Chèvre is that soft goat cheese that most people generically call “goat cheese.” It is a delicious snack or appetizer spread on crackers or bread, and it makes a scrumptious sandwich when paired with grilled mushrooms and peppers. You can also use it to make chocolate truffles and pumpkin cheesecake. I was amazed when I learned just how simple it is to make goat cheese.
You can ease into working with cultures and rennet by getting a chèvre direct-set starter from a cheese making supply company, such as New England Cheesemaking. Direct-set starters package the rennet and culture together, which makes the whole process extremely simple. This was the cheese that got me started on my cheesemaking journey in 2002.
Makes 1–2 pounds.
- 1 gallon pasteurized goat milk
- 1 packet commercial chèvre direct-set starter
Heat the milk over low heat until it reaches 86° F. Add the direct-set starter. Let the milk sit at room temperature for about 10 hours; then put it into molds or a cheesecloth-lined colander (as you did with the queso blanco) to drain for 6 to 12 hours—voila, you have cheese!
Depending upon what breed of goats you have, the butterfat will vary, and that will determine your yield. Milk from Nigerian dwarf goats has butterfat that averaged about 6.5%, so the yield will be higher than if you have a larger breed of goat, whose butterfat is usually about 3.5%. Nubian milk will fall in between the two with a butterfat of 4.5%.
But butterfat changes seasonally, and since we used to be on milk test, we know that in winter, many of our goats are producing milk that has butterfat of 10% or more, meaning an even better yield when we make cheese.
If you want something a little fancier than plain chèvre, you can layer it with herbs as you are putting the curds into the molds, as shown in the video below. Some of our favorites are dill and garlic, herbs de Provence, and even sweet options like cinnamon and sugar or cocoa and sugar. If you pair the cinnamon or cocoa chèvre with graham crackers, it’s like having little mini cheesecakes.
Whether you are making chèvre or any other type of cheese, my number one recommendation for buying your culture, rennet, and equipment is New England Cheesemaking. I’ve been a customer of theirs since I started making cheese in 2002. Links in this post to their website are affiliate links, which means I will earn a small commission if you place an order after clicking. This is one way that we are able to continue providing free content for you on our website and through our newsletters.
If you want to learn to make cheese the old-fashioned way without commercial starters, that’s the subject of my Natural Cheesemaking book review.
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