Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's Butter, Baby!

Once we saw our new cream separator would work, we decided to try making butter. We put 4 gallons of milk, which is a whole day's work for our goats, and got about a half gallon of cream. The cream turns into butter by whipping the cream so the membranes covering the butterfat break down, the fat sticks together, forming butter.

We first tried using a hand mixer, which worked but was very messy! We then used a food processor, which also worked, though after a while the motor got hot and melted the butter! We had to add ice to the final batch.

Once the butter came out of the food processor, we soaked it in ice water to remove the last bit of buttermilk. We then scooped them up with an ice cream scoop and put them in the fridge. We weighed the butter with the barn scale. The half gallon had made a pound of butter!

After testing the butter on a piece of hot toast, we decided to make Scotch Shortbread cookies.
Here is the recipe:

1 cup fresh goat butter
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350F degrees. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter and sugar with a hand mixer. Add vanilla and salt. Slowly add flour, one cup at a time, mixing to form a smooth stiff dough. Drop by teaspoonfuls on a foil-lined cookie sheet, or into shaped mini-muffin pans prepared with cooking spray. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned. Allow to cool before removing from pan. Makes about 20 cookies.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Making Goat's Milk Whipped Cream

I always wanted to try goat's milk whipped cream and butter. My goats make very rich milk, especially Mimzy, but cream separators are usually very expensive. I found an inexpensive one on eBay. It came all the way from Ukraine, and the instructions were in Russian!

There were enough pictures to figure it out, so we started by warming two gallons of Mimzy's milk to 85 degrees. I started turning the handle quickly. I had to make 60 turns per minute! My mom poured the warm milk in the top and magically cream came out one spout, and milk came out the other. The two gallons made just two cups of cream!

It was a hard choice then. Should we make whipped cream or butter? Whipped cream!! We used a hand mixer to whip the cream, then added a cup of powdered sugar. Yum! We'll make butter next time, though it will take Mimzy two days to make the milk!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Last Sunday was the first day our 4-H club was at the big Sunday Market. I was very excited! The day before I was very busy putting together my products and painting my sign.

I had cheesemaking kits, recipe booklets, and cheese wax. My cheesemaking kits have freeze-dried cheese culture, a vegetable rennet tablet, and detailed instructions. I have five different recipe booklets. Each booklet has stories about one of our goats and recipes for either milk, yogurt, chevre, cheddar, or gouda. We have little tubs of beeswax for use on cheese too.

I also met lots of nice people who wanted to buy goat milk to drink or make soap. I really like talking to new people and selling fun things, so I had an awesome time! I can't wait for next week!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Lucky Goats

I always felt lucky to have my goats. Since we've had goats, we've met new people, earned some extra money, and learned tons of new things. Well, what happens when you have extra luck?

Last week when we came home from the grocery store, we discovered an extra goat in the pasture! He was a little Pygmy wether and was very cute. He was obviously a lost pet. A neighbor saw him wandering in the road and thought it was ours because we have goats.

We walked him on a leash all over the neighborhood, but no luck in finding the owner. We called another goat owner, who called another goat owner, who said they could take him, but could give him back if the owner was ever found. Luckily, just as they were ready to pack him off, the owner arrived and scooped him up with a "Come on Fuzz-butt!" It turns out he had wandered most of a mile!

The goat owners standing there were pleased he went back to his home, but wouldn't be empty handed. They returned the next week and bought our last two baby goats, a little buck and doe from Mimzy. They are very excited to now have dairy goats, and named them Tootsie Roll and Remy LeBeau! Lucky people. Lucky goats. Lucky!