This simple cheese has several aliases. Two common ones are soft farmer’s cheese and “chevre.” They both are rather loose names.
“Farmer’s cheese” can refer to any of a number of different soft home-made cheeses which are eaten fresh.
“Chevre,” which actually means goat, could refer to many different cheeses. This recipe for “Farmer’s Cheese” is nearly identical with Neufchatel Cheese, the recipe for which I posted some time ago.
Note: I have modified this recipe from one I got from Julia Farmer a year or two back. She states that she got it from a book by Jean-Claude Le Jaouen, but did not mention the name of the book.
- Two gallons goats milk
- 1/4 cup cultured buttermilk
- ½ tablet Rennet (or two drops of liquid rennet)
1. Warm milk to room temperature (68-70°F)
2. Dissolve 1/2 of a rennet tablet in 1/4 cup lukewarm water.
3. Stir in buttermilk, mix thoroughly.
4. Stir in rennet, mix thoroughly, cover, let sit for 24 hours.
5. Check for clean break.
The curd should be firm enough to cut into 1/2 inch cubes (see page on Making 5 gallons of milk into cheese for pictures). Some recipes call for stirring the curds into a slurry, and pouring into a fairly tight weave bag to drain.
However, if the weave is too loose, such as with a single layer or two of cheese cloth, the fine curd will run through at first. I far prefer to cut the curd as it makes for more easily separated curds and whey.
6. Ladel the curds into a sterile cloth in a strainer (or colander), and suspend in a refrigerator or cool place.
7. Let the whey drain for 24 hours in a cool place.
Salt to taste (about 1-2 teaspoons), store covered in the refrigerator for a week or two. This cheese will not keep for much longer.
Julia Farmer further says that you can:
- Press into small cheese molds for little cheeses
- Roll them in ashes, place in a jar with garlic and herbs, cover with extra virgin olive oil
- Use it in cheese cake
- Whip the cheese up with some powdered sugar, vanilla extract and a bit of lemon juice until its well blended and then serve as dessert with sliced strawberries over the top.
“You can add a pinch of penicillium mold with the starter and cure them at 50°F for a Brie/Camembert clone.” I have not tried that one yet, but have made Blue Cheese with these curds with great success.