Three Simple Goat Cheeses You May Have Never Heard Of!
Reading Time: 4 minutes
These three cheeses are quick and easy, yet many home cheesemakers and goat owners have never heard of them! The first two are traditionally made with goat milk, while the third is usually a cow milk cheese but is easily adapted to goat milk.
First: French Brousse, which is made by just a few cheesemakers in the south of France using milk from a local rustic breed of goat, the Rove goat. The Rove goat was originally a meat goat breed and is named after the town of its origin. However, when goat meat became less popular in France, many farmers began to raise them as a dairy breed. While they are big goats, they are not very big producers. But their milk is creamier and thicker than many other goat breeds, making it good for cheesemaking. Rove goats are also very strong and hardy and well-suited for the region’s arid climate.
The Rove goat breed almost disappeared in the 1970s, and for a while, they were considered endangered. They are now protected by The Association De Defense Des Caprins Du Rove and number over 5000 head. In addition to being used as a dairy goat, they are also used for fire control since the vegetation on their lands are prone to fires but naturally sought out as a food source for the goats.
Since it’s unlikely most goat owners and home cheesemakers have access to Rove goats, any goat milk will do for this recipe — the higher the butterfat, the better! This cheese is quite simple in that it is just milk and vinegar. It is traditionally made in a horn-shaped mold or in tall thin basket forms, but I make it in petite baskets that are perfect for serving or sharing with someone special. It is delicious sprinkled with herbs or drizzled with honey.
- HEAT: Heat 2 quarts of goat milk quickly to just about the boiling point, stirring gently to keep from scorching. Remove from heat.
- COAGULATE: Add ½ cup white vinegar, stirring continuously until the milk curdles.
- LADLE: Ladle the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander and let drain for 2-3 minutes.
- FILL FORMS: Using your clean hands or a spoon, fill the baskets with the curds, packing the curds down and adding more curds until the form is completely filled.
- DRAIN: Let the curds drain for about 6 hours, then place in a refrigerator.
- UNMOLD: Unmold the cheeses as you are ready to eat them and sprinkle with herbs or drizzle with honey. Ideally, they should be eaten within 24 hours (but you can store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks).
Next up, Fresh Shepherd’s Mizithra — a traditional cheese that is an essential ingredient in many authentic Greek recipes and is quite simple to make. There are several different varieties of this cheese, but this specifically calls for goat milk and fresh whey from making some other kind of cheese. It can be salted more heavily and aged like Ricotta Salata, too, but I like it fresh.
Fresh Shepherd’s Mizithra
- HEAT: Heat 2 quarts of goat milk and 4 quarts of fresh whey to 90 degrees F. Remove from heat.
- COAGULATE: Add the juice of 1 lemon along with 1 tsp of salt.
- RIPEN: Cover and let the mixture ripen at room temperature for 2-3 days.
- DRAIN: Gently pour the curds into a cheesecloth-lined colander, tie opposite corners together to form a bag, and hang it to let it drain for 4-6 hours.
- REFRIGERATE: Remove the cheese from the cheesecloth and store it for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator. Use it in your favorite baked dessert recipe in place of ricotta or in popular Greek recipes such as Moussaka or Pastitsio.
And last but not least, English Coulommiers, also known as English Farmhouse Cheese. This cheese is similar to French Coulommiers, except that it is not mold-ripened. It’s not only effortless to make but is also very versatile in its use — from a breakfast accompaniment with fruit and toast to an easy gourmet appetizer when sprinkled with herbs and drizzled with olive oil. It can be made in various molds from a Camembert form to a large basket to petite baskets for individual servings.
Traditionally English Coulommiers is made from cow milk, but I make it with goat milk, and it works just fine.
- HEAT: Heat 1 gallon of milk (cow or goat) to 70 degrees F.
- CULTURE: Add 1/8 tsp mesophilic culture and continue heating to 90 degrees F while stirring.
- COAGULATE: Dilute 1/8 tsp liquid rennet (or 1/8 crushed rennet table) into ¼ cup non-chlorinated water and then stir into milk. Cover and let sit for 60 minutes (a little longer for cow milk).
- SCOOP: Use a skimmer to scoop thin layers of curd into your forms that are sitting on a draining rack. Refill several times until the forms are full, letting the curds settle between fillings.
- DRAIN: Let the curds drain at room temperature for 12 hours or overnight. Then flip the cheeses in their containers and let them drain another 12 hours.
- UNMOLD & SALT: Remove the cheeses from their forms and sprinkle all sides with salt (1 tsp for larger cheeses; ½ tsp or less for smaller cheeses).
- DRAIN IN REFRIGERATOR: Place cheeses on a mat and place in the refrigerator for 6-8 hours. Wipe any excess liquid in containers, and then wrap the cheeses individually in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
So, when you’re ready to take a break from chèvre, try these simple cheeses for a little change of pace. Enjoy!
Originally published in the March/April 2021 issue of Goat Journal and regularly vetted for accuracy.