Homemade Chevre, Cheeseballs, and Cheese filled Turkish Flatbread for Cheesepalooza - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Homemade Chevre, Cheeseballs, and Cheese filled Turkish Flatbread for Cheesepalooza

September 30, 2012 at 7:04 am | Posted in Appetizers, Breads, Middle Eastern, Twelve Loaves, Vegetarian, Yeastspotting | 50 Comments
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So..I’m making cheese, goat cheese – chevre to be exact.  Valerie from A Canadian Foodie has challenged a bunch of us to start making cheese from scratch with her Cheesepalooza challenge.  I was extremely excited when she announced this challenge because I’ve always wanted to dabble a little in artisan cheese making.

No, the Red Hot Chili Peppers will not be performing, but they will be making an appearance in my cheese!

I’ve made cheese from scratch before..Ricotta and Macarpone.  I’ve also made Paneer, but I didn’t blog it, so I do have some cheese making’ experience under my too tight belt. However, all three were made with cow’s milk.  This time I’m working with goat’s milk and as mentioned above,  making chevre.  I love, love, love chevre, but the first recipe provided, from the book Artisan Cheese Making At Home by Mary Karlin , contains something called  C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter.  Although I’m 99.9% sure it’s perfectly fine and won’t result in a tree growing out of my ear 20 years down the road, I just didn’t like the sound of it.

C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter.

Mesophilic disease comes to mind.

Can’t they call it something like..Me So Making Yummy Cheese from Scratch Stuff?

I emailed Valerie about this, and she linked me to a recipe for chevre on her blog that uses buttermilk in lieu of the bacteria/organism laden Mesophilic Disease, umm..Mesophilic stuff.

I prefer to keep my food as natural and chemical-free as possible, even in my artery-clogging desserts, SO, as long as I know exactly what’s going into the food I’m making, and it doesn’t have numbers attached to it..it’s all cool.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  This is just how I cook and bake.  I eat my fair share of foods that contain ingredients with numbers attached to them.  Golden Oreo, anyone?  Yep, I take care of other people but occasionally shove Golden Oreos down my gullet at warp speed, not to mention Rice Krispie Treats, Cool Ranch Doritos, Pringles..well, you get the gist. .

Look, I love ALL cheese, so I’m sure my body is saturated with C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter, but since I have a choice in this chevre matter..I’m choosing not to use it.

Now, rennet is a different story because I read the Little House on the Prairie series, and in Little House in the Big Woods, Ma used rennet to make cheese…and they used the rennet directly from the animal’s stomach lining back then…

Ma added the previous night’s skimmed milk to the cooled milk from the morning milking and put it on the stove to heat.  A bit of rennet inside a cloth is soaked in warm water.  Once the milk is warm, she squeezes all of the water out of the rennet in the cloth. She adds the rennet water to the milk and stirs it well.  The milk mixture is left in a warm place by the stove until it thickens to a quivering mass.  

The mass was cut with a long knife into cubes.  The cubes were allowed to sit until the curb separated from the whey.  The curds and whey were placed in a cloth and allowed to drain.  When all of the whey was drained, the curds were placed in a pan and salted.  The curds were then placed in the cheese hoop to be pressed.

Once all the whey had been pressed out, Ma trimmed the cheese, put a tight cloth around it, and buttered it.  Each day, she wiped the cheese with a wet cloth and rubbed it with butter until the cheese was ripe and had a hard rind on it. – Laura Ingalls Wilder

Well..that’s how you make cheese to this day, albeit with a lot more convenience, electricity, modern appliances, and better clothes.

So I made the cheese using goat’s milk, buttermilk (which actually contains the Mesophilic stuff, a little fact alerted to me by a reader, but I just felt better using buttermilk – it’s a mind issue) and a rennet tablet crushed with some water.  It turned out fantastic.  I wanted to blow this whole post off and eat it all with a spoon.

But I didn’t.  Thankfully.

It was so fresh that it had some subtle sweet tones to it, along with a slightly sharp and salty edge, and the mouth feel was extremely creamy, as it should be.  I think everyone should make their own chevre because it’s too damn easy not to.  The rennet and buttermilk gel the goat’s milk after sitting for 12 hours, or until it’s similar to the texture of yogurt.  Which brings me to this;

Have you ever made yogurt cheese?  Well, essentially, once the goat’s milk has formed into a jelly like mass, you do the same thing you’d do when making yogurt cheese – wrap up the milk jelly (I cut mine into pieces) in cheesecloth, tie it up tight, and let the whey drain over a strainer into a bowl, overnight.

Spicy, Garlic, Herb Goat Cheese Turkish Flatbread (Pide)

 The next morning I had creamy, dreamy chevre!  I got about 16 ounces of cheese, so, after eating a few spoonfuls (uhh….4 ounces), I added crushed red-hot chili pepper flakes, herbs, garlic and lemon zest to the rest of it..rolling them into cheeseballs (I love cheeseballs as one word because it tickles the kid inside of me) and packing them into ball jars with a light olive oil.  I used the other half of my spicy chevre as a filling for a Turkish bread called Pide.  Pide – Pizza – Pita..you know..flatbread in any language.

The only difference is, you fold the dough on each side partially over the filling in the middle so you kind of have an oval slipper with some of the filling showing, which you can see in my bad photos.

Spicy, Garlic, Herb Goat Cheese Turkish Flatbread (Pide)

In fact, the photo of the pide straight from the oven kind of looks like a female body part located in the nether regions, doesn’t it?  Sometimes my photos are just gross, but hey, one day I will have natural light, and when I do, they’ll look less like unwashed female body parts in the nether regions.  I hope.

 So…be adventurous and make cheese!  Then make cheeseballs.  Then make pide..or just grab a huge spoon and eat cheese – cheese that YOU made from scratch, fresh, creamy cheese straight from YOUR kitchen!  It beats paying mucho dinero for a half pound of it, you know?

Marinated Fresh Garlic-Herb Cheese Balls

If you have a moment, head on over to Valerie’s blog to see the chevre round-up, HERE. You’ll be amazed and inspired and hopefully it will inspire you enough make some yourself and/or take part in some of the Cheesepalooza challenges!

Homemade Chevre Recipe Without C20G Powdered Mesophilic Starter

Spicy Garlic Herb Chevre Filled Turkish Flatbread (Pide)
Yields two flatbreads
Inspired by Fine Dining Lovers

Spicy Garlic Herb Chevre (or Feta *) – For cheeseballs and/or pide filling.
12- ounces fresh chevre or feta cheese, cut into cubes.  Cut chevre with cream cheese if you like, 6 oz each.
2 garlic cloves, minced, then mashed to a paste with 1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 small lemon, zested
2 tablespoon red hot pepper chili flakes (you can add more or less depending on your heat tolerance)
1 cup of chopped herbs of your choice.  I used parsley, chives and basil
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil
Extra herbs for olive oil marinade for cheeseballs,  Pack ‘em in for even more flavor!

Flatbread Dough
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon neutral oil,, such as vegetable
4 tablespoons Greek yogurt
3 1/4 to 1/2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt

DIRECTIONS FOR SPICY, GARLIC, HERB CHEESE:

  1.  In a medium bowl combine all the ingredients thoroughly.  Set aside, covered at room temperature, to let the flavors blend while you make the dough.  If you just want to make the cheese balls in olive oil, refrigerate the cheese mixture until firm, about an hour, then roll into balls, about 1 to 2 inches in diameter and pack into jars with olive oil. Stuff garlic cloves and more herbs of your choice around the cheeseballs or feta cubes and seal or cover tightly if using a bowl. Tap sealed jars on the counter to remove any air bubbles.  I used 8 ounce ball jars.  The cheese balls in olive oil will keep for a month in the refrigerator.

* If using cubes of feta, infuse the olive oil with herbs and chili flakes (meaning add all to the olive oil prior to adding the feta cubes), then add the feta cubes and marinate in jars or a tightly wrapped bowl.

DIRECTIONS FOR FLATBREAD DOUGH:

  1. Dissolve the yeast with the sugar in 1/4 cup lukewarm water until foamy, then mix with the flour, salt, oil , yogurt, and remaining 1/2 cup water.  Knead to a smooth dough, adding more flour or water, if needed.  Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for one hour or until doubled.
  2. Gently punch down dough by folding it over itself. On a floured board, divide the dough into two equal pieces.  Cover with a tea towel and let rest for a few minutes to relax the gluten.  Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F – Remove the top rack.  You will be using the rack on the middle shelf.
  3. While working with one piece of dough, keep other covered.  Roll the piece nto an oval..about 14 inches by 10 inches. Place dough on a parchment lines baking sheet. Alternatively, you can use a pizza peel and baking stone, which will give you a slightly crisper bread, but either way is fine. Spread half the goat cheese mixture (6 ounces) down the center, leaving about 2 to 3 inches on each side.  Fold each side of the dough toward the middle, sealing and tapering the ends so you have a slipper looking flatbread with some of the filling showing down the center (see photos above).
  4. Bake flatbread about 20 – 30 minutes, until golden brown and the cheese is bubbly and slightly brown (I drizzled a little olive oil over the top before baking which made it brown a little more than it should have). Quickly remove bread from baking sheet to a wire rack to cool for a few minutes before slicing. Repeat all the above with second ball of dough and remaining 6 ounces of cheese.

I’m submitting this Turkish Pide with Goat Cheese to this month’s  #TwelveLoaves theme – cheese, hosted by Lora of Cake Duchessand to Yeastspotting hosted by Susan of Wild Yeast.

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50 Comments »

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  1. This post is wonderfully written. I enjoyed reading it very much.Totally lovely! I would love to make my own cheese. I need to do some more research on it and prepare it properly.

  2. Nice cliffhanger! Aw, it’s going to be so weird when your Dreamboat series finishes. Do you have any more stories up your sleeve?

    The chevre looks incredible! I love the photo with the drop of oil.

  3. Those cheeseballs look gorgeous and very tasty!

    Wow, what a cliffhanger!!!!!

    Cheers,

    Rosa

  4. Wow, I´m so crazy about chevre, and never ever thought of making some of my own. I have to hunt down goat´s milk. Amazing!
    The saga is about to end and it feels weird! How many of these stories do you have left? jaja

  5. When I first saw the picture I thought :”yay! lisa made labneh (yougurt cheese)” it is my favorite thing to eat in the morning with some pita and a cup of tea
    but then I read the recipe and I love it even more. I never knew making chevre was that easy!
    I need to try it very soon

  6. The chèvre is incredible my friend, looks too yum!
    And gooood I’m dying I can’t believe the finale is that close! What are we going to do when your story finishes!!!

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru

  7. Again Lisa, You are so ambitious…joining yet another food challenge and making cheese! I would love nothing more but to dip my fingers into that jar and sample a cheeseball! After you publish your novel you need to publish your gourmet cookbook:) You WOW me every time!

  8. I need the next part already! That’s a crazy cliffhanger… And I’m drooling over the cheese and bread.

  9. Oh my word, cheese love makes me happy!!! I have read homemade Greek yogurt, and homemade cheese posts…….AND now I must make some:-) I love how easy your recipe is, and seriously sounds delicious! Hugs, Terra

  10. i first had ‘olive oil and herbs cheese’ when i was in france-the alps-20 years ago.
    except there, at least back then, they didn’t use these fancy ”starters”. many farmers use(d) the original stomach linings for curdling cheese. they also use(d) raw milk and their indigenous bacteria for actually fermenting the goat cheese-
    it was pretty cool-
    thanks for giving us an easier way to do it!
    and thanks, again, for your awesome story! i was so psyched to see another post from PSD&LD :)

    • Awww..thanks johanna!! xoxox I like the natural ‘way’ of making cheese..but you definitely won’t see me with a stomach lining in my hand..like Ma lol

  11. Holy cliffhanger!

    I’m definitely going to check out Cheezepalooza – cheesemaking has been on my list forever. Your chevre sounds amazing! Nice to know it can be made naturally too :)

  12. Hi Lisa, your goat’s cheese balls look delicious, and your photography is amazing! I hate to break it to you but buttermilk contains the same bacteria as the starter cultures, it’s just buttermilk is in liquid form and the ones used in the book are freeze dried. I used one called Flora Danica, sounds much nicer doesn’t it?! But essentially they’re all the same! I sometimes use natural yoghurt too, as that has an effective starter culture as long as it’s live.

  13. What? A proposal? Can’t wait to read that last installment. I admire your cheese making fortitude as I’ve been too intimidated to try. Really like the buttermilk substitution on this delicious result I would have balked too. I just returned from Turkey two days ago. This pida made me ant to go back. I miss the food.

  14. I have been making goat cheese this summer, but I can’t believe how expensive the milk is. I found out that my grocer drops it to a buck a half gallon a week before expiration, so I have been making it about every 6 weeks! I love those balls in oil, and that bread…..we dive in with a drizzle of honey and fresh ground black pepper…and crusty bread. You know I love this love story….

  15. Goat cheese one of my favorites especially with a french baguette. Love the additional flavors you created as well as your own breads…very yummy. Your photos are great and love the cheese ball that is moist and dripping. Thanks for leaving us hanging once again with your story :).

  16. You totally got me with this homemade cheese
    I’ve got to make it!!
    And once I do – we certainly gonna eat it with pita-bread.
    I’m pinning this

  17. Well done on the chèvre girl! It looks awesome and it sounds like you did a better job then me. Lol. Are you making the halloumi or feta? I want to do both as they are my favorites so I got to do it…:)
    And wow…. Another part; you’re just doing it on purpose don’t you? I want to know how it ends!!!

  18. I have always wanted to make cheese (other than ricotta) at home, but since I came to Korea and now that I have more spare time for that, the milk here will not turn into cheese, I will have to try it when I go back to Brazil. Your Chevre looks divine!!
    I’m biting my nails with your story, the suspense is killing me :)

  19. whoa-that is amazing cheese, Lisa! Love chevre and your spicy version is unbelievable. The Turkish flatbread is incredible. I want it all-right now. Especially the cheese with the drip that seems to be waiting for me;P

  20. Hi Lisa, I just read your comment, and left a reply for you on my blog. ‘Great minds think alike’ …what a coincidence. Late last nite, I pinned your beautiful jar of the cheeseballs in the jars, and had no idea that it originated from you. I love, love, the method of making the awesome cheese, and the flatbread is gorgeous. I want to read your post story, which sounds so cute and romantic/funny, but now, I must take my car in for a ‘oil change appt’…come to think of it, maybe not now…it’s pouring rain!

  21. Huge props for making your own chevre! I’m still so afraid to do that myself, but one day..

    And yay! The 7 makes another appearance!

  22. I have a small bit of chevre left from my batch… I’m so jealous of your cheese balls in olive oil that I may have to take that bit of inspiration from you!

  23. Wow, wow, wow Lisa. This project sounds so fun. i have to check it out. You made goat cheese? Too cool! l0ok amazing. Oh you are sucha tease with that ending! Although I have a feeling abotu what part 18 will say. The hurt and pain part…seems to be the normal at any age.

  24. Ok Lisa, the story telling cheese making goddess- Im up for a challenge. Booya! Lets make cheese! Why? Because I love cheese and have not been brave enough to try and two because Im sick of visiting money lenders and loan sharks every time I stock up on GOOD cheese. Um where in the world do I get rennet?

    • Tara..I bought my rennet tablets online here – http://www.cheesemaking.com/cheeserennets.html

      —————–

      LOL@ the loanshark barb. Yep..the good artisan cheeses can be quite pricey! For like 10 bucks..you can make a ton of your own that’s just as good or better!

  25. This project not only sounds fun, but you’ve made everything soooo drool-worthy!!!

  26. It is so cool you made your own cheese! This is something I have never tried it yet, but want to! And the flatbread what can I say, it looks absolutely finger licking!

  27. I can’t believe you made chevre!!! Marvelous!!! I stopped after ricotta :) And those cheeseballs look fantastic, Lisa. OK, hurry up and post Part 18!!!!

  28. Mmm…Really underrated rustic delicacy – creating fresh gourmet cheese balls using buttermilk and spices…drenched in olive oil, and making your own flatbread. Awesome effort. A tomato salad and wine and the ensemble is complete.++++++++ As to Dreamboat and a Fairy Tale ending, it was just not to be, but you two defied all the odds for so long. Could the bond of your intimacy be snapped – odd these days to consider this – BY A MERE KISS? Understandable. But internally it seemed the furnace that stoked that fire by then was already dowsed by your own needs….and realizing that your growing intellectual and emotional voids were eventually not going to be filled. You were maturing. Was it possible to be brokenhearted AND relieved at the same time? Seemed that was the case. Reminds me of when I had to dump Taylor Swift for Sofia Vergara a couple years ago.*Sssshhhh…..*

  29. I hope you do realize how into your post I was that I instantly opened my mouth when i saw the photo of the dripping oil from your cheese ball
    I’m so hungry right now!

  30. I’m so glad part 17 isn’t the end! I’ll be sad when part 18 is, but I’m sure you have lots of stories to entertain us with..all writers do! Love the cheeseballs and flatbread..amazing that you made it from scratch..very ambitious!!

  31. Ohhhh making cheese is so much fun!
    I also made Ricotta and Mascarpone before, but never tried to make my own chevre yet.
    Your cheese came out beautifully! I really like the flavors combination,
    and the picture of the cheese balls floating inside the oil jars are incredibly cute :)
    The pastry also looks really yummmmmy, wtg!
    Always fun to visit your blog :)
    Shana tova!
    Inbal

    • P.s.
      In your inspiration, I tried to use pretzel powder in my macarons,
      and filled it with stout ganache-
      The result was yummy!
      You are welcome to stop by and check it out ;)

  32. omg Lisa!! I’ve never made cheese before in my life and I’m so inspired right now! WOW You are seriously so amazing!!! I’m going to look at your mascarpone and ricotta now. hehe..

  33. What am I going to do when this is over?! You will have to start another one. :-) Love the flatbread with the great flavors of the chevre. There is a special satisfaction you get when you make everything from scratch, so I am sure this recipe was very rewarding to put together. It looks great!

  34. Chèvre!! Favorite cheese! As if I don’t have enough on my monthly blog plate, I seriously think I need to make cheese. I’m a cheese addict and would love to learn how to make my own from scratch. Headed over to check out Cheesepalooza as soon as I’m done typing this. I’ve made ricotta before but that’s it so I can’t wait to see what I’ll learn! And I can’t believe this story is coming to an end! I look forward to each and every post you publish but the ones with your bad boy love story are always extra special. You are an incredible writer and have me hanging on each and every word. Can’t wait to read the finale yet I don’t want it to end.

  35. […] at Parsley Sage and Sweet from NYC New York USA The first photo is a Crushed Red Chili Pepper, Lemon, Garlic, Herb Goat […]

  36. And now you are making your own cheese, too? And of course, not just goat cheese! No, not you! Spicy Garlic Herb Chevre!!! Wowee I want some of this. It looks amazing! And professional! And the filled turkish bread, I want to come and live with you so we can eat all this happily, side by side. Stunning, Lisa, all of it. You never ever fail to impress me even when I expect greatness. And the story…. I have nothing left to say. I am riveted!

  37. Oh my goodness, I’ve been so out of the loop, I only saw that you wrote part 17 just now! And you made cheese????!!! This is a great post!! Lisa you seriously have to write a book ;) Can’t wait for the finale!

  38. […] Parsley Sage & Sweet, Chevre Cheeseballs in Oil […]

  39. This looks amazing!! So does everything you made with it. You just started a mad craving. :)

    • Thank you, Sue! It was all amazing :) Hope you try them!

  40. […] Instructions here. […]

  41. Has anyone actually made these? I would love to know how they taste in your opinion. I am looking for a fun gift to give to friends this year and I love the look of these!

    • We made these for Thanksgiving and they were out of this world, but we also made the goat cheese from scratch, so not sure if that makes a difference or not. We fit as many garlic cloves into the oil that would fit because we love garlic, but if you want to kiss someone, don’t do that! LOL

  42. How long can you keep the chevre bottled

    • Hi, Manda, I would use it within a week, no longer. But, if you don’t finish it all immediately like we do (it’s really yummy lol), make sure the leftover cheeseballs are covered completely with olive oil and sealed tight :)


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