Tag Archives: Producing goat milk

Cheese Begins As Milk

When I started raising goats, it was for the milk. I liked drinking milk and had problems drinking cow’s milk, but not goat milk. Except the amount of milk in the refrigerator kept mounting. Well, cheese begins as milk.

The simplest cheese is set with vinegar. The milk is heated enough to kill off most bacteria in the milk.

cheese begins as milk safely produced
Goat milk absorbs odors and can get dirty left open in the milk room making a stainless steel tote a must. Warm milk breeds bacteria. A simple ice bottle can cool milk in the tote during hot weather.

For most cheeses the milk is not heated to those temperatures. The milk can be pasteurized before making the cheese, but then various starters must be added or the cheese doesn’t make well.

I prefer to use unpasteurized milk to make cheese. That makes the remark cheese begins as milk take on great significance. Bacteria laden milk will spoil the cheese.

Clean milk begins with good milking equipment. I started with a quality stainless steel milk bucket and tote. These are expensive, but good care keeps them in good shape for decades.

Nubian doe on milk stand
Dairy goats do have long legs, but they are still close to the ground. The solution is a milk stand. This is a simple, sturdy one used now for over thirty years. The legs are braced. The front has two 2 x 4’s, one rigged with a bolt to act as a stanchion. The latch is a long nail on a chain pushed through a hole. The metal mesh on the stand does collect dirt, but provides good footing for the goat. The stand restrains the goat for giving shots and trimming hooves as well as for milking. the Nubian doe is High Reaches Pamela.

Warm milk is a great place to live in the opinion of bacteria. Winter cold takes care of this problem for months. As soon as temperatures stay above sixty other measures are needed. My solution is a pint plastic juice bottle of ice placed in the tote to cool the milk as soon as it is added. If you do this, remember water expands ten percent when it freezes (Investigation found in “The City Water Project”) so leave head space.

Both the milking equipment and the ice bottle are cleaned as soon as the milk is poured out. Scratching stainless steel ruins it. A soft scouring pad cleans without scratching.

cheese begins as milk from an udder
Some books say to wash the goat’s udder. Others say not to. For me, I wash a muddy udder. Otherwise I brush it off. A circular, hard rubber horse curry comb works really well even for dirt. A stainless steel bucket is best and I had one for years. At a time I thought I was quitting milking, I sold my bucket. The Tupperware pitcher works well, but must be thoroughly cleaned. If my milk stays fresh in the refrigerator for over seven days, my procedure is working. Otherwise I check for sloppiness.

Goat milk needs to be strained into clean glass jars and refrigerated as soon as possible. Some cheeses use milk fresh from the barn. The vinegar cheese does. Feta and Cuata can be fresh or cold. Mozzarella milk must be cold.

Don’t fall into this trap: ‘the milk looks clean, why bother to strain it?’ It’s amazing what you don’t see. Taking a sip of milk and getting a mouthful of hair is really icky. You can use special filters. I’ve used Viva paper towels for years with good results.

Cheese begins as milk. Now that good, clean milk is waiting in the kitchen, it’s time to make some cheese. I make  few simple cheeses and will go through them one a week for a few weeks.

Harriet buys her dream Nubian dairy goats and must learn to milk in “Capri Capers“.

Having Fresh Goat Milk

I like milk. To be more precise, I like my own fresh goat milk and use it everyday. Having a steady supply requires planning out when the kids arrive.

A doe produces milk to feed her kids. Dairy animals are bred to produce more milk than their kids require and for a longer period than kids need milk.

fresh goat milk producer Nubian doe High Reaches Silk's Drucilla
Nubian doe High Reaches Silk’s Drucilla posed nicely for her picture, then threw a fit as her twin does were not with her. They came over wondering why their mother was so upset and got their pictures taken. All were glad to be set loose.

Long ago I found I could breed half my does each year and milk the others through the winter months. This does mean milking twice a day, every day, all year round.

The alternative is to purchase a freezer to freeze milk in to last for several months. The goats still need daily care. I milk every day and enjoy my fresh goat milk.

fresh goat milk producer Nubian Doe High Reaches Pixie's Agate
Nubian doe Agate loves attention, but hates being tied up. She is a first freshener and has been milking for a year now. A former bottle baby, she is very friendly and still wants me to go out to pasture with her.

This winter has been trying. Cold spells alternate with warm spells. Even some of the plants are confused as the maples started to swell their flower buds by January. They got blasted by the next cold spell.

It seems to mess the goats up as well. Normally my does have a big heat spell right after the first really cold spell in early September. They stand bawling up at Augustus for two or three days. They wag their tails. They need escort service to come into the milk room.

fresh goat milk producer Nubian doe High Reaches Juliette's Lydia
Nubian doe High Reaches Juliette’s Lydia is positive there is a better way to have her picture taken. I’m thinking the same thing, but haven’t come up with a better plan yet. My goats don’t seem to like posing for the camera.

The rest of the winter the does cycle regularly until they are bred, but at much lower intensity. This winter that changed. Every warm spell, cold spell cycle brought my does into vigorous heat cycles.

Augustus produces that odiferous musk over breeding season. The smell usually starts fading in February. Not this year. He must continue to impress his does and abuse the noses of others.

Each big heat cycle cuts a bit of production from the does I’m milking through. It isn’t much, but accumulates. My supply of fresh goat milk is getting stretches thin.

fresh goat milk producer Nubian doe High Reaches Violet
Nubian doe High Reaches Violet is an older doe. She cooperates with the picture taking, but is not impressed. She prefers acorns to oats. She expects escort service to the milk room most days.

Kids are scheduled to begin arriving in mid-March with the last in early April. This assumes the goats will follow my schedule. Drucilla’s December twin does show they are not overly impressed with the schedule.

Additional fresh goat milk is iffy while the kids are nursing. It depends on who milks first, me or them. They usually win.

The kids should leave in June. Then my kitchen will again overflow with fresh goat milk until November after October bred goats start drying off for the winter.

Find out more about goat milk and milking goats in “Goat Games.”