August 15, 2011

Goat Butter

One of the things I've been doing with our goat's milk (besides yogurt, yogurt cheese, hard cheese, mozzarella, and ricotta), has been to save the cream. I know some folks claim there is cream in goat's milk, and I sometimes read that it's naturally homogenized. This puzzles me, because I definitely get cream from my goats' milk.

Creamline marked on 1/2 gallon jars of goats milk

Perhaps folks who say this have goats that give milk with low butterfat? Or perhaps they're referring to the fact that the cream takes longer to separate from goat's than cow's milk? It's true that it does take longer, but I don't think of that as being naturally homogenized. To me, homogenization is permanent. I've never bought homogenized milk that separated back into milk and cream over time.

A lot of what I'm writing here is based mostly on my own experience and observations. What I can tell you is that after about 24 hours, I'm able to use a slotted spoon to scoop off a fairly solid layer of cream...

Spoon skimming the cream

I call this my first skimmings. This is the stuff I used to make whipped cream for strawberry short cake last May. Since then, I've been putting it into a quart jar which I keep in the freezer. To that I add the second skimmings, i.e. the more liquidy cream that I skim after the milk has sat a day or two longer. The idea is to save it in the freezer until the jar is full, then defrost it to make butter.

Really, the composition of milk is more than just milk and cream. According to Ricki Carroll's Home Cheese Making,  goat's milk is composed of

87.5% water & minerals
12.5% solids, which include:
     0.7% albuminous protein
     3% casein
     4% lactose
     4.2% butterfat
     0.6% salts

This is about the same butterfat content as cow's milk. Since the total quantity per milking is quite a bit less for a goat than a cow, the amount of cream per milking is quite a bit less as well. Which is why I have to save it up.

For my first butter, I decided to try the shake-the-jar method. I used a half-gallon jar for my quart of heavy cream. It worked, though not without quite a bit of elbow grease. (I'm thinking I might try Food Renegade's blender butter method next time.) I was surprised that I got as much as I did...

Freshly washed goat butter

Looks more like vanilla ice cream, doesn't it? That's because goat milk contains no beta-carotene, which gives cow cheese and butter a pale yellow color. My goat butter is a creamy off-white, though it would be possible to color it with something like annatto, a plant extract which is often used to color things like cheese and margarine.

I poured off the buttermilk to use in baking, rinsed, and then kneaded the butter in ice water with a bowl scraper. This worked out as much buttermilk as I could. This will help preserve it longer, because it's the buttermilk that will sour first.

My goal will be to keep us in butter all year long. At least for table use, as I'm not sure if I can get enough for baking. How did it taste? Absolutely divine.

Be sure to check out my updated post: Goat's Milk Butter For Two

Goat Butter © August 2011

16 comments:

Alison said...

utterly brilliant!! I know my dream of having goats is years and years off - but I keep mentioning it to J, and he hasn't run screaming for teh hills yet!

I remember one of the Little House on the Prairie books talking about colouring 'winter' butter by heating some of the cream with grated carrots to infuse the colour - how's that for carotene!

tami said...

Amazing. I never knew you could goat butter.

Mama Pea said...

When we had our dairy goats, we separated the cream from the rest of the milk in a cream separater which we inherited from hubby's folks who had a cow at one time.

I made our butter in my blender. I did a post on my butter making (which I do now with cream I purchase from a dairy) that you could check out if you wish. You can type in http://ahomegrownjournal.blogspot.com/2010/03/making-butter.html or go to the Search box on my right hand side bar and type in Making Butter which should take you to the blog post.

I was interested to hear that you save your goats' cream in the freezer until you have enough for making butter. Clever gal!

Nina said...

Yummy! Homemade butter has such a lovely flavour. Washing it is a lot of work, though well worth the longer freshness.

Jane said...

I never knew you could freeze cream. I always heard that it would not whip into butter after being frozen. I am thrilled to hear this since I have to order a case of cream and I have to turn that all into butter and then freeze or clarify the butter at one time. I would much rather freeze the cream and make butter as I need it.

Carolyn Renee said...

I guess I'm going to have to try making butter again. I had also been saving the cream from our goat milk in the freezer, but after doing the same thing last year, with no butter to show for it, I wondered if I was skimming too much milk out of the cream and that's why the cream didn't turn into butter (I used an egg beater to churn).

A Wild Thing@Sweet Repose said...

Mmmmm...buttermilk pancakes with fresh goat butter, may I have mine with honey please...sorry, haven't had breakfast yet!

Susan said...

Of course, at first I thought you were talking about a ram... that's great news and thanks for the very informative post. I have never even tried to make butter from goat's milk, but at least now I know how!

Noble said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leigh said...

Well ya'll due to computer probs from the storm, I'm at the library answering these.

Alison, thanks! I thought about that Little House book too. May have to try the carrots.

Tami, I'm just relieved it's possible.

Mama Pea, thanks for that! I'll definitley have to try it as I have more cream in the freezer. Hand churning was a lot of work.

Nina, and it is yummy! I agree about washing, but am glad I did.

Jane, actually I got the idea from FiasCo Farm website. That's how she does it! Mine has made just fine and hopefully will continue to do so.

Carolyn Renee, I admit I don't skim too thoroughly. I just get what I can with a slotted spoon and leave the rest. Makes the milk yummier :)

Sharon, that sounds so good! Think I'll have some for supper. :)

Susan, LOL. I can see why you would. :) It's good to know, isn't it?

Renee said...

awesome! Maybe once you get a bigger herd you can have baking butter too. :D

Madness, Trouble and Squish said...

Now you take me back to my childhood! We spent many a evening in front of the radio or later the TV making cow butter this way. Good times.

The Weekend Homesteader said...

That's so cool to learn you can freeze cream to make butter. I learn the best stuff on your site!

* Crystal * said...

Hmmm Yummy!!

My mini Alpine has very, very thick cream that I just scoop off the top with a spoon. Haven't made butter though as my kiddos always seem to come up with 500 reasons as to why fresh whipped cream is a NECESSITY! :)

When I was a child my mom would have my brother's & I pass around a glass jar with cream to shake until we got butter...

Fresh butter is the best!

Bethany said...

How much space do you need for goats? Specifically, what is the minimum acreage required for one or two Nigerian Dwarfs?

Leigh said...

Renee, it's true! More goats = more butter. :)

MT&S, oh my. There's so much more cream from a cow! If I had one, I think I'd invest in a real churn. :)

Candace, that tidbit was a delight to discover, as you can well imagine. I have to credit Fias Co Farm for that one.

Crystal, LOL. Whipped cream? Butter? It's a toss up!

Bethany, there are a couple of things that can help answer that question. First, goats are herd animals and do not thrive as singles, so you'd need to get 2 for sure. The next question would be how much feed and hay you're willing to purchase. My neighbor keeps Nigies on a dry lot, where they eat weeds, hay, and feed. For standard size goats, I read that about 4 to an acre is good if they're going to graze. I'd recommend checking out some of the Nigerian Dwarf websites for better information.