For many years my husband said we should get a goat and my response always was no, goat people are weird!!! I still believe that goat people are weird but I too am a goat person so I can say that. Up until a year ago we had goats and will probably get more soon but I just had to share with you a few tips about goats…
#1 What ever you feed your goat that is what the milk will taste like. Goats are well known for eating weeds and I just don’t care for the taste of weeds. So, since I grew up on cows milk and we fed it hay, we decided to feed our goats hay along with some sweet grain called COB (corn, oats and barley with molasses on it) and that was it! This made our goats milk and cheese taste just like cows milk and cheese.
#2 Goats multiply quickly. Goats need to freshen or in other words have new kids or baby goats about once a year. They are pregnant for about 5 months. I believe it’s 4 months, 4 weeks and 4 days. They usually have twins if not sometimes triplets. So, be willing to part with the new little ones when you get them because you will have a heard if your not too careful they are so cute!
#3 Goats eat ALOT less hay than cows. Like I said, I grew up on cows milk and since I moved away from the farm I still wanted to have the ability to have fresh milk and a cow would produce WAY too much for my little family I opted for a goat after I tried the milk and could not tell the difference from the whole milk I was currently purchasing from the store. So… back to the subject… not only do you get just the right amount of milk for a small family (sometimes it’s even too much) you end up feeding them alot less hay.
#4 Goat Cheese and Yogurt is SOOO GOOD! Here is where I get to show you how to make goat cheese and yogurt.
Heidi’s Homemade Goat Cheese Recipe
(This was my cows milk recipe and I just cut it in half when I make goats cheese since goats produce less milk)
How to Make Hard Cheese
(Makes 1 ½ – 2 Pounds)
1. PREPARATION OF THE MILK
Allow 4 quarts of evening’s milk to ripen overnight in cool place (50-60°F.). Mix in 4 quarts of next morning’s milk. This will give a better cheese than if you use all fresh milk; however milk must taste sweet. You may use either cow’s or goat’s milk with equally good results.
2. WARM THE MILK TO 86°F.
In an enameled or tinned pail, heat milk to 86°F.
3. ADD CHEESE COLOR
If yellow cheese is desired, dissolve one-eighth (or less, according to color desired) of a “Hansen’s Cheese Color Tablet in a tablespoon of water, and stir into milk. (Never mix cheese color into rennet tablet solution.)
4. ADD CHEESE RENNET
Dissolve ¼ of a “Hansen’s” Cheese Rennet Tablet in a glass of cold water; to help tablet dissolve, break and crush with a spoon in water; stir until completely dissolved. For Liquid Rennet- dissolve 40 drops of Rennet into a glass of water. Put the pail of milk in a larger pail of warm water, 88-90°F.; leave in a warm place, protected from draft. Add the rennet solution; stir milk thoroughly for a minute after rennet is added.
5. LET SET UNTIL “CLEAN BREAK”
Let stand undisturbed until a firm curd forms, 30-45 minutes. Test the firmness of curd with your finger; put finger into the curd at an angle and lift. If the curd breaks clean over your finger, it is ready to cut.
6. CUT 2 WAYS VERTICALLY-THEN 2 WAYS AT AN ANGLE
To cut the curd into small cubes, use a long butcher knife or spatula-long enough so that the blade will go clear to the bottom of the pail without the handle dipping into the curd. Cut into squares of about 3/8” as shown in position 1 & 2 on illustration. Then use your knife at an angle see Position 3 in illustration—starting about 1” from the side of the pail; with angular cuts, slice the curd into pieces about ½-1” lower. Then turn the pail and draw similar angular cuts from the other side (Position 4).
7. WARM SLOWLY FOR ABOUT 1 HOUR TO 102°F.
Heat slowly to 102°F. raising the temperature of the curd and whey about 1½° every 5 minutes. Stir (with a spoon) (or with your hand) frequently enough to keep the curd from sticking together. Heating should continue slowly—if necessary a few degrees above 102°F. until the curd holds it’s shape and readily falls apart when held on your hand for a few seconds without squeezing.
8. STOP HEATING. STIR OCCASIONALLY FOR 1 HOUR
Remove from heat. Stir every 5-10 minutes, i.e. enough to keep curd from matting together. Leave curd in the warm whey until it becomes firm enough
so that the pieces in a handful when pressed together will easily shake apart. This will take about an hour. (Most times we skip this step)
9. POUR COUD INTO CHEESE CLOTH
Pour into cheese cloth 3-4 feet square. Then hold 2 corners of the cloth in each hand and let cur roll back and forth with our sticking together for 2-3 minutes to allow whey to run off.
10. SALT CURD
Place cloth with curd in empty pail, sprinkle 1 tablespoon salt over curd, mix well with hands without squeezing; then sprinkle another tablespoon salt on curd and mix well again.(2 Tablespoon total)
My kids love to have this for a treat at this point so I take a little out and then press the rest.
11. FORM INTO BALL AND HANG UP
Tie the four corners of the cloth crosswise, forming the curd into a ball. Hang up for ½ to ¾ hour to drip off.
12. DRESS THE CHEESE
Remove cloth from side of ball. Fold a long cloth, shaped like a dish towel, into a bandage about three inches wide and wrap tightly around ball, forming into a round shape. Pin in place. With your hands, press cheese down to make the top surface of the cheese smooth. There should be no cracks extending into the center of the cheese. Your round loaf of cheese should not be more than six inches across; otherwise it will dry out too much.
13. PRESS CHEESE
Place three or four thicknesses of cheese cloth on top and under the cheese. Put the cheese on lower board of press and push upper board down to rest on cheese; place two bricks on top. At night turn cheese over and put four pricks on top. Let stand until morning.
HEIDI’S HOMEMADE YOGURT
8 cups milk
1 ½ cups instant powdered milk
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 cup yogurt (with live cultures, I like the vanilla flavored yogurt the best!)
Combine the milk and instant powdered milk together. Heat milk in a saucepan to 180 degrees, remove from heat and stir in the sugar. Quickly place pan (with milk in it) into a sink full of ice water to bring the temperature of the milk back down to 110-115 degrees. Add vanilla and yogurt and stir well. On the countertop place pan on a heat pad with lid on pan and cover with a hand towel. If you don’t have a heat pad place it in an oven that is consistently around the temperature of right around 110-115 degrees. I will stay there for about 4-6 hours or overnight. It can go as long as 12 hours but the longer it goes the more tart it will turn out.