Wild Moon Cottage is a small working homestead in the pristine Ozark Mountains. We have dairy goats, poultry, organic herb and vegetable gardens, a start of a tiny fruit orchard, several black walnut trees, wild berries and fields of wildcrafting goodness. We raise our own milk, our own eggs, much of our own medicine and food. I do laundry by hand, make my own vinegar, candles, soap, bread, cheese ........ For a living I am an artist and herbalist. My goal for myself and our homestead is to be as self sufficient and self sustaining as possible.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Homemade Goat Cheese (Panir or Queso Blanco)

I learned to make cheese about a year ago. I learned with goat milk but have mainly made it with the raw cows milk I used to buy before we got Anya. Now I make it with our own goat milk :)

Queso Blanco or Panir sounds really tasty but the truth is, it's not. It's actually very bland, not bad at all, just bland. I like it on crackers with nothing else added but most people don't seem to care for it as it is. However, because it's so bland it's easy to flavor with other things and using in all sorts of way. It can be used a lot like tofu in cooking and makes any meal go further.

I still buy cheese because we love cheeses, sharp hard cheddar, gouda, baby swiss and port wine cheese are some of our favorites. But nothing can beat making your own cheese, especially if you have plenty of milk to use.

There are many recipes and I've tried a couple of different ways, they all seem to work fine so just pick one you like. The basic recipe I use mostly is ...


1 gallon of milk
1/4 to 1/2 cup vinegar (any kind will do and does effect the flavor)

Bring milk to 195 deg F, stirring often so it won't scorch. When it reaches 195 deg, stir in the vinegar, remove from heat and allow to set 5 to 10 minutes. It should start to curd right away. When you can see that the curds have separated from the whey it's ready to strain.

Here you can see the curds starting to sepaprate. The odd color is the whey.

Place a large colander or heavy strainer over a large bowl and line with fine cheesecloth, leaving enough cloth hanging over to tie up. When the curds have separated pour the curds and whey into the colander. Much of the whey will run into the bowl below. I let it drain that way for quite a while. you may even have to pour half, wait and pour the second half after a lot of the whey has drained out.

When you have more curd than whey in the colander you can tie the cloth and hang it drain more and firm up. How long it hangs depends on how firm you want it and humidity.

I don't have any good places to actually hang the cheese so, I use the spoon to suspend it over the colander.

I usually get around 1.5 pounds of cheese from a gallon of milk. You can also make smaller amounts at a time. I've made it with a quart of milk and 1/16 to 1/8 c vinegar.

The vinegar really does effect the taste as well. My homemade vinegar makes a much richer tasting cheese, my son prefer it made with white vinegar and I've tried differently herbed vinegars. Just experiment and find some you like.

The second part is adding herbs and things. When you add the thing depends on what you're adding. Usually, especially if I'm making eating cheese, I add herbs or sun dried tomatoes before or when I add the vinegar. I also almost always add a pinch or so of salt just before the vinegar. Not one basic cheese recipe I read called for salt but we like it a little salty.

Some very good things to add before or with the vinegar ...
chopped peppers
chopped olives
chopped sun dried tomatoes

I tried adding red wine and that didn't turn out well but I'll try again.

You can also add things after it's done hanging, like nuts, herbs or pepper. The last batch I made I will divide and leave one half plain and roll one half in crushed peppercorns.

When you're done just put it in a lidded bowl or wrap in plastic wrap and put in the fridge :)

Also, be sure and save the whey, it's wonderful for cooking !

You can also make a very good cheese with lemon or lime juice. i believe it 8 Tablespoons juice to 1 gallon of milk. I've only made it a few times but it was very good.


Marisa @ Getting Back To Basics said...

I love that you posted an easy to make cheese and I can't wait to try it. I keep coming back to your blog as you always come up with some interesting ways to do thing for yourself.

Tango said...

Can this same recipe be used for cow's milk? I've never tried goat cheese.

Juli said...

Yes it can. I made it with raw cows milk until about a month ago.

MyMaracas said...

It never occurred to me that I could make cheese at home. Assuming I can find raw milk somewhere, I'd love to try it. Your syrup recipe looks delicious, too.

JoyceAnn said...

WooHoo ~ I can't wait until I have goat's milk to make cheese , it's looks delicious. Especially with the herbs and spices.

~ Happy Day ~

Juli said...

I haven't tried it myself but I'm pretty sure you can use store or paseurized milk as well.

Ah Ngao said...

hi Juli,
does the cheese taste any salty?

Juli said...

Not salty at all by itself but you can add salt. I do add some salt.

the wild magnolia said...

It looks so fresh and clean and yummy.

the wild magnolia said...

Thanks for the blog visit & the follow. :)