20 April 2009

Making goat's butter and yogurt

The kids are weaned off milk, we started weaning them at 8 weeks old, and completed the transition to warm water in the end of their 9th week. They are grass burners now, and they are doing quite well on a few bales of the best hay in the barn. Watching their condition closely for signs of dropping weight, we have been ready to feed them some grain, but their condition has held and even started to gain again in the last few days, and we would prefer not to feed them any grain as it changes the bacteria and pH balance in their rumens.

Now that the milk is all ours, I have been rubbing my hands together with all of my dairy desires. Butter and yogurt are on the top of the list. I have a mid 20th century cream separator, designed for the home dairy in mind, but that would be the home cow dairy. It is inefficient to put less than a gallon through the separator, so I saved up milk for two days, so that I would have a gallon and a half. When we were milking a Jersey cow, I separated the cream twice a day, and also had to wash the darn thing twice a day. So I am quite happy to reduce that chore to once every two days.

The milk must be warm to separate, between 95-105F, so I warmed it on top of a pan of boiling water, double-boiler style, to be sure that the milk did not scald.

The cream separator works just as well for the goat's cream as it did for the cow's cream. In fact, I think it separated better with the temperature of the milk above 100F. Cream is more viscous when it is warm, and does not stick to the discs inside of the separator as much. My pail of fresh cow's milk, after being filtered, would likely have cooled down to 85 to 95F by the time it made it to the separator. When I took the cream separator apart after the first run with the goat's milk, I noticed that very little cream had been left inside.

One perk of using a cream separator is that it makes perfect cappuccinos! I worked as a barrista at a fancy restaurant in my city days, and in my prime could hardly have made such perfect peaks as these.

I collected cream for 6 days, until I had a quart. It took about 4 gallons of milk to make a quart of cream, which would work out to 4% butterfat. The cream is perfectly white, instead of the rich creamy color of Jersey cream, but it has a delicate and mild flavor, and it kept well without going sour. I actually think that the goat's cream has a more mild flavor than the Jersey cream, and I had more problems with cream spoilage. I could usually only keep the Jersey cream for 4-5 days max before it would start to sour and make off-flavored butter. But not so with the goat's cream, it was still sweet and fresh on the sixth day.

Again, my butter churn is designed for the home cow dairy, and can fit up to 2.5 quarts of cream, but one quart is the minimum. It came with a small hand-crank, and I used to turn that handle for at least 20 minutes before churning the butter out, but Mr. Fritillary, always looking to improve designs, fitted the drill onto the shaft that the handle was screwed onto, and made churning butter into a 3 minute job.

For an excellent tutorial on making butter at home, head on over to Throwback at Trapper Creek's blog and read her post "Butter me up".

The goat's cream behaved just the same as cow's cream, except that it can be worked at a slightly lower temperature, between 55-60F.

The butter is pure white, and again, I would use the word delicate to describe it. Both in texture and in flavor. It was slightly softer than cow's butter when I was working the buttermilk out, due to the factor that it seems to melt at a lower temperature. I made sure to drain off the buttermilk first, it was sweet just like the cream, and great for baking.

The butter is delicious, creamy, mild, and not at all "goaty". Never once, in my home goat dairy experience, have I found either the milk, or any products of it, to be "goaty" in flavor or smell. We did try some goat's milk from the farmer's market before buying our goats, and found it to be slightly tangy, but not off-putting, and figured we would get used to the flavor. But the flavor of the milk, whether cow or goat, is often due to handling, cleanliness and freshness. And our own goat's milk is fresh, clean and from a healthy animal, and that makes all the difference.

One quart of cream makes one pound of butter, so I should be getting one pound of butter every 6 days, along with a quart of yogurt a day, and 1.5 quarts of skimmed milk a day. And that is with a single dairy-cross goat. It is perfect for us, and we would be able to put away plenty of milk and butter for the dry-season, as well as making cheeses, with one more dairy-cross, or with just one pure dairy goat. But with the two dairy-cross does, we will also be able to provide for our own meat as well, from the kids. And two does still consume about 1/3 the amount of one small dairy cow.

I couldn't resist making up some buttermilk pancakes with fresh butter, what a treat!

And with all of that extra skimmed milk, made some yogurt. Dairy heaven! In the past, I have purchased store-bought yogurt, Balkan style, with active acidophilus cultures, as my yogurt starter. But I thought I'd try the freeze-dried packets at the health food store. It has three bacterial cultures, including acidophilus.

The resulting yogurt has a thinner texture than I expected, but creamy and well flavored, slightly-tangy. In my second batch, I used 1/2 cup of yogurt from the previous batch, to culture each quart. I'm not sure that this yogurt will work well for drained-yogurt, a cream-cheese-like spread. If not, then I will try again with the Balkan style yogurt starter.


Becca's Dirt said...

I need to come to your farm for some lessons. I want some chickens and goats. Seriously. Maybe this time next year I might be writing about my animals in addition to my veggie and flower gardens.

Shari said...

Thank you for the info about goat dairy. I'd also love to have some goats someday.
I had to smile when I saw your buttermilk pancakes with fresh butter. I had a very similar blog posting just a couple weeks ago -- but we made waffles. I had to use store bought cream. Someday though....


Chiot's Run said...

Fascinating. I've always wanted to know about how goat milk compared to cow's milk and how it tastes compared to cow's. We got an extra share from our farm this year, so we're getting 3 gallons of cow's milk each week, I'm hoping to use our extra gallon for cheese making, I should be able to make a couple pounds of cheese every month.

farm mom said...

Wonderful post!! Thanks for sharing my friend. And I'm glad dairy's back on the menu!! :) You know, I always had thinner yogurt too when using raw milk.

Country Girl said...

Great post!! I have two dairy goats that I've yet to breed. I think I am just dreading the thought of adding milking to my daily chores.
I love your hubby's idea. I will use that if I ever get one of those!

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

Becca, chickens and goats are a great place to start with livestock. They are fun to watch, relatively easy to care for, and very rewarding to keep.

Shari, glad the goat dairy post was helpful. I started out making butter in a mason jar too. :)

Chiots, good luck with your cheese, looking forward to your posts. Next year we would like to keep a second doe and order in some cheese cultures and rennet as well. Yum cheese!

farm mom, I do love our Spring menu! I had only ever used the Balkan style yogurt starter and it came out nice and firm, almost like cheese curds, but when I mixed it up it turned out really creamy and smooth. Next trip to town I'm going to get some of the Balkan yogurt and see if it turns out the same with the goat's milk.

Country Girl, you are right, dairy does add some extra chores to the day. I would average it out at most, an hour a day if you are planning to make dairy products like butter, yogurt and cheese. And that also includes the daily care for the animals. But if you are just drinking the milk whole, it only takes a few minutes to milk out a goat, and another 10 minutes in the kitchen filtering and washing up. There's nothing quite like fresh milk!

Cindy said...

oooo darn you, now I am drooling! Oh well, I'm off ot have some toast with my lame store bought cow butter and I'll pretend its yummy goat butter! :p

Cindy said...

oh, and since I remembered...how the heck do you pronounce your name? Frey-ja? Free-zha? Its the middle of the night here at the question just struck me.

Freija and Beringian Fritillary said...

Cindy, nothing beats the simple combination of bread and butter, except of course, bread and butter and honey. Yumm.

Well, I always figured it was Frey-ha, using the spanish prounouciation of the j, but I may be wrong. They are pseudonyms, I was doing some research in butterfly identification and came across the names. The Freija Fritillary and the Beringian Fritillary are species of Arctic butterflies. Just liked the sound of them. :)

prasad4793 said...

hello freinds , i want to make out business from goats can any body give suggestions please u can mail me at prasadmalladi@ymail.com