Goat cheese is also known as chèvre – the French word for goat.
Farmers begin breeding goats when the animals are one year old. The gestation period is five months which means milk production begins when the goats are approximately a year and a half.
The Ontario Ministry of Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA) Food inspection Branch provides on-farm inspection and advisory services to dairy goat producers. Annual inspections are conducted under the authority of the Milk Act (Ontario) and Regulation 761 to ensure farm premises meet and maintain sanitary requirements for milk production. Goats’ milk is processed in licensed plants.
At the cheese processor, the goat milk is tested before receipt. Once received it is pasteurized, bacterial cultures and microbial enzyme are added. Microbial enzyme aids in the coagulation of the milk.
With the cultures and microbial enzyme in, workers will allow the milk to ripen 18 hours. As a result of this process the cheese curds form in watery liquid called whey. The curds and whey are pumped into cheese cloth bags to drain the whey. After draining the whey from the curds, salt is added to the curd (cheese). Cheese is then cooled before packaging.
Cheese is portioned into the desired size and shape, for example, 300 g. At this time the goat cheese may get rolled in special flavourings such as chives, herbs or even cranberries.
The next step is to package and seal the goat cheese. Unopened goat cheese has a shelf life of 5 months. Once opened it will last about a week.
Eating goats’ cheese is the best part. Visit our varieties page to learn about the many different kinds of Ontario goat cheese that are available today. The recipes section offers inspired ideas for making every meal special by adding the tang of goat cheese to the mix.