little longer than preferred, so we added back a couple spoonfuls of whey to add moisture.
We usually end up with with five 8-ounce containers that are good for up to 2 weeks in the fridge.