Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Yogurt and Goats' Cheese

This morning I felt like I ought to get back into the habit of yogurt making - it's so quick and easy, as well as cheap. Two pints of organic whole milk cost about £1, so you get a pint of yogurt for about 50p (plus a bit for the gas to heat it!) as opposed to the £1.50 or so you'd pay in the shop. Living next door to my mum (who taught me the simple art of yogurt-making and bought me my yogurt thermometer) means that we can each take it in turns to make it - it's no extra trouble to make twice as much and pour it into two separate containers than to make just enough for one.

It's so simple (though you must be careful to wash and rinse everything first to keep a good level of hygiene) - pour your two litres of organic whole milk into a pan along with a milk saver (so you can hear when it reaches simmering-point), heat until it simmers, then remove from heat. Put your yogurt thermometer in with the milk, and wait until the temperature has dropped enough (between 43-49 degrees C). Then put your starter (a teaspoonful of live yogurt) into an insulated container, thoroughly mix in a tablespoon of the warm milk, then stir in the remainder of the warm milk. Put the lid on the insulated container and leave for 8 hours or so - that's it!

The goats' cheese was a new experience for me. A week or so ago, Phil insisted that we buy a litre of organic goats milk (so that he could try out making some cheese), and it's just sat there in the fridge making us both feel a bit wasteful and guilty. So I asked if he didn't mind me using it, now that it was almost out of date, and he readily agreed.

I had a look in our new Cheese Making book (bought as a Christmas present for all four of us on the smallholding, in the hope that it might be useful as some kind of a textbook) and couldn't find a recipe which simply required goats' milk and lemon juice - the book wants you to buy some sort of cheese starter for everything (first fail right there), so I did a quick Google search. I came up with this - English is definitely not a first language for the author of this site (judging by the references to the "Diary Goat") but the milk and lemon juice recipe was there. You heat the milk until it simmers, add some salt (and any herbs you fancy), take it off the heat and gently mix in some lemon juice (half a lemon for a litre of milk) so that the curds separate from the whey, then pour the mixture into some cheese-cloth (lovingly draped over a colander) and drain. Then you can bunch it up in the cloth and squeeze - makes for a deeply satisfying sensation! The book might have come up trumps with its note regarding being gentle with your goats' milk - if you pour from a height or stir too violently it will end up tasting goatier than ever - uh oh!

Hmm, I shall be reporting back on how the cheese turned out - though it doesn't look like there's going to be very much of it after all that... I must apologise for not having any photos lately. I think what been happening is I've been getting really involved with the things I/we've been doing, and completely forget to take any before or after pics... I shall work on it! :)


  1. Lovely lady, I am adoring the new and hugely relaxed tone your blog has taken on! It sounds like you're having a whale of a time in your new home, and deservedly so:-)

    I made paneer at work the other day, which is essentially the same process. It was sooo tasty, I bet your goat's cheese was delicious! I shall have to come to visit soon to check it out for myself:-)

    Lovelovelove xxxx

  2. Drat! I meant to add that I tried to make yoghurt once with a very similar method, and it went wrong. I didn't have a thermometer though, so perhaps that was why? I shall have to have another go, since I could eat the stuff til the cows (or other milk-able animals) come home. Speaking of which, are you going to have something milk-able on the smallholding? Except for yourself, that is;-)