Tag Archives: goat cheese

Brooklyn Chevre’

I’m back on track making cheese after a little hiatus. It was raining yesterday in Brooklyn so I decided to make some goat cheese. Chevre’, meaning goat in french, is technically the term for all goat cheese but we think of chevre’ as the soft, cream cheese like goat cheese we are often used to in the USA.


Goat's Milk

I decided to make chevre’ with dill and garlic. I bought a half gallon of pasteurized goat’s milk and used my chevre’ starter from New England Cheesemaking which I keep in the freezer.

At left is the goat’s milk right out of the bottle in a pot on my stove.

I heated it to around 80 degrees (fahrenheit), added the starter and a few tablespoons of dissolved vegetable rennet. Rennet helps to coagulate milk. Rennet is traditionally made from the stomach lining of an animal but I prefer the vegetable variety. If you want to learn more about rennet, check out this article.

After mixing the milk for a few minutes, I covered it and just let it set for around 12 hours, waiting for the curd to form. After 12 hours, I had a nice curd in the pot – the milk becomes a custard-y consistency and there was a little bit of clear liquid at the top.

Dill and Garlic

Next, I minced some dill and 1 garlic clove and mixed it all up with the curds. Then, I ladled the curds into a butter muslin (cheese cloth) that I lined inside of a colander. Last, I tied the four corners of the muslin together and fastened the whole “bag” to my kitchen faucet, handing over the sink.

I let the bag hang, draining slowly, over the sink, over night.

In the morning, I united the bag and here is what I got:

Finished Garlic and Dill Chevre

From half a gallon of goat’s milk, I ended up with one small tupperware carton of chevre’. It’s delicious, fresh and not too “goat-y.” It’s a great starter cheese for anyone interested in cheesemaking. I’m going to bring mine to a dinner party and we’ll eat it on crackers and bread with olives and fresh vegetables.

Avi's Brooklyn Chevre

In America, Chevre’ only became popular in the 1980s. Laua Chenel is known as the mother of American goat cheese. She pioneered artisan chevre’ production in California and reigned as the doyenne of American goat cheese for more than 20 years. As the NY Times reported, Chenel’s business was bought out by a larger company in 2006.

Last but not least, have a look at some great chevre’ recipe suggestions from this Chowhound page.

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A Man Staring at Goats

The Men Who Stare at Goats

Well, it’s official – goats are everywhere. The latest Clooney movie is The Men Who Stare at Goats. According to Wikipedia, the film is about:

The book examines connections between paranormal military programs and psychological techniques being used for interrogation in the War on Terror. The book traces the evolution of these covert activities over the past three decades, and sees how they are alive today within U.S. Homeland Security and post-war Iraq. It examines the use of the theme tune toBarney & Friends on Iraqi prisoners-of-war, the smuggling of a hundred de-bleated goats into the Special Forces command center at Fort BraggNorth Carolina, and the connection between the U.S. military and the mass-suicide of members of the Heaven’s Gate cult in San Diego.[1]

Rabbis Goats and Other Characters

Then, I notice a neighborhood artist, Jonathan Blum with a new goat exhibit

If I could have a goat in Brooklyn, I would buy one right now. They are smart, nice and will eat just about anything. Then, I would be able to milk them twice a day and make my own cheese! Bliss. But where to put the goats? They’d be a mess on the streets of Brooklyn.

I got an idea while visting Georgia last summer. About an hour from Atlanta, in Tiger, GA,  I found a rest-stop/restaurant called Goats on the Roof. Below is a video I found of the place:

I think I could do Goats on the Roof in Brooklyn. What do you think?

Cheese in the Holy Land

Har Haruach Goat Farm

Har Haruach Goat Farm

All of the Biblical forefathers (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob,) and many of the biblical prophets raised goats and wandered in the desert with their flocks before the word of God made them give up the good life. Israel is known in the bible as Eretz Zavat Halav U’dvash– a land flowing with milk and honey. According to the egalitarian minyan of Chicago, Illinois, “The Talmud relates that our Sages saw goats eating from fig trees. The figs were so luscious that they were dripping with juice; the goats’ udders were so full that milk flowed out. These two liquids mingled into a sweet stream, and the land was literally “flowing with milk and honey.”

Although modern Israel’s leaders may not be of Biblical stature, the land is definitely still flowing with milk, honey and….cheese.

On my recent trip to Israel, I visited two goat farms and cheese producers with my friend Shirley. Har Haruach, translated as Wind Mountain is in the hills west of Jerusalem. It’s a gorgeous spot with about 130 goats and is open for Israeli and tourists to visit, see the goats, and sample or buy the cheese.

Sataf Goat

Sataf Goat

I also visited Sataf Goat Farm where I watched the bucks  fighting and head butting. Sataf Goat Farm is run by Shai Seltzer who founded it in 1974 and has been making cheese there ever since. I don’t thing he’s cut his beard since and he definitely looks the part:thecheese2

If anyone is visiting Israel, I highly recommend visiting some of these goat farms and cheese makers. It’s quite an experience to eat fresh goat cheese and to watch the goats wander on this special land.

If you want a more organized tour, there are organized culinary and dairy vacations run by Cooks in Israel. They can take you and your family on a bonafide dairy tour of the holy land.

To round things off, check out the boutique wine scene in Israel. From the Judean hills to the galilee, there are more than 100 boutique wineries producing quite good wines. Check out the Israel Wine Company for more information on the wineries and how to get some shipped to you in the US.

Last but not least, the goat cheese and fresh vegetables in Israel are incredible. After a hard day making cheese or hiking in the hills, a good Israeli recipe is for Israeli Couscous, goat cheese and fennel:

Find the whole recipe at FoodDownUnder

1 med fennel bulb
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup sliced fresh basil
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
3 x garlic cloves minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly-ground black pepper
1 x red bell pepper diced
1/2 cup sliced ripe olives
1 bn green onions chopped
1 cup Israeli couscous cooked
6 x Bibb lettuce leaves
1 pkt goat cheese – (2 1/2 oz) crumbled
Fennel fronds for garnish

Chevre Anyone?

Chevre with Dill and Leon

Chevre with Dill and Leon

To the left you can see my latest Chevre. This was a half goat, half cow milk concoction with a Chevre starter.

After making sure everything was super-clean / sterile, I heated the milk, added the starter, mixed, and let sit overnight. In the morning, a nice curd had formed which I ladled into cheesecloth sitting inside a colander.

I tied the cheese cloth to my sink spout and let it drain for about 7 hours.

Now, it’s the consistency of a thick cream-cheese. After unwrapping it from the cheesecloth, i added fresh, chopped dill, some lemon zest and about a half a lemon’s juice. Yum!!!

This is going to friends for them to enjoy like this:

Chevre with Wine

Chevre with Wine

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