Good Tasting Goat Milk
By Crystal Miller
One of the most common complaints I hear about goat is milk is that people donít like the taste of it. I have tasted delicious tasting goat milk that you could not distinguish from cowís milk and I have tasted goat milk that was terrible tasting!! So what makes good tasting goat milk?
After several years of raising goats I have found that there are a few things to know to keep your goat milk tasting fresh and delicious. The basics to good goat milk are cleanliness in the milking process, proper handling of the milk and the goatís diet.
The first issue is the importance of cleanliness in the milking process and proper handling of the milk. Not only will this contribute to better tasting milk but it is important for health reasons as well!
You need to keep all the goat milking equipment in a clean and sanitary. I wash mine daily in my dishwasher so they can be sterilized by the hot water. If you donít have this option then after washing the milking buckets, strainers, storage containers, etc. you can soak them in bleach water for a few minutes and then let them air dry. I would add a couple of tablespoons of bleach to a gallon or so of water for this soaking.
When you go to milk you need to have a clean a cloth to wash the does udder. I buy the inexpensive washcloths from Wal-Mart. These are the ones that come in a bundle for about $5.00. I wash them with hot soapy, bleach water to keep them clean. They are not used for any other purposes. I have several wide mouth canning jars that I use to take to the barn with me. I put a few drops of grapefruit seed extract (for disinfectant purposes) in the jar, fill part way up with warm water and put the dishcloths (1 for each doe) in there and take this to the barn with me.
When I get the doe on the milking stanchion I wash the udder with this cloth. Then the first few squirts of milk go into a small cup to ensure that any bacterium that may be around the teat is flushed out.
Then I milk into my clean bucket. Now comes the proper handling of the milk. Goat milk has a lot of good active enzymes that multiply rapidly at room temperature. They will continue to multiply in the refrigerator as well, but much slower. These enzymes in the milk are what can sometimes give the milk an off taste. Some people will pasteurize their milk to stop this enzyme activity. I do not do that because I want my family to benefit from all the wonderful health qualities of raw milk.
Here is how I handle the milk after I have finished milking the doe. I take the milk to the house and strain it in my clean strainer (with a disposable milk filter) into a clean 2qt. or one gallon glass jar. Then the milk goes into the freezer for about 2 hours to cool it down quickly. This quick freezing of the milk will stop the enzyme activity without killing all the good benefits of raw milk.
I can leave the milk in the freezer until I need it if I am starting to get a large supply of milk, or I can take it out of the freezer after about 2 hours and put it in the fridge and drink and enjoy it!
A goatís diet has a huge influence on the taste of the goat milk. In fact I personally have found that if my milk tastes a little off then improving my does diet is one of the best ways to quickly improve the taste of milk.
When my does are in milk the first thing I do is keep them penned in an area that does not have a lot of brush and weeds to eat. Because the taste of goatís milk can be easily influenced by what they eat, many weeds and plants can give the milk a real off and undesirable taste. I keep them on a diet of grain and good quality, high protein hay.
The grain I feed my milking does is a livestock feed I purchase at a local feed store. It is especially for lactating animals and has a 16% protein level. It is a sweet fed meaning that it has had molasses added to it which not only is a great treat for the goats but also helps with the improving the taste of the milk.
I also feed my does either alfalfa hay or a mixture of a good quality alfalfa and grass hay mix. Again this will have that high protein that is needed to make milk and make it taste good as well! If you donít have access to alfalfa hay then you can purchase alfalfa pellets to add to the grain at feeding time instead. You will still need to feed them free choice grass hay. But one way or another I highly recommend the alfalfa for improved taste of milk.
One last bit of advice for improving the taste of your goat milk is to make sure that you are not keeping your doe housed with your buck (if you have one). Bucks stink and that can have an effect on the milk!
Now you can enjoy all the benefits of wonderful tasting, fresh and delicious raw goatís milk!!
On The Homestead
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