Homemade Cheese / Queso Casero

Cheese is a food derived from milk, produced in a wide range of flavors, textures, and forms. It consists of proteins and fat from milk, usually the milk of cows, buffalo, goats, or sheep. Wikipedia

There are hundreds of types of cheese made around the world and I love them all, or almost all. In fact, cheese is the number one thing in my grocery list. I love it so much, I can’t live without it! 

Here in San Diego, we have stores like Assanti’s who has a great variety of Italian style cheese, like fresh mozzarella and smoked scamorza.  Venissimo Cheese sells many kinds of European style cheeses. At La Jolla farmers' market, we have Spring Hill Cheese Petaluma Creamery who offers numerous types of aged cheese. And let’s not forget the many Mexican shops that sell freshly made queso fresco, a ranch style cheese, one of my favorites! All these places have fantastic cheese.

Long time ago, my cousin Rosa taught me how to make queso fresco which I made every now and then. I also learned how to make yogurt cheese. Recently, I learned how to make two new varieties; paneer, an Indian cheese, and goat cheese. I’m so excited to show you how incredibly easy preparing homemade cheese is. Here is a recipe for goat cheese; I will show you how I made paneer in a different post.

Homemade Goat Cheese

1 quart of goat milk
¼ cup of water
1 hipping teaspoons of citric acid
Sea salt to taste

Dissolve citric acid in water. In a heavy bottomed pot, combine milk with citric acid mixture and cook over medium heat, stirring continuously. When the milk reaches 180°F, remove from the heat and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Invert the mixture into a kitchen towel draped over a bowl - I suspended a strainer between the bowl and the towel - let it drain for several hours in the refrigerator - I drained mine overnight.  Transfer the cheese to a bowl and season it with salt to taste. Form into a log with the help of plastic wrap or spoon into a container and refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour before serving. Enjoy it spread on bread or crackers or marinate it like I did in the following recipe.

Marinated Goat Cheese

4 oz goat cheese 
2 sprig rosemary
2 sprig thyme
2 bay leaves, broken into pieces
½ Tablespoon black peppercorns, coarsely crushed
½ Tablespoon white peppercorns, coarsely crushed
2 garlic cloves, pealed
Extra virgin olive oil as needed

Cut cheese in medallions and form balls the size of a large marble. In the bottom of a clean jar, place half of the herbs, garlic and spices. Add the cheese, the remaining herbs, garlic and spices, and cover with olive oil. Let the cheese marinade for several hours. Store in the refrigerator but let it come to a room temperature before serving. This will last for several days in the refrigerator, if you can stand it. Mine did not last; we ate it all in one sitting!