I love to show my dairy goats, and in order to do so, I tend to keep a few more than I would if I had the goats just for the home milk supply. Since I have not pursued selling milk to customers, it means I have lots of milk to find ways to use around the farm. I make cheese, butter, ice cream, smoothies and more, and I use the whey from the cheese in baking, as well as giving extra whey and milk to the livestock guardian dogs, the cats and the poultry to supplement their diets. It’s amazing how many ways I can find to use the milk, and I’m hearing more ideas from others all the time.
Milk makes a good base for soups, and it can be substituted for the liquid in most baking and cooking. I remove a bit of the other fats or oils from baking when using milk, especially when using the high butterfat Nigerian milk. I also use whey from cheesemaking in the soups and baking, as well as feeding it back to other animals on the farm. Bread made with whey or milk in the recipe makes for a heartier version that is quite nutritious and good tasting.
A simple refreshing drink can be made by flavoring the milk. My nieces love their fresh goat milk with a dash of vanilla and a spoonful of sugar or honey. Several of my nieces and nephews love chocolate milk, as do I, whether made with a commercial flavoring or with melted real chocolate. Hot, or cold from the fridge, or warm and fresh from the goat, flavored milks are a hit with the kids and adults. I have to admit, many a morning I have carried out a glass with chocolate in it, to milk a goat directly into that glass for warm chocolate milk for breakfast.
Fresh juices mixed with milk make good-tasting drinks. Carrot and orange juice are the two I’ve tried and liked. A quick smoothie in the blender can be made by using milk and whatever fruits, berries or melons, fresh or frozen, are at hand. This is a nice morning drink or in the heat of the day.
My family makes a quick soft-serve ice cream in the blender. Fresh goat milk, frozen berries or fruit, a bit of sweetener, and a dash of vanilla. Blend to a thick, almost shake consistency, and it’s ready to eat. Any ice cream recipe for the homemade ice cream freezers can be adapted with goat milk and goat cream to make wonderful harder ice creams.
There are several quick and easier cheeses to make with fresh milk, which I’ve made plenty of. The simple vinegar or acid cheese, chévre made with cultures, mozzarella, and feta are just a few. These simple cheeses are easy to incorporate into other recipes such as manicotti, lasagna (made with goat meat as well) and more. Amazing how many things one can find to stick that luscious goat cheese into.
Then there are the aged cheeses like cheddar and parmesans. I haven’t tried those yet, but they are on my list of things to try. I’ve talked to a few others with dairy animals who are making aged cheeses, and they love them. They’re a bit tricky to make until one gets the hang of it, but so worth it they tell me. It’s going to require a dedicated area to age the cheeses, so I’m on the lookout for a small fridge that can be set to a moderate temperature and kept at the proper moisture for a cheese cave.
Quite a few of my friends make kefir with the kefir grains, regularly. The grains multiply when growing in the milk. Some drink it the way it grows, others flavor it with various fruity flavors to vary it from day to day. There is a culture that can be bought to make kefir, but it’s not self-perpetuating like the kefir grains are.
Yogurt made with goat milk is a bit different than typical store-bought yogurt with cow milk, in my experiences. I’ve found it to be a bit thinner and runnier, but very tasty and takes flavorings very well. (Ed. note: Add powdered milk to yogurt to thicken it.) After making yogurt, it can be drained through cheesecloth to make yet another soft cheese that is quite versatile.
I skim off cream from the milk regularly, and put it in the freezer in a container until I get enough to make a batch of butter. It’s easy to do low-tech, by putting room-temperature cream in a canning jar, put the lid on tightly and roll under the foot while rocking and doing something else, like watching movies, reading or working on the computer. It’s also a good job for children to burn off a bit of energy to have them take turns shaking the jar until it begins to make thumping noises from the clumps of butter. They often enjoy watching their butter miraculously come to life in that jar of cream.
Butter can also be made in the blender or mixer without the physical effort of a human, which is nice, the older I get. My sister and many of my friends make soaps and lotions out of goat milk as well. These are very moisturizing products for the skin.
The longer I raise dairy goats, the more ways I find to use up all the wonderful milk my goats produce. It’s just one more way we try to make our homestead pay its own way, and we reap the rewards of our chosen lifestyle. When I am looking for goat milk recipes or new ideas to try, I often turn to some books like the following: Goat’s Produce Too, by Mary Jane Toth; Cheese Making Made Easy, by Rikki Carroll (available from the Dairy Goat Journal Bookstore); or The Complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Juliette Baracli de Levy. (This last one has some recipes for curdling the milk with herbs.)
There are a number of great sources for cheesemaking supplies; one of the best I’ve heard of is New England Cheesemaking. They seem to carry any and everything needed to make cheese of any kind and are a wonderful source of information. There are sites on the Internet that discuss cheesemaking as well, where cheesemakers share ideas and help.
Simple Quick Soft-Serve Ice Cream
Fresh goat milk
Frozen milk cubes (goat milk frozen in ice cube trays and saved for ice cream making)
Fresh or frozen fruit of choice
Sweetener of choice (sugar, honey, maple syrup, agave, Splenda)
Add enough frozen milk cubes to fill 1/3 of the blender, add another 1/3 of fruit, pour in milk to cover and add sweetener to taste along with a dash of vanilla. Blend to a soft serve or milkshake consistency and enjoy!
Vinegar, or Acidic Cheese
2 gallons goat milk
1/2 cup or more vinegar or lemon juice
Heat milk to at least 100°F (most recipes call for up to 185°F, and you can do that if you choose) in a stainless steel pot. Add vinegar or lemon juice until the milk begins to curdle, approximately 1/2 cup for 2 gallons of milk. Once the milk begins to curdle, stir well, and cover and let sit with no heat under it for an hour or more.
Then ladle cheese curds into a lined colander (cheese cloth, new diaper material, pillow case linen, or layers of good-quality paper towels) and let drain over another pan to catch the whey. You can stop draining while soft and creamy for a soft spreadable cheese, or drain longer for a drier, crumbly cheese.
Mix in sea salt to taste (approximately 1 teaspoon) and whichever seasonings you choose. Dill, green onion, garlic and herbs—the choices are limitless.
Chill and enjoy on breads, crackers, salads, in pasta dishes like Manicotti and more.
Fried Cheese Sticks
Make cheese above, mold the cheese after draining fairly dry into carrot-stick shapes or into a rectangular box lined with parchment paper. Cut into strips and freeze individually on cookie sheets. Take from freezer and batter with your choice of batters, then fry quickly in hot oil.
Homemade Cheese "Ravioli"
Fresh goat cheese (chévre, vinegar cheese, mozzarella or other soft cheese)
Wonton skins (sold in grocers for oriental wontons)
Keep a wet towel over the wonton skins while working to keep them soft and pliable so they won’t crack.
Fill each skin with a dab of cheese, (I find that frozen cheese works best, as it doesn’t melt clear out of the ravioli), fold over and seal the edges with egg whites brushed on the seams. Bake, boil or fry the raviolis and serve them with a good red tomato sauce of your choice.
Manicotti with Goat Cheese
Fresh goat cheese (chévre, vinegar cheese)
Mozzarella (goat, of course!)
A good red sauce, marinara, garlic or other sauce of your choice
I use a cheese that is flavored with dill, oregano or an Italian blend of flavorings.
Mix mozzarella cheese, soft cheese, and egg together in a bowl.
In a 9 x 13 inch pan, pour a small layer of sauce in the bottom, fill each manicotti noodle with cheese mixture, and lay them in the pan, pour sauce over the entire set of noodles, cover and bake at 350°F until shells begin to soften well. Uncover and add more cheese to the top and bake until it melts well.
Serve hot with a good salad and fresh bread.
Tip: making the sauce with a bit more liquid than usual really helps the noodles soften well.