Tuesday, April 6, 2010
That's goat yogurt, y'all, and a silly play on "go-gurt" a fake food product that purports to be actual yogurt in a tube and a fun way to get kids to eat yogurt, but which is actually, if you read the label, a mere concoction of sugar, thickeners, artificial flavorings, and some sort of milk-like product. My kids clamor for it, even though I haven't the faintest idea how they have even become aware of it's existence. Probably through other kid's lunches at school.
My "goat-gurt," on the other hand, is nothing but goat's milk and active cultures. I have been milking Flopsy, since she has only one baby left, and I have also been putting the other mama goats up on the stand and giving them their grain, and milking out just a few squirts each - just to get them used to the idea. All in all, I've harvested about a quart of milk a day for the last three days. That would be enough to make a nice batch of cheese - except that I don't have cheese-making supplies. I neglected to order new cultures and rennet before kidding season this year, so I can't make any cheese until I get some more.
My family, I regret to report, is rather squeamish and doesn't enjoy drinking goat milk straight. It tastes perfectly fine - in fact, I doubt anyone who wasn't forewarned would be able to distinguish it from whole cow's milk. It's a little richer and creamier, but there's virtually no "goaty" flavor. I think our reluctance is related to hygiene concerns: no matter how careful I am, there are always I few hairs and flecks in the milk when I bring it in. I strain the milk through a coffee filter, but I saw the hairs and flecks in it and it's hard to forget.
So what to do with the milk? If we aren't going to drink it, and I can't make cheese just yet, then what? I decided to make yogurt. Goat milk yogurt is hard to find, and if you can find it (Trader Joe's) it costs about $5/quart. We use a fair amount of yogurt ourselves, but I also know of at least two people who are interested in buying goat yogurt. I wouldn't charge them $5 a quart - but how about $3?
Whether we end up using it ourselves or selling it or trading it, here's my method for making goat's milk yogurt. Step one is above: pasteurize the milk (after straining) by heating to 150 degrees.
Put a tablespoon commercial yogurt (I like mountain high because it has the highest concentration active cultures) into a quart sized mason jar - or two.
Cool heated milk to between 100 and 120 degrees. I pour the milk into a container which is nestled into a bowl full of ice to cool it as fast as possible.
Add warm milk to jars with culture and stir vigorously for ten or fifteen seconds. Place lids on jars and place in the oven with pilot light lit. Let sit for twelve hours or more, without disturbing. You will have smooth, creamy, thick delicious yogurt.