Recently I was entrusted to care for a neighbor’s goats, along with his chickens, dogs, cats and horse. Now, I love all animals, but the goats got me right from the start.
They are so friendly and trusting, even when a stranger is milking them. And being that I’ve only milked cows in the past, it has been an adventure!
My neighbor said that I could take the eggs and milk and use them if I wanted to. Did I! I’ve always loved goat’s milk and to get it fresh has been a real treat. What I didn’t know was how good it is for you, so I studied up, and below are some of the awesome benefits I discovered.
Benefits of Goat’s Milk
- Goats are smaller and easier to handle than cows. This can be a huge benefit if you’re like me and have a tough time trying to get an animal to go where you want.
- Goats are less prone to milk related problems such as mastitis.
- Goat’s milk has more protein, Vitamin A and potassium than cow’s milk.
- Goat’s milk contains a bit of Vitamin C.
- Goat’s milk is easier to digest than cow’s milk. For many years babies were put on goat’s milk diets when they had problems digesting cow’s milk. Now soy is recommended by doctors more often than goat’s milk, but with the possibility of GMOs in soybeans, goat’s milk is becoming a good choice again.
- Goat’s milk is versatile. You can drink it straight, use it in cooking, make cheese (see the recipe below), ice cream or even soap or lotion. Some methods, such as soap making, require the milk be frozen first, so be sure to read your instructions well.
- The calcium in goat’s milk is easier for the body to use.
- Raw goat’s milk has even more benefits. (Watch a video about its benefits here.)
- Goat’s milk can be flavored differently from different breeds of goats, location, feed and more. As you find the flavor nuances, you can choose the milk for your recipes. No matter what the type of goat, all are easy to use.
- Goat’s milk is naturally homogenized, meaning that it doesn’t separate as much as cow’s milk will. This makes it great for higher fat recipes like cheese and ice cream. Goat’s milk also has a bit less lactose than cow’s milk
Goat’s Milk Cheese
Here’s an easy recipe for goat’s milk cheese.
- about 2 quarts of goat’s milk
- ¼ cup freshly-squeezed lemon juice
- a few pinches of sea salt (find real sea salt here)
- herbs, garlic or another flavoring of your choice
Pour the goat’s milk into a medium sauce pan. Heat slowly to bring the temperature to 180°. Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice. Let sit about 30 seconds, and it will start to curdle. There will not be big pieces, but a slight curdling. Line a colander with a few layers of clean muslin. (Some books recommend cheesecloth, but the weave is too loose for a soft cheese. I use muslin from the fabric store that has been washed and sanitized.) Place the colander over a large bowl to catch the whey. Ladle the milk mixture into the muslin. Tie up the corners and attach to a spoon. Hang the spoon over the edge of the bowl (easier than balancing on top!). Allow to drip for about an hour, maybe an hour and a half. (Don’t toss your whey! Read about several uses for it here.)
When it is completely done dripping, take the cheese out of the muslin and place it in a bowl. It will be soft like ricotta cheese (because it essentially is). Add the salt and whatever other flavorings you may like. I use fresh thyme chopped with a bit of garlic, or sometimes fresh basil with lemon zest. You can also use dried herbs. The cheese will last a bit longer that 3-4 days, maybe a week. (If it lasts that long without being eaten!) And for a sweet cheese, I add a bit of honey and some chopped fruit like peaches or raspberries. My neighbor likes smoked salt on his and I’d have to say that’s good too.
If you can’t get fresh goat’s milk where you live, there are many brands that you can get in the refrigerated section of the grocery store. If nothing else, try your local natural food store.