This French cheese, whose name means “Little Goat,” is shaped into little discs and ripened for only 10 to 15 days, making the cheese mild and rather soft. At fifteen days, your Cabecou may have developed a slight blue mold over its surface, which will lend a bit of a sharper flavor to an otherwise mild cheese. This cheese can be marinated in the style of mozzarella, if you like. It has an 18-hour setting period, so make sure you will be around the house for a while before attempting to make it. You will also need crottin molds to shape this cheese correctly.
Marinating oil (optional)
- 2 teaspoons sea or cheese salt
- 2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon crushed basil
- 1 teaspoon crushed oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 4 bay leaves
- 1 quart olive oil
- Heat the goat milk to 75°F using a water bath method, raising the temperature very slowly and stirring the milk while it is heating to distribute the warmth evenly.
- When the milk has reached the correct temperature, remove it from the water bath. Sprinkle the starter over the milk and allow it to rehydrate for 5 minutes before stirring it in with a cheese spoon, using long, steady up-and-down motions for 1 full minute. Add the diluted rennet and incorporate in the same manner.
- Cover the milk and maintain it at 72°F for 18 hours, or until it gives a clean break. Try to not touch or move or disturb the milk at all during this period, just check for a clean break right at the very end.
- Place 4 crottin molds in a draining rack, and scoop the curds evenly into them. When you have finished, cover them with a scrupulously clean kitchen towel and allow them to drain at room temperature for about 2 days.
- The cheeses will have reduced in size to about 1 inch thick. Flip them out of the molds and salt them on both sides, handling them carefully. Let them air dry in the bottom of your fridge on ripening mats, and if you are not going to marinate them, you can age them right there in your fridge for ten to fifteen days, flipping them and keeping an eye on them throughout.
Mix together all of the marinating oil ingredients in one pitcher and place your air-dried cheeses in a large clean glass jar. Once they are all in one or a few jars, cover them with the marinating oil, making more if you need it. Screw the lids on tightly and leave the cheeses to age at room temperature away from drafts and direct sunlight for one week. The olive oil preserves the cheese, making it shelf-stable for up to three weeks.
Makes 4 small cheese discs.
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