Homemade Goat Cheese, Mini Cheese ORBS, and Turkish Chevre Pide

Make that, Homemade Goat Cheese, (the Chevre version,) Miniature Goat Cheese (err, Chevre) Orbs (marinated or deep-fried!), and Caramelized Goat Cheese, well, Caramelized Chevre filled Turkish Pide!

So, today I’m making cheese; goat cheese; chevre to be exact.  Valerie from A Canadian Foodie has challenged a bunch of us to start making cheese from scratch with her Cheesepalooza challenge.  I was extremely excited when she announced this challenge, because I’ve always wanted to dabble a little in artisan cheese making.

So, it’s a ‘palooza’, but not a lala.

Can you dig?

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!
The Red Hot Chili Peppers (and this resulted in a million chili recipes  on food blogs) will not be performing at this palooza, but they will be making an appearance in my cheese!


I’ve made cheese from scratch before; Ricotta and Macarpone.  I’ve also made Paneer, but I didn’t blog it, so I do have some cheese-making experience under my too tight belt. However, all three were made with cow’s milk. Does pimento cheese count as cheese making?

This time I’m working with goats’ milk (this is actually the proper way to write it. I used to write ‘goat’s’ milk, but according to online sources, it was wrong because it’s singular possessive, as in one particular goat’s milk.) and as mentioned above, making chevre.  I love, love, love chevre, but the first recipe provided, from the book Artisan Cheese Making At Home by Mary Karlin , contains something called  C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter.  Although I’m 99.9% sure it’s perfectly fine and won’t result in a tree growing out of my ear 20 years down the road, I just didn’t like the sound of it.

C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter.

Mesophilic disease comes to mind.

Can’t they call it something like..Me So Making Yummy Cheese from Scratch Stuff?

Making goat cheese from scratch. Homemade Chevre Cheese!

I emailed Valerie about this, and she linked me to a recipe for chevre on her blog that uses buttermilk in lieu of the bacteria/organism laden Mesophilic Disease, umm..Mesophilic stuff.

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!

I prefer to keep my food as natural and chemical-free as possible, even in my artery-clogging desserts, SO, as long as I know exactly what’s going into the food I’m making, and it doesn’t have numbers attached to it..it’s all good.

Now, don’t get me wrong; this is just how I cook and bake. Believe me, I eat my fair share of foods that contain ingredients with numbers attached to them. Keebler Vienna Fingers, anyone? Yep, I take care of other people, but occasionally shove Keebler Vienna Fingers down my gullet at warp speed, not to mention Rice Krispie Treats, Bugles, and Funions, to name only a few.

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!

Look, I love ALL cheese, so I’m sure my body is saturated with C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter, but since I have a choice in this chevre matter..I’m choosing not to use it.

Cheeseballs! Creamy ORBS of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!

Now, rennet is a different story because I read all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books and in Little House in the Big Woods, Ma used rennet to make cheese, and they used the rennet directly from the animal’s stomach lining back then.

Ma added the previous night’s skimmed milk to the cooled milk from the morning milking and put it on the stove to heat.  A bit of rennet inside a cloth is soaked in warm water.  Once the milk is warm, she squeezes all of the water out of the rennet in the cloth. She adds the rennet water to the milk and stirs it well.  The milk mixture is left in a warm place by the stove until it thickens to a quivering mass.  

The mass was cut with a long knife into cubes.  The cubes were allowed to sit until the curb separated from the whey.  The curds and whey were placed in a cloth and allowed to drain.  When all of the whey was drained, the curds were placed in a pan and salted.  The curds were then placed in the cheese hoop to be pressed.

Once all the whey had been pressed out, Ma trimmed the cheese, put a tight cloth around it, and buttered it.  Each day, she wiped the cheese with a wet cloth and rubbed it with butter until the cheese was ripe and had a hard rind on it. – Laura Ingalls Wilder

And that’s how you make cheese to this day, albeit with a lot more convenience, electricity, modern appliances, and better clothes.

Turkish Pide (flatbread) filled with fresh, homemade ,caramelized, herbed chevre cheese!

So I made the cheese using goats’ milk, buttermilk (which actually contains the Mesophilic stuff, a little fact alerted to me by a reader, but I just felt better using buttermilk; it’s a mind issue) and a rennet tablet crushed with some water.  It turned out fantastic.  I wanted to blow this whole post off and eat it all with a trowel.

But I didn’t. Thankfully.

Homemade Turkish Pide stuffed with fresh, homemade chevre cheese!

It was so fresh that it had some subtle sweet tones to it, along with a slightly sharp and salty edge, and the mouth feel was extremely creamy, as it should be.  I think everyone should make their own chevre because it’s too damn easy not to.  The rennet and buttermilk gel the goats’ milk after sitting for 12 hours, or until it’s similar to the texture of yogurt.  Which brings me to this:

Have you ever made yogurt cheese? It’s called Labneh, and you can make the same recipe below using labneh. Marinated Labneh balls! Yum!

Turkish Pide (flatbread) stuffed with fresh, homemade garlic herb chevre cheese!
Well, essentially, once the goats’ milk has formed into a jelly like mass, you do the same thing you’d do when making yogurt cheese (aka labneh) as linked above. You wrap up the milk jelly (I cut mine into pieces) in cheesecloth, tie it up tight, and let the whey drain over a strainer into a bowl, overnight.

Spicy, Garlic, Herb Caramelized Goat Cheese (chevre) Turkish Flatbread (Pide)

Upon baking, I realized I didn’t pinch the ends together correctly.  They should look like THIS.

The next morning I had chevre!  I got about 16 ounces of cheese, so, after eating a few spoonfuls (uhh..4 ounces), I added red hot chile pepper flakes, herbs, garlic, and lemon zest to the rest of it, rolling them into cheeseballs (I love cheese-balls as one hyphenated word because it tickles the kid in me, but a friend started calling them Goat CHEESEORBS, and I LIKE IT!) and packing them into ball jars with a light olive oil and more herbs.  I used the other half of my spicy chevre as a filling for a Turkish bread called Pide.  Pide – Pizza – Pita..you know, flatbread in any language.

The only difference between pide and the others is that you fold the dough on each side partially over the filling in the middle so you kind of have an oval slipper with some of the filling showing, which you can see in my bad photos.

Spicy, Garlic, Herb Caramelized Goat Cheese (chevre) Turkish Flatbread (Pide)I cut the pide to resemble pizza slices.  I kind of wish I cut it the way it’s supposed to cut; like THIS.  Much prettier. But, I love how the chevre caramelized; it gave it a whole new and amazing flavor, one that I want to experiment with.  Who knows, caramelized cheese could be a new ‘thing’?!?

In fact, the photo of the pide straight from the oven kind of looks like a female body part, doesn’t it? Sometimes my photos are just gross, but hey, one day I will have natural light, and when I do, they’ll look less like discolored female body parts.  I hope.

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs!

In conclusion, be adventurous and make cheese! Then make cheeseballs CheeseORBS! Then make pide..or just grab a huge spoon and eat cheese; cheese that YOU made from scratch; fresh, creamy cheese straight from YOUR kitchen! It beats paying mucho dinero for a half pound of it, you know?

Marinated Fresh Garlic-Herb Mini Cheese ORBS!

If you have a moment, head on over to Valerie’s blog to see the chevre round-up, HERE. You’ll be amazed and inspired, and hopefully it will inspire you enough make some yourself and/or take part in some of the Cheesepalooza challenges!

Deep-Fried Garlic Herb Goat Cheese Balls. #cheeseballs #goatcheeseballs #friedcheeseballs #goatcheese #softcheeseballs #cheeseorbs #garlicherb

 

How to Make Chevre Cheese

Soft Cheese Orbs and Caramelized Chevre filled Turkish Pide (Filled, Folded, and Tapered Flatbread)

Homemade Chevre Cheese Recipe HERE
without C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter!

Soft Garlic Herb Marinated Cheese ORBS OR Fried Garlic Herb Goat Cheese ORBS
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: About 25 to 30 cheese orbs
 
If you're making the homemade chevre, naturally the prep and cook time listed will increase according to chevre directions linked above.
Turkish pide dough adapted from finedininglovers.com
Prep time does not include the chill time if you're making the deep-fried goat cheese orbs.
ingredients:
Spicy Garlic Herb Chevre (or Feta *) - For cheeseballs and/or pide filling.
  • 12 ounces fresh chevre. Cut chevre with cream cheese if you like, 6 oz each, or use all cream cheese, if you prefer, or make and use yogurt cheese aka labneh!
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, then mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 small lemon, zested
  • 1 to 2 tablespoon red hot chile pepper flakes (you can add more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1 cup of chopped herbs of your choice. I used parsley, chives and basil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil
  • Extra herbs for olive oil marinade for cheeseballs, Pack 'em in for even more flavor!
If you want to deep-fry them
  • ⅓ cup flour, seasoned with a little salt and pepper
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1¼ cups panko bread crumbs
  • enough oil to deep-fry the goat cheese orbs
directions:
  1. In a medium bowl combine all the garlic herb chevre ingredients thoroughly. Set aside, covered at room temperature to let the flavors blend while you make the dough. If you just want to make the soft cheeseballs in olive oil, refrigerate the cheese mixture until firm, covered, about 30 minutes, then roll into balls, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter and pack into jars with olive oil.
  2. Stuff more herbs of your choice and add extra red hot chile pepper flakes into the oil around the cheeseballs or cubes of feta *. and seal or cover tightly if using a bowl. Tap sealed jars on the counter to remove any air bubbles. I used 8 ounce ball jars. The cheese balls in olive oil will keep for a month in the refrigerator. Let come to room temperature for about an hour or more before serving.
For deep-fried goat cheese orbs
  1. In a medium bowl combine all the garlic herb chevre ingredients except the oil, thoroughly. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge for about an hour. While chilling, prepare your breading station. The flour, the beaten egg, and the panko bread crumbs.
  2. Remove goat cheese mixture from fridge, and roll into about 25 to 30 balls (about a tablespoon of the cheese should get you that). Roll each ball in the flour, then the beaten egg, then the panko breadcrumbs. Place them on a parchment lined baking sheet as you bread them. When done, place the baking sheet with the breaded cheese orbs inthe fridge for about an hour, or the freezer for about 30 minutes.
  3. Heat about 3 inches of oil in a deep pot, to 350 degrees F. When it comes to temperature, remove the breaded goat cheese orbs from the fridge or freezer and deep fry two or three at a time, as you don't want to crowd the pot or skillet. Fry for about 1 or 2 minutes, or until golden brown on all sides. Remove and drain on a paper towel lined fine mesh rack over a baking sheet. Serve immediately.
notes:
*You can use my olive oil marinade to make marinated feta cheese cubes or yogurt cheese orbs (labneh), too! If using cubes of feta, infuse the olive oil with herbs and red pepper flakes (meaning add all to the olive oil prior to adding the feta cubes), then add the feta cubes and marinate in jars or a tightly wrapped bowl.

Garlic Herb Caramelized Goat Cheese (Chevre) Filled Turkish Pide
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Yield: 2 cheese filled flatbreads (pide)
 
ingredients:
Cheese Filling
Spicy Garlic Herb Chevre
  • 12 ounces goat cheese (chevre)
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, then mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 small lemon, zested
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons red hot chile pepper flakes (you can add more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
  • 1 cup of chopped herbs of your choice. I used parsley, chives and basil
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • olive oil to drizzle over top
Dough
  • Flatbread (pide) Dough
  • 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ¾ cup lukewarm water
  • ¼ teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon neutral oil,, such as vegetable
  • 4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
  • 3¼ to ½ cups All-Purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
directions:
For the cheese filling
  1. In a medium bowl combine all the garlic herb chevre ingredients thoroughly. Set aside, covered at room temperature to let the flavors blend while you make the dough.
For the Turkish Pide (flatbread) Dough
  1. Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in ¼ cup lukewarm water until foamy, then mix with the flour, salt, oil , yogurt, and remaining ½ cup water. Knead to a smooth dough, adding more flour or water, if needed. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour or until doubled.
  2. Gently punch down dough by folding it over itself. On a floured board, divide the dough into two equal pieces. Cover with a tea towel and let rest for a few minutes to relax the gluten. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F - Remove the top rack. You will be using the rack on the middle shelf.
Assemble and Bake the Turkish Pide
  1. While working with one piece of dough, keep other covered. Roll the piece nto an oval..about 14 inches by 10 inches. Place dough on a parchment lines baking sheet. Alternatively, you can use a pizza peel and baking stone, which will give you a slightly crisper bread, but either way is fine. Spread half the goat cheese mixture (6 ounces) down the center, leaving about 2 to 3 inches on each side. Fold each side of the dough toward the middle, sealing and tapering the ends so you have a slipper looking flatbread with some of the filling showing down the center (see photos above). Drizzle a little olive oil over the top of the cheese so it caramelizes.
  2. Bake flatbread about 20 to 30 minutes, until golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown and caramelized. Quickly remove bread from baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Repeat all the above with second ball of dough and remaining 6 ounces of cheese.

Deep-Fried Garlic Herb Goat Cheese Balls! You can also use other soft cheeses like cream cheese or yogurt cheese! Loaded with garlic and herbs, these cheeseballs are amazing even without breading and deep-frying them! Perfect party fare! #goatcheeseballs #goatcheeseorbs #goatcheese #chevre #garlic #herbs #redpepperflakes #lemonzest

I’m submitting this Turkish Pide with Caramelized Chevre to this month’s  #TwelveLoaves theme – cheese, hosted by Lora of Cake Duchessand to Yeastspotting hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast.

Cheeseballs! Creamy balls of soft cheese, like chevre or cream cheese, loaded with garlic, herbs and a little chili flake, then marinated in olive oil with even more garlic and herbs! #cheeseballs #goatcheese #softcheese #garlic #herbs #redpepperflakes #lemonzest #marinatedcheese
Spicy, zesty, garlic and herb loaded and marinated soft cheese ORBS! Can be spread or eaten as is! Total flavor bomb of a bite..or 10!! Perfect appetizer, canape etc for a party, or just a snack to enjoy! #cheeseorbs #cheeseballs #goatcheese #creamcheese #yogurtcheese #labneh #garliccheese #herbcheese #marinatedcheese!!

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