Yields: 1 pound or 1/2 pound and 1 wheel
Cooking Time: 18-20 hours
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ready In: 18-20 hours, 4 hours to hang, sit for 32 hours, and another 8 hours on a plate
Make Sure You Have: a thermometer, large pot, ricotta form or any form, cheese cloth, kitchen twine.
1. Pour the gallon of milk (goat, sheep, or cow) into the pot from the edge of the container. Heat the milk up to 86℉ over low heat. Its going to take about 10-15 minutes to get the heat up to 86℉ so make sure to give it a gentle stir once in a while.
2. Once heat is up to 86℉, take the ¼ tsp calcium chloride for every gallon of milk. But before you add in the ¼ tsp of calcium chloride you must dilute it in a ¼ cup of either bottle water or filter water. Pour it into the pot by drizzling it onto a spoon for a more even distribution. Stir and mix in.
3. Now add in the mesophilic culture and rennet. To make life really easy look for a package that has both of these culture and rennet. Let it set for 30 seconds and use the up and down motion to stir in the culture and rennet in.
4. Now the cheese needs to sit for 18-20 hours and the most important thing is that it has to be maintained in a 72-86℉ temperature. One alternative is to use a water bath which is just a huge pot with water that is set at 86℉ temperature.
5. Rest the pot with the cheese inside and on top of the larger pot and leave it for 18-20 hours.
6. After about 20 hours make sure you check the cheese and temperature. Once you see the cheese has massed under the whey you need to drain the cheese.
7. One way to strain your curd and shape it, is to use a ricotta form or any other form and spoon the cheese in carefully. Add the curd into the form carefully and slowly let it drain as you continue to add more curd on top.
8. Another method to strain your curd is to take a bowl and lay a dampened cheese cloth inside the bowl, then spoon the curd into the cheese cloth lined bowl.
9. Now let it sit and drain until it is a little firm and ready to hang. If using the cheese cloth method, take the edges and tie it up with a kitchen twine and hang it up with the bowl under it. Let it hang for about 4 hours.
10. If using the cheese form method, let it drain for about 4 hours.
11. Take the formed cheese, rest your hand on the cheese and flip it out of the form. Return it into the form again so that the bottom of the cheese is now on top. Now let it sit for 32 hours and flip it every 4 to 8 hours like Laura likes to.
12. After 32 hours you should have a beautiful aged stable chèvre. Add in a sprinkling of salt over the top, and then flip it to the other side and lightly sprinkle more salt. Let it sit on a plate for about 8 hours making sure to flip it at the half way point.
13. After 8 hours place the cheese on a board and take any herb you like, Laura used (dried chives, lavender, pink peppercorns, paprika) and spread over the top of the cheese. Pat the herbs down on to the cheese and cut a piece out to taste the creamy deliciousness!