Monday, March 1, 2010
Something I have wanted to try since we started milking goats over 3 years ago was to make cheese. I finally decided as I went down to milk this morning that today was the day. I have only been keeping the milk to freeze and stockpile so far to build up a good supply for when we start feeding calves. This morning at milking time I brought down warm soapy water to wash the goats' udders and took great care to keep everything clean for human consumption. Of course about half way through somebody decided to step in their milk pail so we were only able to get a half gallon to work with (the recipe calls for 1 gallon of fresh milk). A friend told me last year about these little Junket Rennet tablets that are sold in the ice-cream topping aisle at Walmart. They are labeled for making ice-cream and custard, but there are also cheese recipes inside. Now being I am married to a world famous cheese maker and all I do have a few in's if I run into problems~ I know the guy to talk to about cheese. We started by gathering our supplies, steamed the pot, and read through all the directions. The kids simply could not wait to get started:)) I did not refrigerate the milk after milking as the recipe says that the fresher the milk the better. First we strained the milk. I found these pickle jars at a garage sale a couple of years ago that hold 60+ ounces and are marked on the side in 20 ounce increments. We usually keep a chart in the barn to record each does milking in ounces, then pour all the milk into gallon jars. They come in really handy to measure milk for feeding calves as well.Once the milk was strained we checked the temperature. It needed to be at 68 degrees before inoculation. Perfect! Rob said I have to do things perfectly or the cheese won't turn out. Can't just dump and guess and be close enough like I usually do. Next we put the live culture yogurt into a stainless steel pan. Added the milk. And Grace mixed it all up. Now it sits on the stove top overnight and tomorrow the experiment continues and hopefully will result in cheese.And being I had such a milk mess in the kitchen already we strained the other gallons of milk in the fridge to put in the freezer. If all goes well I am on my way tomorrow to pick up the first of our calves for the season. The plan is to raise 2 at a time on goats milk hopefully avoiding milk replacer all together this year. But then that means I am committed to a minimum of 12 weeks of feeding in order to raise 4 calves. Uggh! We'll see if I cave or not and just buy the supplemental milk replacer before then. I was so excited to see all the cream that rose to the tops of the jars after sitting in the refrigerator for a few days. It made me start to get excited about the possibilities of skimming some of that off when the calves don't need it so bad and making my own butter. Then there are the different soap recipes I am excited to explore as well this summer. As much as I am looking forward to getting the calves I am already feeling a bit stingy to share so much of our precious milk with them now that I know a little more what I could be doing with it. But I'm sure when I see their cute little faces tomorrow I won't mind sharing one little bit!