If you choose to pasteurize the milk, heat it to 145° F and keep it at that temperature for 30 minutes.
Cool it down to 80° F. I put the pot of milk in the sink filled with cold water. If you are in a hurry, change the water frequently or add ice to the water bath.
Sprinkle MM 100 culture over the milk and let it re-hydrate for two minutes, then stir it into the milk. Use ¼ tsp MM 100 culture with 5 quarts of milk, or use 1/8 tsp MM 100 culture with 2 quarts of milk.
Add rennet: For 5 quarts of milk, add 3 drops of rennet (with a clean eyedropper or syringe) to 1/3 cup cool water. Take 2 Tablespoons of this diluted rennet mixture and stir it into the milk for 30 seconds.
For 2 quarts of milk, add one drop of rennet to ¼ cup cool water. Take 2 Tablespoons of this diluted rennet mixture and stir it into the milk for 30 seconds.
Cover the pot and let it sit at room temperature for 8-12 hours. At the end of that time, a firm curd has formed (it looks like thickened yogurt), and you will see some clear whey on the top of the curd.
I often start this cheese in the morning, and then it’s ready to drain in the evening. Or I start it in the evening, and it will sit overnight, ready to be drained in the morning. Do whatever works for your schedule!
Next, drain the curd.
If you use Chevre molds, carefully place curd into them with a ladle. Try to be as gentle as possible with this step. Fill the molds all the way to the top. When you get to the bottom of the pot, there will be a lot of whey. Drain this out into a bowl to save the whey for other uses, and make sure to catch every last bit of the curd to place into the Chevre molds.
If you use cheesecloth, make sure you use very fine cheesecloth, called butter muslin. Some people use a clean pillowcase cloth. Drape the cloth over a colander sitting on a bowl to catch the whey. Carefully pour the curds into the cloth. Be gentle here.
Let the cheese drain for 8-12 hours. The longer it drains, the drier it will be. If you want your cheese moister, drain it for a shorter time.
When you like the texture, put it into a bowl and add 1 tsp salt for every 2 pounds, or just add salt to taste. Mix it with fresh or dried herbs.
I like using fresh herbs, garlic powder, or chopped up chives, or parsley and spread it on bread or crackers. I use Chevre in lasagna instead of ricotta cheese. Or use it in recipes asking for cream cheese. You can also add fruit to it and make it a dessert.