I haven’t written a post in a long time, but I’ve been busy! The twins are six weeks old, and Leon is 14 months old so they take up most of my day. Then there’s laundry (3 babies in cloth diapers) and cooking and finding time for personal hygiene, and sweeping, dishes….
It’s overwhelming and never ending, and that doesn’t include our farm business. Thankfully Carlos has been able to work full time in the garden and my sister is here to help with harvesting and deliveries. I’m still getting used to being housebound and adjusting to my new role as farm wife and mother. On the one hand, I am ambitious and career oriented and resentful of being “just a stay at home mom”, but on the other, I don’t want to add to my already considerable responsibilities.
Anyway, while browsing YouTube we discovered a great video on making goat cheese that makes use of a wild plant we have growing all around us. Making cheese seems like something I can do from home that will contribute to our farm business.
Our first attempt at goat cheese came out delicious. Not to exaggerate, but everyone who has tried it says its the best cheese they have ever tasted.
Here’s what we did:
Carlos milked our four milking goats twice a day and saved it up in the refrigerator. Normally our baby gets to drink it, so we had to water it down a little more for him and substitute with homemade rice milk. It only took two days until we were ready.
First we heated up 2 gallons of milk until it was very hot but I could still stick my finger in it. Scientific, I know. Meanwhile, we had crushed up berries from the lovely trompillo plant which is a native plant that can be found in sunny wet locations, like the edges of farms or irrigation canals. We let that sit in about 2 cups of suero (whey), from the previous batch of cheese. You can use water if this is your first batch. If you don’t have trompillo, you can use store bought caujo , (rennet).
Then we dumped the trompillo-whey solution into the hot milk and let it sit for about an hour and a half. You’ll know it’s ready when you see a translucent liquid forming on top of the milk. Next, we stirred the caujo with a spatula to break up the coagulated milk into big chunks.
On the side we set up a colander inside of a bowl such that there’s space under the colander. In the colander we laid the cheesecloth. Using a wide flat spoon with holes, we scooped the chunky milk into the cheesecloth.
The suero began to drain. I gathered the corners of the cloth and twisted to help the liquid drain. In the picture we tied the cloth but you don’t have to. This time I wrung it out a few times and then just let it sit.
After a few hours it was thick and moist but the suero had nearly drained completely. I scooped the cheese into a mold, added salt, and mixed it up by squeezing with my hand. That’s it! It went into the fridge where it will dry a bit more.
We saved all the whey to make cream cheese. I heated up the whey until its just about to boil and then let it sit. When it’s ready I’ll do the same thing I did with the cheese except I’ll double the cheesecloth. I can’t wait to see how it turns out!
It’s so satisfying to make cheese at home!