This “Pepper Jack” recipe takes about 45 minutes start to finish and yields 2 pounds of firm cheese that can be shredded, sliced or melted. It freezes well, is an excellent topping for chili, quesadillas, and makes an amazing mac ‘n’ cheese. It is our family favorite so I make this recipe twice a week and freeze enough for the 2 months our goats are dry.
2 gal goat milk
1T citric acid dissolved in 1c distilled water
¼ vegetarian rennet tablet dissolved in 1/4c distilled water
2t kosher salt
1t red pepper flakes
Large stock pot
Small containers lined with plastic wrap to act as molds
Add the citric acid solution to the 2 gallons of fresh goat milk and stir well. Heat the milk to 86 degrees, stirring frequently. Add the rennet solution; stir 20 times with cheese ladle using an up and down motion. Continue heating on low heat but do not stir.
Watch for curd to pull away from the side of the pot and for clear yellow whey to fill in the space. As soon as the curd firms up, using a cheese knife, cut through the curd into 1 inch squares. Stir very gently with ladle while heating on low to 105 degrees. The whey will come out of the curd and the curds will shrink and firm up like scrambled egg.
Strain half of the curds into a glass bowl and using your hands, squeeze gently and form into a ball. Microwave 1 minute and stretch and fold the cheese while it is warm until it becomes smooth and shiny. Microwave 1 minute more, add the salt and the red pepper flakes on top and then continue folding and stretching to incorporate thoroughly.
Place in a small container lined with plastic wrap, cover with plastic and place in the fridge to chill. Repeat with the other half of the curds. Chill at least overnight before slicing for sandwiches or quesadillas, or shredding for mac ‘n’ cheese or chili. Wrap well and freeze either in brick form or shredded. Keeps for 7-10 days in fridge.