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Herbed Goat Cheese

August 30, 2010

by Elizabeth

In case you haven’t picked up on this yet, I am completely obsessed with cheese. It is by far my favorite ingredient, snack, course, and meal. My husband makes fun of me for always having at least four different types of cheese in our fridge, usually the number is closer to seven. I have five books solely dedicated to cheese. I wish we could have registered for a cheese of the month club. I dream about the walls of cheese at Central Market and becoming a cheese maker in a little European town.

So a few weeks ago, I did what any self-respecting cheese addict would do: I spent my Saturday making goat cheese. Actually, I shouldn’t say that – because it sounds totally pathetic because it only took about 15 minutes of actual “cooking.” I realize this probably makes me a crazy person, but it is amazingly simple, and the cheese was totally worth it. It was light and fresh (shocking, I know), and the best part is that you can control the texture of the cheese – so I made mine exactly how I like it, smooth and creamy (nothing makes me more mad than not being able to spread goat cheese on a crostini). The goat cheese does have a little kick of lemon flavor, so I think it is best with some fresh herbs mixed in. I used chives and dill, but you could use whatever herbs you like, roasted garlic or honey would be fab too.

Herbed Goat Cheese

adapted from Ceramic Canvas

1 quart goat’s milk (I found it at Central Market)
2 lemons – juiced
1 – 2 tablespoons minced herbs (I used chives and dill)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Special equipment: Instant read thermometer, cheese cloth (found at cooking stores)

Heat the milk over medium heat in a saucepan. Either clip the thermometer to the side of the pan, or periodically check the temperature. When the temperature reaches 180˙, remove the pan from the heat and add the lemon juice. Let stand until the milk is “set” – it will look thicker and a bit curdled, and a skin will have formed over the top. This will take 15 – 30 minutes.
Line a colander with several layers of cheesecloth, and carefully ladle the milk into it. Let it drain just a bit. Tie the four corners of the cheese cloth over the handle of a wooden spoon, and hang over a bowl. Let the cheese drain for 1-2 hours, until it has reached the desired consistency. The longer you let it drain, the dryer and more crumbly the cheese becomes. I only let mine drain for about an hour and it was perfectly creamy and spreadable.
Transfer the cheese to a bowl, stir in the herbs, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.

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