If you are new to cheese making this recipe for Beginner's Goat Cheese perfect for you. It only requires basic equipment and three ingredients, unpasteurized goat milk, vinegar and salt.
Put milk into large stainless steel cook pot and slowly heat until milk is between 190 and 200 degrees. (In cheese making temperature is up there next to God, so the temperature has to be right!)
Slowly add the vinegar, lemon, or lime juice while stirring until all is added and mixed thoroughly into the milk, but only until it is added. Do not over-stir! It will curdle as it is supposed to do.
Let cool undisturbed until it is around 100 degrees (not too hot to handle with your hands) Add salt to taste, and SLOWLY either cut the curd or stir very gently to break up the curd into pieces. If you are wanting ricotta, you break it up into VERY small pieces. If you want a "cream cheese", you don't break it up into pieces smaller than quarter sized pieces.
Drain the cheese into a cheese cloth lined colander. (you can buy cheese cloth at most grocery stores in the laundry/cleanser sections). If you use fine cheesecloth, double or triple it in thickness. Take the 4 corners of the cheesecloth and bring them together and tie them together.
Hang the "dripping" cheese until it is the consistency you want. If you want ricotta or cottage cheese, only hang it for an hour and use less salt since salt pulls the whey from the curd. If you want a cream cheese, let it hang for 4 hours. If you want a white harder cheese, let it hang for 12 hours (and use a little more salt to get more whey out of the cheese). No aluminum utensils and rubber sometimes has a "smell" to it that will transfer to the cheese, so stainless steel is best!
Untie the cheese, mold it and chill until cold, molding it in whatever size container you want to use.
A great party cheese is to take a cookie press (battery kind) and make little tiny cheeses with the press and put them on waxed paper in an air tight container. If you want a very smooth cheese, like cream cheese, then put the cheese in a mixer after it is untied and mix until smooth consistency. If you are going for a hard cheese, then the cheese in the bag will be hard, with small air pockets.
Now, if you have made the "cream" type cheese, you can make a Torte by taking the cheese while it is still in the mixer and add 1/4 volume (approximately) pure butter. Then take a mold (a plastic container that is appropriate size) Put one layer cheese/torte mix sprinkle Black Olives, sun dried tomatoes, basil pesto sauce (my favorite!) or diced dates, then layer again to the top, alternating with your gastronomical preferences. On top decorate with pimento slices, bay leaves, or whatever your desire. Put in refrigerator until cold, and unmold.
Mold the cheese while still warm, and then chill. Also, breaking up the curd as well as the salt as well as the hanging time determines the consistency of the cheese, and yes you can peek at it while it is hanging and draining!