We're in the midst of "milk season" - here are two of my favorite easy soft cheese recipes. Both are from Goats Produce Too by Mary Jane Toth. The book is available from Hoegger Goat Supply and Lehmans.
2 gallons whole goat milk
1/2 cup cider vinegar
Heat milk to 180*, stirring often to keep it from scorching. When the milk has reached 180* slowly stir in the vinegar, keep stirring as you pour. The milk will begin to separate into a fine curd.
Pour the curds and whey into a colandar lined with cheesecloth (or an old clean t-shirt). Tie the four corners of the cloth into a knot and hang cheese bag to drain for several hours or until the bag stops dripping.
Remove drained curds from the cheesecloth. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate. Keeps well for one week.
**My friend Cheryl says that she makes this with a gallon plus a quart of fresh goat's milk instead of using whey, and it's just as easy and just as good.**
1 gallon fresh whey
1 quart fresh whole goat milk
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 tsp non-iodized canning or kosher salt to taste
Whey should be very fresh. If you use less than 1 gallon it will still be good. Place whey and whole milk into a large stainless or enamel pot. Heat to 195*, remove from heat and add the juice of one lemon, approx 1/4 cup.
Stire the mixture several minutes, watching as the juice produces tiny curds in the liquid. Then pour the hot whey and curds into the cheesecloth lined colander. Allow curds to cool and drain for 25 minutes.
Remove curd from the cloth and break into tiny pieces in a bowl. Add salt to taste. If you prefer a creamier ricotta add a little heavy cream or milk back into the cheese. Fresh ricotta will keep well in refrigerator for about one week. (NOTE: I've frozen this successfully. I have also made smaller batches, using roughly the same proportions of whey/milk/lemon juice.)