Marinated Goat Cheese

Marinated Goat Cheese….brings my taste buds to attention and they yell yippee!!

It is hard to describe the fascinating blend and meld of various spices and flavors along with texture.  YOU must make this and try it for yourself.  The key is the longer that it marinates the more flavorful the cheese becomes.  I have found this personally extremely difficult as I have made batch after batch in the last month and they usually only last 24 hours.  Some may make it to the 48 hour mark but my marination time limit seems to be a few hours as I can’t stop eating this cheese.  I usually say I am going to have one piece of cheese for strength to do such and such and before you know it I am eating the cheese out of the jar straight and foregoing any proper meal for a cheese meal.  It is heaven.  I would NOT call this a low fat cheese.  I mean come on, it is goat cheese from Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats which are a goat breed known for extreme HIGH butter fat, marinated in OIL for heavens sake.  If you are looking for low fat.  Leave my blog now, run…screaming!  If you are looking for real taste and intense flavor that is so lacking in prepared modern food, well put your feet up, read, print, and get to making your own cheese.  Trust me, I am NOT sharing.  I have been trying to make a batch to take to my BFF for weeks now.  By trying, well I make it and end up eating it before I go see her.  It has happened more than once.  I thought there was something wrong with me.  Instead of a crack addict, I am a cheese addict!!  I thought making her a jar of her own when I made a jar for me would do the trick.  NOOOOO….I finished mine off and sat and looked at her jar for 2 days.  I lost it yesterday and ate her jar for brekkie.  I had to hurry and make a double batch that afternoon so I had a full jar of my own and a jar for her.  I knew that I could pace myself to at least manage to make MY jar last 24 hours.  She got her jar.  OMG, talk about catching.  This cheese addiction.  She ate almost half her jar in just a few minutes and was bemoaning the fact that she wanted to eat it all right than and there.  What to do, what to do.  She asked me if I wanted a piece.  I said no, yes..but no.  She said you do realize how hard that was for me to ask to share.  To which I responded yes and  you do realize how hard it was for me to say no.  Before you feel too sorry for me, I consoled myself with about a third of my jar when I got home instead of dinner.

Jill, one of my Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats

By now I am guessing you are about salivating.  So without further ado, HERE is my old post with my basic goat cheese recipe.  First you start by making the cheese.  If you don’t have goat milk and can tolerate cows milk, you don’t have to use goat milk.  This recipe will work with any real milk.  None of that low fat crap.  It has to be milk with FAT in it, so you need to go for FULL WHOLE MILK at the barest minimum.  Raw milk from a high fat cow or a high fat goat is best for a higher yield cheese and a milder flavor.

Once you get your basic recipe made, put it in a cheese press and press the whey out.  Press it maybe an hour or two.  Flip the sides and press the other side for another hour or two.  Take it out of the press and slice it into little bite size cubes.  You can go as little or as big as you want keeping in mind a simple limitation.  Your mouth is only so big and it doesn’t hinge top.  Smaller cube size like you see on cheese party trays with toothpicks is better because you can pack more cheese in the jar which means you get more tasty cheese and use much less oil.  This marinated cheese does not need to be refrigerated.  The oil and vinegar combo preserve it for a fair amount of time and the cheese is preserved in the mixture as long as the oil covers the cheese.  If you somehow can leave it for a long time enough that it goes bad, your olive oil will be rancid and stink and you will be able to smell it.

While the cheese is pressing is when I get down to making taste bud happiness.  Find a jar and make sure it has a lid that will fit tightly so you can turn the jar up side down now and than to mix the spices.  Also make sure the lid is one that you can open relatively well as when having a cheese craving it is horrid to not be able to get the lid off.  My jar is rather large.  It holds a net weight of 2 lbs.  (yes I know that is a lot of cheese to eat in a 24-48 hour time frame but you haven’t tasted THIS cheese yet so shut up!)  This is where the creation part comes in.  I take about 10 nice size cloves of garlic, peel them and maybe slice them in half.  If it is a smaller clove I leave it whole.  Throw those in the bottom of the jar.  I take a Balenese Long Black Pepper corn and break it in half or 3 pieces if it is long enough and throw in.  You could substitute regular peppercorns and I would probably use about 5-7 round peppercorns whole for that size jar.  I usually throw in about 2 TBS of dried minced onions, sprinkle in even more garlic powder as you want it very flavorful.  Throw in 1-2 Bay leaves whole.  1-2 TBS of Rosemary, not the ground type but the type that still looks like it just came off the plant.  Now comes the time that I impatiently wait for the cheese to finish pressing so I can chop it.  Once the cheese is chopped into your bite size pieces, I gently set those down in the jar on top of the spices filling the jar to the bottom of the threads of the screw cap.  I take an extra virgin olive oil, which if it is fresh and has been processed correctly will be GREEN not that horrid amber brown crap in the store, and pour it gently over the cheese and spices to fill it up to just over the tip of the top piece of cheese.  I take a lovely Balsamic Vinegar made right here in Canon City, CO at our Holy Cross Abbey and pour several Tablespoons over the top of the cheese and oil.  The vinegar will be heavier than the oil and settle.  I personally think that the vinegar with the spices MAKES this cheese.  Since it always settles at the bottom, I take the jar with lid firmly attached and rotate the jar from top to bottom slowly to get the spices and vinegar to move around.  I do NOT shake the jar as the cheese is fragile and will crumble into little bits.  It will taste wonderful but how do you get it out of the oil it if is in little bits?  Put the lid on, set it on a folded piece of paper towel as no matter how careful you are the oil will leak, and TRY to wait for a while to let it marinate before you devour it.

Sweet Pea, Jill’s Mom. Both are my main milkers and cheese makers!

I just finished my jar off this morning.  Record in that it was about 48 hours.  I have that oil with all those spices and little bits of cheese crumbled up in it.  Did I mention that the cheese doesn’t really melt like a traditional cheese.  It does however fry up nicely.  I bought a lovely Tri Tip Steak and a Top Sirloin Steak.  I am thinking those steaks in that oil with spices and crumbled cheese, fried all together…..get out of my way.  Where is my cast iron skillet??

A Simple Goat Cheese Recipe for the Homestead

I have had many folks ask me how I make my lovely goat cheese.  I do not use all those fancy additives, equipment, or anything outside of the ordinary kitchen utensils.  I have a very simple recipe that creates a white goat cheese that can be pressed to make a harder cheese that will slice when cold but not as well as a store hard cheese.  It can be mixed with cream cheese to make a lovely spread. It can have some of the whey left in to create a softer cheese that will not harden or crumble as easily.  Or you can drain all the whey off, cool and let the cheese harden and crumble.  Each is just a slight adjustment with nothing fancy required depending on your desired end use of the cheese.

1 gallon of goat milk (I use raw, some like to pasteurize)

1/2-1 cup of white wine vinegar

Nubian Princesses

salt and pepper to taste

herbs to taste

Bring the goat milk slowly to a just starting to roll boil, add in the 1/2-1 cup (you can use less vinegar but I like to use 1 cup for 1 gallon) of vinegar and stir.  Turn off the heat as you are stirring the vinegar in and you will see the curds and whey start to separate almost immediately.  You must stir as the milk heats up and while separating the curds and whey or the milk can burn and stick to the bottom of the pan.   This will affect your cheese taste.  The curds will be very small and if you let it set on the stove off the heat for a couple of minutes I have found the curds will start to drop to the bottom with the whey separating more to the top.  I use a very finely wire mesh strainer and pour off as much of the whey through the strainer into a bucket or pan as possible without getting much of the curds in.  This I do to start with so that the curds don’t get trapped in the mesh immediately and slow down the draining.  Once I get most of the whey poured off, I start to pour some of the whey and curds mixture left into the strainer and let the whey continue to drain off.  I have a clean dry tub or bowl ready and put the curds that the whey has drained off into the bowl.  I continue to do this with new portions until all the whey has been separated and I have just curds left.  Then I salt and pepper it to taste.  I generally need more salt and pepper than most folks would expect but it is specific to your tastes as well as what you plan on using the cheese for.

Plain:  I just use a small amount of salt and pepper and then cool

Rosemary:  I use salt and pepper and dried crushed rosemary

Garlic Chive:  I use salt, pepper, garlic powder, and fresh chives chopped very fine from garden

Holiday:  Substitute apple cider vinegar for the white wine vinegar to give a sweeter taste, add some agave or brown sugar, than spice with salt, cinnamon, all spice, and nutmeg.  chop some raisins or currants very fine and add.  Chop any nuts of your choice finely and add.

Be brave and try spicing it with various things.  Add a packet of cream cheese to the mixture while still warm and mix to give an added smooth texture for spreading.  cool in the fridge and enjoy.

Don’t forget, your chickens will love you if you give that whey to them for breakfast the next day!