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How To: Make Goat Cheese & A Food Photo Tip


Let’s skip right to the photography tip, shall we? I’m pretty excited about it.

See this dish of homemade goat cheese, it’s a little less than full:

Homemade Goat Cheese

The best "filler" for a partially filled bowl is a potato. For several reasons.

First, they’re cheap and you probably already have them.

Homemade Goat Cheese3

Second, they can be cut any shape you need. And re-cut if necessary. They also lift out of the bowl cleanly (unlike a paper towel I’ve seen recommended).

Third, they don’t float if you need to use them in a bowl of soup.

Homemade Goat Cheese4

Just place your potato at the bottom of the bowl, fill and you are ready to shoot.

Homemade Goat Cheese5

See, it looks full. You’d never guess it was chocked full of Idaho’s finest.

Homemade Goat Cheese6

This is also a GREAT way to make sure that the soup garnishes "float" on top of the soup bowl. I tried an upside down ramekin for the below shot, but it kept floating, and it was too tall, and since I (obviously) wasn’t able to cut it to shape, I had to overfill the bowl.

Which I later spilled when I went to move it from photo land, to eating land.

Butternut Bisque pomegranate Goat Cheese

 But the idea was good. And the next time I went to shoot some soup, I decided to use a potato cut to shape, and fancied myself a genius. Look how the good stuff just "magically" floats on top. Patiently waiting for it’s photo to be taken.



So. You might not have a complete obsession with photographing food. You might just be here for the recipe. I guess we can talk about that, It turns out making your own goat cheese is really easy, and really good.

SO easy, in fact, that you should try it, it’s almost fail safe.

If you’ve made ricotta (you totally should), you pretty much have already made the cow version of goat cheese, the process is the same.

Homemade Goat Cheese7

Hey, look how full that bowl is.

How To: Make Goat Cheese


  • 1 qt goat milk (do not use ultra-pasteurized, it won’t work)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 lemon, juiced, about 3 tbs
  • Yield: About 1 cup


  1. In a pot over medium high heat, add the goat milk and salt. Bring to a low simmer, stirring occasionally, and allow to cook until temperature reaches 180, about 8 minutes. Turn off heat, add lemon juice and stir once to redistribute lemon juice. Let sit for 5 minutes or until curds form.
  2. Line a colander with two layers of cheese cloth. Pour goat milk into the collandar. Allow to drain for 15 to 30 minutes. The longer your cheese drains, the firmer it will be.


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claire @ the realistic nutritionist December 19, 2012 um 5:39 am

AHH!!! GENIUS! I love that idea. And of course you made your own goat cheese, of course you did.


Averie @ Averie Cooks December 19, 2012 um 8:05 am

Love the potato filler tip. I learned that one a few years ago in a workshop I did with Matt A. It’s amazing how BIG some bowls that don’t even seem that big really are once you start having to fill them to take pics of the food. I learned to buy much smaller bowls than I thought I’d need 🙂


Jackie December 19, 2012 um 9:06 am

And here I was thinking I was so creative! But I’m not surprised Matt figured it out first, he is completely brilliant.


Natalie @ The Devil Wears Parsley December 19, 2012 um 8:23 am

Thanks for the tip! Now if I could only get the night-time shooting down… I need to figure out something soon. Definitely a sad state of affairs.

I need to make this goat cheese too. It is totally a favorite of mine!


Jackie December 19, 2012 um 9:08 am

I don’t even try to shoot at night, just daylight. I know there are some great artificial lights, but It gives me a headache just thinking about adding something else to figure out to my list of things I need to do!


Liz December 19, 2012 um 10:22 am

A potato? What a great idea!! I love, love this practical tip.

PS…your goat cheese looks perfect 🙂


Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet December 19, 2012 um 10:31 am

Potato! I love it! I always wondered how much do you fill the soup bowl to show the garnish floating – now I know 🙂 Thank you, Jackie! Love the goat cheese how-to! Pinning!!


Cassie | Bake Your Day December 19, 2012 um 12:23 pm

I. Love. This. So much. And the potato is a great idea! I usually use a smaller bowl turned upside down but I bet the potato is much easier, being able to cut it. Love this!


Julia December 19, 2012 um 12:30 pm

And if you’re a real food blogger, you reuse that same potato over and over until it’s been in 18 different soup and dip pictures. What, come on, if you haven’t done it, you knooooow you’ve considered saving that thing to reuse it 😉


Gerry @ Foodness Gracious December 19, 2012 um 3:35 pm

What a great idea! If you remember the chocolate bread pudding I recently posted..I had to fake the bottom of that dish as it sunk a little after cooling, I used a couple of tiny ramekins 🙂

tips and tricks of a food blogger 😉


Anna @ Hidden Ponies December 19, 2012 um 4:44 pm

You ARE a genius! I also do the upside down bowl but hadn’t tried it in soup – the floating would’ve driven me crazy 🙂 Also, goat cheese rocks.


Jamie B December 19, 2012 um 7:19 pm

So genius (both the photo tip and the recipe)! I never thought about making my own goat cheese, let alone that it is so simple. I must try both of these, because Lord knows my food pictures need some work. Haha


Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious December 20, 2012 um 9:42 am

Goat cheese from scratch?! I had no idea it was so doable! And that potato-filler tip is just genius – will definitely have to try it this weekend when I’m shooting!


Denise December 20, 2012 um 11:07 am

Genius idea, so simple and clever!
And that goat cheese looks divine, I’m such a goat cheese lover; maybe it’s time to make it myself. Wishing you a wonderful Christmas, Jackie!


Jennifer @ Delicieux December 20, 2012 um 12:59 pm

What a great tip! I would never have thought of using a potato. I’m going to have to try this next time I photograph soup. It’s brilliant.

Homemade goat cheese is fantastic isn’t it? I make it all the time, and its so much cheaper than buying it.


RavieNomNoms December 20, 2012 um 1:58 pm

All sorts of Nommy on this one!


Bree December 20, 2012 um 2:17 pm

First of all, who knew making goat cheese was so darn easy? I love it! Secondly, I love this photo tip. I am the totally ridiculous person laying on my deck trying to capture the last smidge of sun for a photo!


Ashley – Baker by Nature December 20, 2012 um 5:33 pm

I’ve gotta try making my own goat cheese! And the potato tip is pure genius, Jackie!


Kiersten @ Oh My Veggies December 20, 2012 um 5:57 pm

I love this tip! Usually I use a smaller bowl, but you’re right, sometimes that doesn’t always work…


amy @ fearless homemaker December 21, 2012 um 11:33 am

you are a GENIUS! whenever i photograph soup, i put the garnishes on top + then frantically photograph it quickly before they start to sink – now i know how to get ’em to stay on top. So smart! And I’ll take that bowl of goat cheese to go, please. =)


Creamy Vegan Broccoli Avocado Soup & Five Foodie New Years Resolutions December 27, 2012 um 1:36 am

[…] If you want to know how I made the garnishes “float” on top of the soup for the picture, check this out. […]


dena December 27, 2012 um 1:33 pm

Like Amy said! In some of my montages you can see the progression as the garnishes slowly sink. This tip really saves my sanity! Thank you so much for sharing!


lauren brown December 27, 2012 um 8:21 pm

You are brilliant! Can’t belive I never knew how people did that when taking soup pics.


Tina @ Tina’s Chic Corner April 29, 2013 um 5:48 am

I just started my blog in February and this is an amazing tip! Thank you so much. 🙂 Not to mention I love the recipe and can’t wait to try it for my next party.


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