How to Make Ricotta Cheese with Goat Milk

Learn how one family turns their surplus goat milk into ricotta cheese and how to make a delicious Stuffed Manicotti recipe.

| March/April 1977

Raising dairy goats is a little like eating potato chips: You can't stop with just one. At least, that's how it's been with us. Once our second nanny was in production, however, we (that is, my husband and I and our two children) suddenly found we had a problem: namely, what to do with all that goat's milk!

Unfortunately, Ohio law made it virtually impossible for us to sell — or even give away — our surplus. Rather than dump the excess down the drain, though, we learned to convert our leftover milk into cheese ... a deliciously tangy ricotta-type cheese that's equally good raw, seasoned with herbs, or used in cooking.

Goat's milk ricotta is easy to make ... and you don't need any special equipment to get started.

Here's all you do:

First, fill a 4 1/2-quart container (we use a stainless steel bowl, although glass would work just as well) with strained, unpasteurized, fresh-from-the-udder goat's milk ... then stir in one crushed Junket rennet tablet. (See article "Goats Milk Cheese The Andulaz Way", for instructions if you'd prefer to make your own rennet at home. — MOTHER.) Next, add a cup of yogurt (we use an unflavored, preservativeless store-bought yogurt, but the homemade variety — of course — should work too) and stir well — yet gently — to blend everything. Finally, cover the bowl with a towel or with cheesecloth (try not to let the cover touch the milk) and allow the milk-filled container to stand undisturbed in a corner for 12 to 18 hours.

At the end of the "incubation" period, you'll find that a firm curd has formed on top of the milk. Lift this hardened layer off with a pancake turner, set it aside, and strain the remaining curds and whey through cheesecloth. Then combine all the solids together in a strainer or colander and wash them gently with cold water. Afterward, set the strainer in the refrigerator to drain. In an hour or two the cheese may be removed, transferred to a bowl, and consumed "as is" or flavored to your liking.

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