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.
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.