Monday, November 12, 2012

How to make Goat Cheese (Chèvre)

Chèvre is all the rage these days, and for good reason. It is delicious and easy to make. Chèvre is French for 'goat'. Since we use just the milk, shouldn't the French have called it fromage de chèvre (cheese of goat)?
If you don't have access to fresh goat's milk, try to use fresh cow's milk, but then you must call it "Fromage Blanc" (French for 'white cheese').

Equipment needed: cheese cloth, a bungee cord, 1 gallon stainless steel pot with lid, dairy thermometer, and an eye dropper. 
Ingredients: rennet and mesophilic culture (order here), salt, and of course, a gallon of milk.

This is Rachel our Oberhasli dairy goat, on the milk stand:

To prepare for milking, her udders are wiped clean of any hay or dirt (our girls are super clean).

Then she is milked by hand (no milking machines here - we like it old school).

The milk is filtered through clean muslin into a pail:

And then into the house to pasteurize (or not).

After milking, the choice to keep it raw, or pasteurize, is up to you. This pasteurizer probably goes back to the 1950's and still works. (Found it on Ebay)

Our high tech machine heats to 145 Degrees for 45 minutes, then turns off automatically. Wow you say.

You will need to cool the milk down quickly by putting it in a sink full of ice water until it gets down to 78 degrees. (I used really cold water cause my icemaker had quit me)  

If you don't pasteurize, just cool the milk down right after milking. (Fun fact: The temperature right from the udder is around 102 F). 

Pour the milk into the pot, and add 1/2 teaspoon of the mesophilic culture. It is freeze dried and looks like powdered milk. Let it sit on top of the milk to dissolve before stirring it in.

Measure 1/2 cup of cool, unchlorinated water into a measuring cup, and add one drop only of the liquid rennet. Add this to the pot of milk.

Now you get to stir for about a minute, it is fun.

Put the lid on, and , to quote an infomercial,'Just set it and forget it!'  All day and night, for about 18 hours or so at room temp. Assume your room temp is like mine, which is around 70 degrees or so...whatever.

Abracadabra! Here is the cheese nicely curded up floating in a wonderful whey bath. You can drink this for powerful muscles, or feed your plants or go to this website for more ideas.

Me? I pour it down the drain to feed my septic tank. "Yum" says the tank.  (Note the nice large chunk of curd in the pot).

Now drape your cheesecloth into a colander (which I forgot to picture in the equipment list - sorry) then put THAT inside a large bowl to catch the whey. Or place it inside your sink if you don't want the whey.

Just pour the curds -glob glob glob, into the cheesecloth lined colander.

Then tie it up with a bungee cord. Since I discovered the bungee cord method, it makes me so happy! I used to use wire, and that was a pain.

Now hang for a day, or a night. It depends actually on your humidity. In my dry state of Colorado, it needs about 24 hours to hang until the right consistency. Your mileage may vary. 

Here is a photo of half of the contents from the bag. I already had started divying it up into 4 portions. Thats an old fashioned word huh? Divy. I like it. 

Sprinkle salt about 1/2 teaspoon per each portion.Knead it in there. Some might say salt is optional, but it improves the flavor, and helps preserve the cheese.

 Rolled into a traditional log shape.

Or a ball. Not very symmetrical.

Get creative with seasoning, herbs, flavorings. Here's my latest passion - Tajin, a Mexican seasoning made from chile peppers and lime. Oh gosh I had it on my omelete this morning...yum!

Another favorite of mine - Dill. If you have it growing in your garden you are one lucky person. Mine is from a jar so you can feel sorry for me. It's still pretty darn good though.

Let your imagination run free here people! Roll into chopped nuts, pour sundried tomato or basil pesto over the cheese and serve with crackers. Mix in some jalepeno jelly or marmalade, citrus fruit zest, candied fruit, heck just about anything. Sweet or savory. Use as cream cheese, put it in an omelete, make your best friend a salad.
Wrap well and use within a week, or freeze for later. OKAY you can DO this!
NOTE: If you don't think you want to invest in the bits and pieces of equipment, or would enjoy doing this with a group of friends, I do classes on making goat cheese all the time to guests who stay with me at Mountain Goat Lodge!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The 2012 Salida Fiber Festival at Riverside Park

This is a bit unusual and worthy of checking out - especially all you knitters, crafters, crocheters!
The best pair of socks I ever had was from ALPACA - now is a great time to find some unusual holiday gifts or just treat yourself!

Saturday, September 8th: 9:00 - 5:00
Sunday, September 9th: 10:00 - 4:00

There will be a park full of vendors selling:
Fiber ~ Yarn ~ Textiles ~ Embellishments
~ Fiber Related Supplies ~ Finished Products

There will be fiber from cashmere goats, alpacas, llamas, sheep - finished yarn as well.

The festival will include:
Demonstrations ~ Silent Auction
~ Activity tent (kids welcome!)

And of course you can stay at the best lodge of all OURS! - check us out!

A perfect weekend to: 
Learn about fiber arts ~ Buy and sell fiber materials and products
~Meet the artists ~ Purchase gifts

A wine and beer garden will offer rest and refreshment between trips through the vendor booths.
It's going to be a great weekend. We'll see you there! 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Greek-Style Yogurt

Greek-Style Yogurt is all the rage's wonderful but a bit expensive. 

Here at the lodge, our guests love the fresh Greek Style goat yogurt made from our goat's milk. We like to serve it with homemade granola, fresh fruit and our new Cajeta (goat's milk) caramel sauce!

We teach you how to make this yogurt easily and economically when you take our yogurt and cheese-making classes. The beauty of our yogurt is that it is made from nothing but pure pasteurized goat's milk and yogurt culture, nothing else! (Don't worry if you don't have access to goat's milk -you can make it from any kind of milk).

Recently, a guest left a small carton of commercial yogurt in my fridge. Before throwing it out (as frugal as I am, I wouldn't even give this to my dogs) -  I took a look at the label:
Ingredients from Yoplait
 Light Nonfat Yogurt "Harvest Peach"
Cultured Pasteurized Grade A Nonfat Milk, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Peaches, Modified Corn Starch, Nonfat milk, Kosher gelatin, Natural Flavor, Citric Acid, Tri-calcium phosphate, Aspartame  (Phenylketonurics, phenylalanine), Potassium Sorbate, Annatto extract, Vitamin A Acetate, and Vitamin D. 
Wow! No wonder it tastes so slimy and artificial. I actually used to enjoy eating it, until I started making my own and it truly is a world apart. Kind of like the difference between homemade bread and store bought - you just need to try it once! 

We are happy to show guests and non-guests our techniques for making cheeses and yogurts - classes are Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10:00am, or by appointment.



Friday, February 3, 2012

Clean and Pet Friendly - Mutually exclusive?

Many guests are curious about our pet-friendly policy. We love animals - maybe too much, if I am being honest. That being said - as much as we love our guests' pets and our own - we love a clean lodge just as much.
We hear of hotels and motels that offer a designated "pet" room, usually the stinky carpet-stained room with which guests and their dogs are relegated. Smokers too.
Not so at the MGL! All of our rooms are pet-friendly! And while we realize there are guests that potentially won't stay with us due to extreme allergies to pet dander and/or aversion to animals - that's a small price to pay for all of the wonderful guests that come to us in large part because of our pet policy. And behavior? We experience great behavior by the dogs and their owners- after all - who would bring an ill-behaved pet on vacation and expect to have fun? Our guests are so grateful that they can travel with their pets that they bend over backwards to make sure they are not a problem.
In addition to our rooms accommodating pets -we also have a 20X40 kennel, with 6 ft tall chain link fence and a dog house for shelter - if you would rather leave your pets outside for awhile.
A fee is charged for pets - $10 per night, which includes a doggy goody bag and dog bed. Pet sitting and kisses are free!
Now - about that clean lodge. In a previous occupation, I owned and ran a cleaning service. Clean rooms are extremely important to us at the inn. We recently have invested in new Dyson vacuum cleaners - and they do not disappoint. So - after you check out - our clean team goes to work on every square inch of carpet, bedding and any other surface including the couches to make sure that all traces of your adorable Jack Russell or Labrador Retriever are eliminated and we are ready for the next guest.
Now that we have a new barn, my husband D'Arcy is building a corral and stalls for visiting horses. This is a new venture for us - so please call if you will be bringing a horse and we can discuss your needs.
Gotta run - Chloe is telling me she wants to go outside!