Recipe: Homemade Cream Cheese (you can use goat milk!)
Goat milk cream cheese on toast with jalapeno jelly.
People who learn that I have backyard dairy goats always ask me, “Do you make cheese?” I know that they’re thinking of chevre, or maybe some feta now and then. But what people don’t realize is that you can make a wide variety of cheeses using goat milk. And, as a bonus, milk from doe goats that are not kept with bucks is sweeter and less “goaty” tasting than most of the goat milk that’s available commercially.
In our house we mostly like to use our goat milk in things that can be made quickly, which means yogurt, cream cheese, and mozzarella. Homemade cream cheese is every bit as rich and smooth as commercial cream cheese, but it doesn’t have that gummy quality. It’s delicious, and you can easily make enough to last a few weeks. The actual “hands on” time for this recipe is very little.
You can purchase the culture and rennet online at the New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, or possibly locally at a cheese/beer/wine-making shop. If you buy from the online source, you’ll want the “Mesophilic Direct Set MA 011” culture. You’ll also see that I like to use muslin instead of cheesecloth. Muslin is inexpensive, and you can find it at a fabric store.
I’ve written the recipe first, and then included some photos below to give you a peek at the process.
Homemade Cream Cheese
Yield: about 6 blocks
2 quarts pasteurized whole goat or cow milk*
1/8 tsp Mesophilic DVI (direct set) MA culture
3 drops of liquid rennet in 1/8 cup of nonchlorinated water (measure out 2 teaspoons of this mixture and discard the rest)
1 tsp kosher salt (if you use table salt, cut back to 1/2 tsp)
*If you have raw milk, I would advise pasteurizing it for this recipe. The cheese sits out for many hours, and there’s no pasteurization inherent in the directions. To pasteurize your milk, heat it (preferably in a double boiler) to 165 degrees F, then chill it quickly. More detailed pasteurization instructions here.
- Warm the milk to 86 degrees F. Add the culture and the rennet solution (remember, just 2 teaspoons of the mixture). Stir well, then cover the pot and set aside. Allow it to sit at room temperature (about 70 degrees F) for 12-18 hours, until it has the consistency of yogurt.
- Line a colander with muslin and ladle the curds into the colander (set inside a large pot, which will catch the whey). Cover the colander and allow it to drain for about 12 hours. This should also be done at room temperature.
- Remove the lid and sprinkle the salt over the cheese, then work the salt in with a spatula. The easiest way to do this is to just leave the cheese in the colander/muslin while you stir it.
- If you have small containers (about 6 of them), you can spoon the cheese into them. Otherwise, line a dish (a 9″x9″ Pyrex dish works well) with plastic wrap. Spoon the cheese into the dish and smooth the top. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator until it’s chilled through.
- Dump the cheese out of the dish and cut into 6 blocks. Wrap the blocks in aluminum foil. The ones you are not using immediately can be placed in the freezer.
As always, please let me know if you have any questions or hit any snags when trying this recipe. Happy cheesemaking!
Soft cheese that has been ladled into a colander (lined with muslin) and left to drain for 12 hours.
The whey that drains out of the cheese — caught in the pot that was under the colander.
Stirring the salt into the cheese.
A 9″x9″ Pyrex dish lined with plastic wrap, filled with new cream cheese.
After the cheese has chilled, dump it out of the dish.
Cut the cheese into 6 blocks, then wrap in aluminium foil (or place in small containers).