Milk heated to just the right temperature, then mixed with a starter culture, is the basis for the stunning and endlessly diverse array of cheeses found across the world. To me this is not just extraordinary; it’s alchemy… food alchemy!
Store-bought vs. homemade goat cheese: no contest!
We’ve all been conditioned to buy our cheeses at the market. But you may have noticed—whenever it’s possible, I love making the food my family eats in my own kitchen. Don’t worry; I won’t be tackling (or publishing) Camemberts or aged cheddars any time soon—I’d rather purchase those gems from local artisans. But when it comes to fresh cheeses, the work is worth it. You just cannot compare a homemade cheese to the plastic-wrapped stuff found in supermarkets.
Making cheese at home is easier than you might think
I started making my own ricotta a couple of years ago, and I’ve never looked back. Then my interest expanded to include fresh goat cheese. Now I’m experimenting with other fresh cheeses (fromage blanc is next!). I find it to be pure joy.
This fresh goat cheese recipe is so simple. Three ingredients and a bit of time will give you the lightest, freshest, creamiest goat cheese you’ve ever tasted.
So here’s a promise: once you start making your own fresh cheeses, you’ll be hooked!
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Homemade fresh goat cheese
makes 1 lb (455 g)
1/2 gallon (190 cl) homogenized and pasteurized goat milk (not ultra-pasteurized or ultra-homogenized)
1/2 packet C20G chèvre starter (scant 1/8 teaspoon)
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
butter muslin (for draining soft cheeses)
- Use non-reactive cookware and utensils (stainless steel, ceramic, glass or plastic) to make your cheese.
- Remove the milk from refrigerator and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Place the milk in a heavy-bottomed non-reactive pot. Heat the milk over medium-low heat until it reaches 86 ºF (30 ºC). Gently stir the milk as it warms. Remove the pan from the stove and sprinkle the C20G starter over the whole surface of the milk. Let stand for 5 minutes to rehydrate the starter. Then whisk the milk for 20 seconds to distribute the starter evenly. Cover the pan and let stand at room temperature, undisturbed, for 12 to 18 hours until the curds form a solid mass and look like thick yogurt. The ideal room temperature for ripening the cheese is between 70 ºF and 75 ºF (21 ºC and 24 ºC).
- Wet the butter muslin with spring water and squeeze all the water out. Line a medium colander with the damp cheesecloth and suspend it over a large bowl or pot. Carefully ladle the curds into the colander. Cover and let drain for 2 hours. Sprinkle the curds with the salt and gently incorporate using a small silicone spatula or a fork. Grab the ends of the butter muslin and tie them into a knot. Suspend the cheese over a large bowl or pot for 4 to 8 hours, depending on how thick you’d like your goat cheese to be. (The longer you drain the cheese, the thicker it will get.) Once the cheese has reached the desired consistency, use it right away or transfer to a container and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.
- Cook’s note: The butter muslin can be reused many times. Once you’ve made your cheese, wash it thoroughly in warm soapy water, rinse it several times and hang it to dry. Now it’s ready for your next batch!
Here’s a fun way to serve your fresh goat cheese: Spoon the cheese into a glass jar. Top with minced fresh thyme and drizzle with a fruity olive oil, as shown in the photo below. Serve with a crusty loaf of bread or crackers.
Hi Viviane. Goats milk heated to 86 degrees. 1/8th teaspoon c20 mesophillic culture from new england cheese co….sprinkled over top….set for 5 and then whisked in….pot covered and set in oven for 12 hours……results…..mush. no curds. Where did i go wrong?
Hello Donn, I am sorry to hear about the snafu with your goat cheese. Did you use unhomogenized goat milk? In my experience, the curds will not form with unhomogenized milk. Also, you say you put your cheese in the oven. What temperature was your oven? The best temperature to age the cheese is 70F to 75F… I hope you don’t get discouraged and try it again. I’ve been making this cheese for many years on a regular basis and never have had a problem. You’re welcome to email me if you want to troubleshot a little more: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Hello Viviane, I just completed my first attempt (my husband LOVES goat cheese!), and my end result was very dry and crumbly even though I only did the final drain for three hours. What might I have done wrong? After the initial 12 hour rest, what was in the pot didn’t look quite as set as yours did in the video. Should I have let it sit longer?
Hi Katie! I am sorry your first attempt at making goat cheese wasn’t successful. But don’t give up! It definitely sounds like something didn’t go right. Go back to the recipe to troubleshoot. Start with the milk. Make sure the milk you used wasn’t ultra-homogenized. I use un-homogenized milk (with cream top) and it gives me the best results, although it works with homogenized milk too, but it won’t work with ultra-homogenized. Also did you use the right cheese cloth for straining the cheese? Did you use the right culture? From what you say, the curds didn’t form properly. It would be helpful for you to re-trace your steps and compare them with the recipe/video to find the culprit. I’ve been make this cheese every month for years now and fortunately, it has never failed. Let me know if I can help further. You are welcome to email me email@example.com for an easier way to communicate. Let me know how your next batch comes out… and good luck!
After reading your method for making goat’s cheese at home, I am really inspired to try and make it. Could you please tell me where to buy the starter and the butter muslin?
Hi Saada! I’m delighted this recipe inspired you. You can find the links (in green) to purchase the starter and butter muslin in the list of ingredients. Have fun making your cheese!
I have found a source for fresh goat milk and am sure it will be amazing, but am wondering if there is a safety issue with the milk not being pasturized.
How lucky you are, Patti! Getting goat milk straight from a farmer is an amazing find! However, I do recommend that you pasteurize it before you make this cheese, since we only heat the milk to 86F. Better safe than sorry… Enjoy making your cheese!
Must the goat milk be pasturized or can I use fresh raw milk?
Hi Phillie, It’s best (safest) to use pasteurized milk since you only heat the milk to 86°F to make this cheese. Enjoy!
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Hi, when you suspend the cheese over a pot for 6-12 hours, is that refrigerated, or not? I am going to try this for my next party!
Hi Lia! The cheese must drain at room temperature. In fact, you make the cheese at room temperature the entire time… Only refrigerate the cheese when it is done. Good luck and have fun!
Hi Viviane! I am starting my cheese tonight. I found great goat milk at the farmer’s market in Union Square. Question about the starter. It is kept in the freezer. Do I defrost it first? Or use it straight out of the freezer?
Hello Lia, there is no need to thaw your starter. It is such a small amount that it gets to room temperature very quickly. Let me know how your cheese turned out. I am making a batch myself tomorrow!
I am seeing home made goat cheese recipe first time.. Never thought that goat cheese can be made at home as well.. Thank you so much for sharing this recipe… Connecting you on insta
Hi Priya, Thank you so much for your note and for connecting on Instagram. I hope you do venture in making your own goat cheese. It’s simply marvelous!
wow…I need to give this a try too. It looks amazing!
Where do you recommend buying the goat milk & starter? I’m assuming the goat milktat Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods is too ultra pasteurized? I’m in the Boston area…
Hi Robin, I am able to find un-homogenized and pasteurized goat milk at Whole Foods in California. But I’m thinking that in the Boston area you probably have access to some wonderful gourmet food stores that would carry the right goat milk for this recipe, if your local WF doesn’t carry it. As for the starter, click on the link in the recipe, or click here: http://www.cheesemaking.com/shop/chevre-ds-culture-5-pack.html Good luck and have fun making your cheese!
Oh boy, brings me back to the year I did a monthly cheese challenge. it is so true some are really easy to make and so much better then store stuff. Not sure I made goat cheese but very curious to try soon!
Hi Vivian- Can I use fresh goats milk as opposed to homogenized? Thanks!
Hi Tina, Well, yes! You’re so lucky to be able to find fresh/raw goat milk… Your cheese will be even more delicious! Happy cheese making!
ahhh I’m dying to tackle homemade cheese! I adore goat cheese and this looks amazing. pinning!
Oh… thank you, Kayle!
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This is so amazing. I’ve never made my own cheese. I really need to try this.
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I love making ricotta, but I’ve never attempted goat cheese. I’d love to try it!
Lisa, thank you for stopping by… You’ll love making your own goat cheese. I have no doubt!
I love goat cheese but have never tasted the homemade version. I can only imagine how good it is!
Anita, thank you for your comment… Homemade goat cheese is really awesome!
This is amazing! I so would love to make my own goat cheese!
Kayle! I think you would love making your own goat cheese too. A most rewarding experience!