I love Ottolenghi's cookbooks. I just do. The photos alone are worth a browse, even if you don't cook at all. His newest book, Simple, is no exception. As I was getting deep into it, I came across an interesting quick bread recipe, nothing like I'd ever made before. I knew immediately that I had to try it. This would be no half-hearted attempt, however. I was determined to make the goat cheese and sour cream from scratch, to make this bread really amazing. Making sour cream is a breeze using cultured buttermilk as a starter. Making your own fresh chevre is just as simple, so I decided to go that route for this bread recipe. To make fresh chevre, all you need is
- Stainless steel or other non-reactive pot
- Chevre starter culture
- Goat milk
- Butter muslin or other cloth for straining
Now for making the cheese:
1) Pour the milk into the pot and heat slowly to 86ºF, stirring slowly. It can happen quickly, so keep an eye on the dial. NOTE: Place your thermometer so it can be easily read. My thermometer has a little clip on it that attaches to the side of the pot. Hang the thermometer tip about 1 inch above the bottom, to get an accurate reading.
2) Once the milk reaches 86ºF, remove the pot from the heat. Sprinkle the culture on the surface of the milk and let it sit for a minute to saturate.
3) Stir the culture into the milk so that it is thoroughly dissolved.
4) Put a lid on the pot and keep in a warm space, about 75ºF, for 12 hours. It is normal to see some separation of curds and whey as the cheese sets.
5) After 12 hours or so, drain the curds into a cloth-lined bowl or cheese bag. Hang the cloth to drain for up to 12 hours. Don't throw out that whey! It's useful for so many other things!
After those easy steps, mostly waiting around, you have a beautiful batch of fresh chevre cheese.
Now for the amazing bread! Of course, I can't share the entire recipe here; Ottolenghi may never forgive me if I did. But I can share the photos. Even the dough was a beautiful contrast of beet red and fluffy white.
And the final product, enjoyed warm and slathered with butter, was just as delicious as I had dreamed it would be.