It’s been busy recently. I’ve traveled by car, plane, train, bus, and even puttered around on foot. With the worst of the travel insanity over, I’ve been settling into the 3-ring circus that is my mother’s dairy. First, we have the dog (we’re working on becoming good friends; he knows sit, off, come, and no but down and stay are still works in progress). Great leash manners, very sociable. You’ll see he’s pretty large; the back of his head to the end of his nose is actually the full length of my forearm. I’m planning to start running with him at some point in the near future– he’s old enough, and can certainly out run me!
And now the critters who actually make it a dairy. The goats are named Star (larger one) and Beth (smaller one). Star is providing about a quart of milk a day, and keeping us in cheese, pictured above. They’re still a little shy about going outside, but the plan is to have them keep some land clear as well as providing milk. Pictured all the way to the right is an edge of the chief milker and cheesemaker, Mom. My assignment for the day? Dig out some steps to the goat barn so the chief milker has as easier time not falling up the hill.
Fresh Dill Goat Cheese
1 quart goat milk (we scald/pasteurize it)
1 T dried dill weed
1 1/2 to 2 T (or, 4-6 t) fresh lemon juice
Bring milk to a roiling boil. Remove milk from heat and stir in lemon juice. Return to low heat and stir until the milk white curds have separated from the yellowish whey. Strain the whey from the curds by pouring into a cheesecloth* lined colander. The whey will be draining from the cheese, so I recommend doing this over a pot or bowl. Mix in the dill. Press the cheese, cover with cheesecloth, and place a weight (like a quart jar filled with water on top of an appropriately sized plate) on top. The longer you leave the weight on the cheese, the firmer your cheese’s texture will be. 15 minutes of weight time is a good starting point for a soft cheese, and 30 minutes to an hour will yield a firm cheese.
*Cheesecloth comes in different qualities. Grocery store cheesecloth is flimsy, so you would need three or four layers of grocery store cheesecloth. Cheese-quality cheesecloth is available from cheesemaking supply companies, and you would only need one layer. Linen or muslin napkins can be used in a pinch, too.