Monday, April 2, 2012
Udderly Delicious: Coming soon!
This is Josie, one of our dairy goats. From her and Jenni, another goat we purchased so she wouldn't be lonely, we get about half a gallon of milk each day. That's way more than we drink, so we decided to try our hand at some cheesemaking.
Goat milk is different than cow milk. With cow milk, the fat globules are larger and easily clump together. You don't often see this in store bought milk because it's been homogenized, which means the fat globules have been broken up and distributed evenly through the milk. Goat milk, on the other hand, has much smaller fat globules. They're spread out because of their size, so goat milk is (essentially) naturally homogenized. What does this mean? Well, it's very hard to make butter out of goat's milk. Making butter requires cream, and to get cream from fresh milk you need to wait for it to rise to the top or use a cream separator. For cow milk the waiting may only be a day. For goat milk it could take up to two weeks. Cream separators are fairly expensive (about $400) and unless you have a lot of milk to process it's not worth it.
However, this milk does make some excellent cheese, as we have found out. The chèvre is soft and smooth, a little bit tangy, and the feta has that perfect texture. I've never had paneer before, but I was surprised I was actually able to put it in a pan and fry it! It reminded me quite a bit of tofu, as it didn't have much flavor on its own. We'll hopefully get into doing some hard cheeses, like cheddar, but for now we're making these fresh ones.
The other night, K picked some blackberries from out in the field and cooked them down with some sugar, then drizzled them over some of the chèvre. Amazing. Homemade cheese. Blackberries from the yard. If you'll remember my post from last year I asked, "Do you know where your food comes from?" It thrills me to be able to point out the window and answer, "Right here."
In the coming weeks I'd like to honor our wonderful pair of goats who work so hard to provide us with milk (and by "work so hard" I really mean "eat a lot of fancy food") so I will be posting some recipes using homemade goat cheeses: chèvre, feta, mozzarella, ricotta, and paneer. I'm planning on some marinated feta, a chèvre and mozzarella mac and cheese, some lasagna (maybe with some homemade pasta), and perhaps a curry dish using the paneer.
(And yes, I know I owe you a Beef Stroganoff post to finish up To Russia, With Love! Please head over to HighTail Farms and you can see why I haven't had a lot of free time to post! I'll try and get that up soon.)