Monday, October 29, 2012

Goat Butter

Last Tuesday we finally made goat butter!...successfully! 

When we first got Esther I made a very small amount of butter from her first gallon by skimming the top of the milk after it set. I was just sort of playing around, and I shook the skimmed cream in a mason jar and got about 1 Tbsp.  of butter.

Goats milk is naturally homogenized, which means the cream doesn't separate very easily to the top like in cows milk. So to collect the cream, you need to leave the milk undisturbed for about 24 hours and skim it every day with a spoon. You can collect each day's cream in the freezer until you have enough to make butter or ice cream.

Once we got our milking routine down, and felt comfortable with the cleaning, sterilizing, straining and storing...I decided that I would get serious about butter making.  Zach and I are do-it-yourselfers, for sure. I had seen cream separators for sale for like $500 and thought, there has to be a more cost effective way! And indeed there is. There is the skimming method, like I mentioned above. So naturally I gave that a try.

There's a few reasons that I don't like the skimming method.

The first is, I don't like how long the milk has to sit undisturbed. We drink/use almost all the milk that Esther provides. So when collecting cream it ties up the milk until the cream is skimmed. Then I feel like the milk is 3-4 days old before we can even start using it.

The second is that it's awkward. We store our milk in sanitized half gallon mason jars. I can't get the spoon down inside them with enough room to carefully skim the cream without mixing it all up again. I tried pouring it into a flat cake pan to allow more surface area, but the pan took up a lot of room in the fridge and I didn't like thee idea of the milk sitting in there absorbing the "refrigerator" smells and flavors.

The third reason is that it takes forever! Each day I would skim Esther's milk...and each day I would get like 3 Tbsp. So I told Zach that we would have enough to make butter around next Christmas.

Over all, I just felt like we were playing around with the milk too much. It was being handled a lot and poured into different containers and in the end, I felt like it was just kind of gross. I did try to make butter, but there was too much milk collected with the cream and it made more butter granules than butter. I tried to  smash them together, but lost half the butter in the washing process.

In the end I just felt frustrated with the whole ordeal. We eat a lot of butter, and I didn't see this fitting into my daily routine.

So I started researching cream separators and found an inexpensive model from the Ukraine for about $75.

It works fantastic! It's a hand crank, but it's really easy to use.

We warm the milk to 90 degrees (or so) and pour it into the hopper. Our's will hold 2 gallons. Then you begin cranking and when it gets up to speed you take out the stopper and the cream and milk begin to separate.

Once we had our cream we poured it into a large mason jar and shook it while we watched The Red Green Show!

The granules formed surprisingly fast, and we had butter before the Handyman Corner segment even started.

In the same jar I ran ice cold water and rinsed the butter until the liquid ran clear. Then I pressed it to get some of the water out, and salted it.

Then I pressed it into our goat butter mold. And I placed it in the fridge over night to firm. It's so beautifully white and delicious. Carotene is what makes butter yellow, but goats absorb all the carotene they ingest so it doesn't appear in the cream.

Linking with The Backyard Farming Connection 


Bless2BHome said...

Can you share where you found the Ukraine separator at?

♥ Sean -N- Sonja ♥ said...

Ditto! We are going to be milking again come Spring and with 2 does (hopefully!) in milk, I want to try some butter, too!


Sonja Twombly of Lally Broch Farm

Meredith said...

Great DIY post--I love the butter mold, too! Just one more reason I know I need goats! Thanks!

Caroline J. Baines said...

I'd like to know where you got the cream separator as well! :)

Gretchen Stuppy Carlson said...

Just started following your site and am inspired by all your lovely photos and goat posts. We just got some Pygora goats and I'm seeing fiber in our future. I invite you to link up anything goat related on my page (this coming Friday is a rabbit link up too)

Caroline J. Baines said...

I'd still like to know where you got the cream separator..

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April Walker said...

What brand and a link to where you ordered the cream separator?

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