Everyone is familiar with the credit card commercials… the ones that go something like this:
Hand Raising Bottle Baby Goat Doe $75
A year of feeding and raising, and 5 months of pregnancy $200
Making Cheese from your own Dairy Goat, 18 months in the making… Priceless!
I have to admit, this is one of those instances that I have to say, it was worth every moment and cost! Do be able to go out, milk your own sweet doe, bring a quart of beautiful fresh milk in the house and make your own dairy products like cheese and caramel… whoa baby, that is a pretty darn cool thing if you have a dairy desire dream like I do.
I have been always interested in a milk animal and if you know me, you know that I have always thought that I wanted a cow. A sweet brown Jersey, with a flower name like Petunia or Cornflower or, well, maybe Buttercup!
But every time I started to contemplate a cow, the costs and resources required just seemed so, well, HUGE! First off that sweet cow would cost easily $1,000 if you didn’t want to raise one from a calf. And then there was the whole pregnancy thing… cows have to give birth before you can harvest milk from them. (Unless, of course, you could luck out and get a cow already in milk, but that usually means more moola!) And if you go through the whole pregnancy and delivery thing, and everything turns out well, then you can start to milk… of course, after you decide what to do with this giant huge calf! Sure you can feed the calf from the mom’s milk and other various situations, but it’s all something to consider. And then there is the feed and pasture required for your ton of dairy machine… and the great amounts of manure your sweetheart will create. And of course, there is the lovely milk and cream… daily milking will bring you several gallons a day.
Just too overwhelming, especially for a small family that doesn’t hardly go through a gallon of milk a week! So a milk goat is just the perfect gateway animal to dairy desire! Small, tidy, good companion, easy keeper… a nice dairy goat will give up to a gallon a day, but most breeds you can go to once a day milking and see a nice couple quarts a day. Perfect! And if you save up your lovely milk for a few days, it’s easy to have a gallon or two for making cheese!!!
I got to make my first batch of cheese from my sweet goatie girl, Princess Buttercup. She eagerly gave me a nice bit of high cream milk and I decided to make a nice whole milk ricotta. It’s so easy! And you can make it with whole cow’s milk as well, straight from the grocery store!
Once you reach 180 degrees, turn off the heat and add in your citric acid. Citric acid is commonly found where you get your canning supplies in most major stores. It’s a jar, not unlike a spice jar, and has a powdered citric acid in it. For a gallon of milk, I add half a tablespoon to about an 1/8th of a cup of warm water. Stir, let it hydrate for a moment or two. I usually make it up as the milk is heating. Once you reach your temperature, just slowly pour in the citric acid and give it a nice stir. It should begin to separate into curds and whey right away. If you are using store milk, try and stay away from Ultra Heat Pasteurized milk as it can sometimes not separate properly. Normally pasteurized milk is fine. You can always add a wee bit more citric acid if you don’t see good separation. I’ve never had mine not work… whether store milk or goat milk… but have heard of it.
Let the mixture sit still for about 10 to 15 minutes until it is nice and ready. If you give it a light stir, you will clearly see large lumps of curds in the sort of yellowy whey.
After four to six hours of draining, you have a beautiful little bowl of ricotta cheese! If you like it very soft and moist, you can add a few tablespoons of heavy cream to it and stir away. If not, just use it as it comes, which is amazing and delicious in so many pasta dishes! You can salt your cheese a bit, very lightly with a good stir, or even at the curd and whey point, but I don’t. I prefer to leave it saltless so that I can add salt to the final dish. Ricotta is a carrier cheese… it doesn’t have a ton of taste, if you ask me, but a lovely texture and finish to anything you blend with it. Wonderful in Italian pasta dishes! You can sweeten it with cannoli deserts and make a clever dip for veggies and breads by drizzling with a good balsamic vinegar and a bit of fresh chopped green onions and garlic! It’s a very understanding cheese!!!
I just love that I made it from my own goat’s milk!!! Yeah Team!