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Cheese Course

Goat to cheese in seven easy steps

You canít often fulfill a dream with a gallon of milk and a little vinegar, but then, ours was not the typical dream. In 2003, my wife, Margaret, and I embarked on a great goat odyssey (chronicled in our book, The Year of the Goat). The journey, 40,000 miles in all, was spurred by a round of chevre, a desire to live closer to the land, and a yen to make something delicious with our own hands.

Five years later, we have our land and four goats, and have finally made our own cheese. This simple queso blanco was our first effortónot perfection, perhaps, but after five years and 40,000 miles, nothing has ever tasted so sweet. Hereís how to do it:

1. First, get yourself some goats. Then get them pregnant. This was the hardest part of cheese making for us. The first year we had goats, we tried to impregnate our two does, but it didn’t take. No kids, no milk, no cheese. If you want, you can just get yourself some milk and skip ahead to step five.

2. Milk the goats. We milk two of ours twice a day, and get about two gallons.

3. Filter the milk. We don’t pasteurize ours. Other than straining out a bit of hair or hay, the milk is straight from the goat.

4. Keep a log. We record the amount of milk we get each day to gauge how productive our girls are and help determine feed.

5. Heat the milk to 175 degrees and add 1/4 cup cider vinegar. Then drain the whey from the curd—this will become your cheese.

6. Hang the curd in cheesecloth (or use a cheese mold), let it drain for four or five more hours, and form it into cheese.

7. Remove the cheese from the cloth and enjoy!

 

KARL SCHATZ, A92, was the online picture editor for Time Magazine before he embarked on the journey that led to the publication of The Year of the Goat: 40,000 Miles and the Quest for the Perfect Cheese.

 
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