This week the kids (goat kids that is) have finally been weaned and I am getting an obscene amount of milk from my mommy goat. In fact I get about a half gallon a milking – I milk twice a day. So I have, at any given moment, between five and seven quarts of goat milk in my fridge. I have had to get serious about finding uses for it. Luckily every attempt has been a success thus far, which is very exciting.
I have made fromage blanc using a culture purchased on-line, mozzarella and ricotta from the whey left over, and now I am working on making some ice cream with a newly purchased ice cream maker. Given the amount of ice cream this household consumes, I figured it was a worthwhile investment. I also make kefir daily, and at this point am also trying to find ways to use that up. Luckily kefir keeps longer than fresh milk so there isn’t the same sense of urgency there.
Suffice it to say, after making three batches of cheese, a quart of kefir, and some ice cream, I STILL have a gallon of milk in the fridge and am starting to get desperate. Not only do I have all this milk, but I also have about a gallon of whey, which has already been boiled down to make ricotta. I put some in my sourdough to proof last night and made a baguette with it today, quite successfully, but I have no idea what else to do with the whey and I hate to waste it.
Suffice it to say, the process of processing all this milk has kept me very busy. I am actually thinking at this point that I should try some hard cheeses, or something that I can store for use this winter. I have found, thus far, that cheese making is easier than I imagined and I am ready to try something a little more complicated. Unfortunately I do not have a cheese press, nor do I have a particularly good place to store any cheese I want to age. While it is very dry here, it is also incredibly hot and I am not sure I can successfully store cheese long term unless I have a root cellar or something similar. Sadly the crawl space under the house doesn’t really count.
In either case I am enjoying the abundance and I am really looking forward to continuing to experiment with the delicious milk from my goat. I am hopeful that I will find a use for it all, as the idea of wasting it makes me cringe. I don’t expect to get this kind of volume from her for much longer, as she is pretty much at the peak of her production. The real issue is finding a use for the whey, and I suspect I may end up feeding some of it to the chickens. Which isn’t a bad thing, given that they will reward me with eggs.
So here is a very simple recipe for ricotta, using any whey you have – I used the remainder from my mozzarella:
1 gallon whey
butter muslin (very fine cheesecloth)
Place the colander over a bowl and line with the butter muslin. Heat 1 gallon whey to boiling. Carefully pour the heated whey into the butter muslin, being careful not to let it go higher than the edge of the cloth. Let drain overnight. Voila! Ricotta!