Making artisan goat cheese
There's nothing like the taste of fresh artisan cheese, and if you happen to have a dairy cow, goat or sheep, you can actually make it yourself. Believe it or not, you don't need a bunch of fancy equipment to get started, either. You can make your own cheese with just milk, a soup pot, culture, enzyme, a ladle and a cloth-lined colander.
Radio interview source: Anne Topham, Cheese maker, Fantome Farm
Once you’ve had the fresh flavor of artisan cheese made on small farms, you'll be hooked. Goat cheese is surprisingly easy to make, so maybe you should give it a try.
Wisconsin acreage owner Anne Topham raises goats and has been making her own artisan goat cheese for years. She says making it isn’t the hard part – it’s coordinating the milk and cheese production.
"For a hundred pounds of milk, I would get anywhere from 13-to-say-18 pounds of cheese," she says. "For a cheddar, for a hundred pounds of milk, you would get 8-to-10 pounds of cheese. A lot of it is high-moisture cheese and so you get more total output in terms of pounds because of the moisture content."
Goats are seasonal with their milk output, so that makes a big difference in cheese making. When they’re producing a lot of milk, the amount of milkfat and protein goes down. So it takes more milk to make the same amount of cheese.
Fortunately, you don’t have to have a big herd to make cheese. One prolific goat could produce enough milk to get going. Anne says you won’t need to invest in much cheese-making equipment, either. Start with a soup pot.
"And hopefully you’d have a big enough pot you could put some water in it and another pot inside that so you could gently heat the milk," says Topham. "And if you wanted to pasteurize it you could do it that way. You would need some culture to put in and you would need some rennet or a microbial enzyme to help coagulate the milk. And then you would need a spoon or a ladle to dip that cheese into a draining cloth in a colander. And you could do it."
And have fun with this culinary adventure. Anne’s specialty cheese is Chevre that's both plain and seasoned with herbs. She’s also trying a new recipe that incorporates organic apple cider.
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