This weekend my husband, Mike and I attended a class called "Goat keeping, home dairying and cheese making basics." With my hair in pig tails, I conjured up my inner farm girl and headed out to the lovely Worden Farm (an all organic farm that has a stand at our local farmer's market.) The class was lead by the enthusiastic Christine Abbey, a goat farmer/raw goat milk and chèvre maker. She is currently working on her Master Herbalist degree as well. You can visit her here. Her love of goats was certainly contagious!
Christine started out the class by teaching us the basics on how to care for goats, feed them, house them, and breed them .... goating 101. Following the basic care portion of the class we all headed out to the field and barn where she proceeded to teach us the proper way to milk a goat....
This lovely lady with the movie star lashes turned toward me with a Mona Lisa grin. She graciously let us milk her, however, she didn't give up gallons of her creamy milk because her little one must have recently been snacking.
Next time you're milking a goat be sure to....
- clean the utter and teats with soap and water and then dry well with a cloth
- squirt 1-2 squirts from each teat into a cup... gets rid of heavy bacteria and you can check for chunky milk which can mean mastitis (yuck)
- milk out the utter with a pinch and sqeeze motion
- cover the milk bucket... must be strained and chilled ASAP, within 30 minutes or less
- spray the teats with disinfectant
After milking the goat, we headed back to the classroom in a barn where there is a "kitchen" (think basic, not Ina's party barn kitchen). We learned how to make three different kinds of cheeses from the goats milk... chèvre, mozzarella, and a basic panir cheese.
All the milk and cheese that Christine produces is "raw" milk, meaning not pasteurized. As you may know, it is not legal in Florida to sell unpasteurized dairy products for human consumption so all the milk and cheese that she sells is labeled "for animal consumption" in accordance with the laws.
In France, raw milk cheeses are the standard for high quality "fromage" and are considered safe for human consumption and are indeed legal to sell. In fact most cuisine "traditionalists" consider pasteurized cheese a sacrilege. French cheeses have been made with raw milk for hundreds of years.
I couldn't wait to get to get started making my apple goat cheese tart... glazed with local honey and made with the homemade chèvre cheese from Christine. And spiced with thyme from my garden.... I think Michael Pollan would approve.
Another tasty chèvre tart recipe to try is my "tarte au chèvre", a creamy goat cheese tart with caramelized shallots and basil, perfect for a luncheon.... found here.
This sophisticated tart is sensational served as an appetizer with wine or for dessert. It is only slightly sweet from the apples and honey... a splendid combination with the tangy, creamy, dreamy chèvre.
And no, my animals did not consume this tart. My family did with much pleasure!
1 gallon goat milk
1/4 teaspoon Mesophilic culture*
2/5 drop of rennet* (put 5 tablespoons of water in a small bowl, add 1 drop of rennet and stir well. Use 2 tablespoons of the mixture)
In a large pan heat the milk to 72-78 degrees. Add the culture and stir well. Add the rennet and stir well. Cover and let sit in a cool place for 18-24 hours until curd is formed. Spoon the curd into cheese molds or cheese cloth and drain for 1-2 days. Roll in cheese salt and serve or store in the refrigerator covered well in wax paper. Lasts for about for about 2-3 weeks.
*I hear you asking, "Where do I buy Mesophilic culture and rennet?" You can go here.... or other cheese making suppliers.
Apple goat cheese tart - (tarte aux pommes et au chèvre)
6 ounces chèvre
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 pinch kosher salt
3 medium apples such as Gala, skinned, quartered and then thinly sliced
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons melted butter
allspice sprinkled on top
lemon thyme - (optional) sprinkled on top
1 recipe basic pastry dough, pre-baked - here
Preheat oven to 375 degrees
In a small bowl combine the goat cheese, lemon juice and salt. Mix well until creamy. Carefully spread the goat cheese mixture over the bottom of the pre-baked tart shell.
In another bowl, mix together the melted butter and honey. Set aside.
Arrange the thinly sliced apples over lapping each other on top on the goat cheese mixture. Brush all of the honey/butter mixture over the top of the apples, careful not to move them. Sprinkle with allspice. Bake for 35 minutes or until the apples are soft and golden. Let cool. Sprinkle with fresh lemon thyme if desired. Best served at room temperature.
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