OR... CONTROLLING THE FUNKINESS OF YOUR CHEESE
hair and dander.
rvsd 31 Jan 99, 10 Mar 99, 23 Nov 99, 2 May 00, 2 Aug 00
This page has been accessed times since 26 July 2000.
in iced water.
The most important consideration
in good flavored milk and milk products is the proper handling of the
milk from the time it is milked out to the time that it is consumed
or made into cheese. It makes me wonder about commercially available goat's
milk, which in my experience has a strong "goaty" flavor. The goat's
milk I produce only has had such flavor problems if the steps given below
were not followed. Many people who say they hate the taste of goat's
milk are usually referring to 'store-bought' goat's milk, and find mine
mild, sweet and rich. Likewise, many commercial goat cheeses taste
like they were cured in the billy pen... NOT to my liking.
Here are the critical factors I have discovered over a couple of decades of keeping goats and making cheese. All of these are aimed at keeping bacterial contamination as low as possible. Undesirable bacteria are what make milk products have an off flavor. The goal in cheese-making is to add beneficial bacteria which produces good flavor while avoiding the rest. Undesirable bacteria abound on goat hair and dander. Removal of these is the goal of careful filtration.
Never try to make cheese out of "turned" or spoiled milk--the unpleasant flavor will linger. Feed it to your pets if they will drink it. Otherwise, put it on the compost pile. Note that repeated reference is made to complete drying of thoroughly cleansed equipment. The reason is that most bacteria do not survive well on clean dry surfaces exposed to the air.
AVOIDING BACTERIAL CONTAMINATION IN YOUR MILK PRODUCTS
CLEANLINESS/STERILITY OF MILKING CANS AND STORAGE BOTTLES:
a) Immediately after milking, rinse equipment in lukewarm water to remove the majority of milk. If you let the equipment sit, the drying milk will glue itself in the cracks and crevices, and will be come a breeding ground for bacteria.ESSENTIALS OF RECOMMENDED CLEANSING:
b) You should carefully wash the rinsed milking cans in very hot soapy water, rinse well, and air dry COMPLETELY. (Do not dry with a towel, it is easy to introduce bacteria this way.) If you have no problems with odor or taste in your milk, actually sterilization of the cans may not be required. But if you are having problems, your implements should be boiled and air dried. I avoid chlorine because of its poisonousness, but in the worst cases, may have to be resorted to.
HERE ARE THE STAGES OF MILK HANDLING:
I. SETTING UP MILKING EQUIPMENT
II. SETTING UP GOAT TO BE MILKED
III. CLEANSING UDDERS
IV. MILKING, FEEDING
V. FILTERING, RECORDING
VII. CLEANSING OF MILKING EQUIPMENT
I. SETTING UP MILKING EQUIPMENT
|Preparation for milking, assemble:
1) Sterilize the washing cloth by boiling, then adding an equal volume of cool water to lower the temperature to a manageable level. (I aim for 60ºC. This is hot, but will cool as you wash the udder.)
2) Very clean jug with sterile filtering cloth and lid.
3) Very clean can into which to milk.
Secure the goat in a stanchion with goat feed to keep her happy.
Note in the first picture (above) that the washing can is hung from the stanchion, and the milking can sits ready on a nearby (cleaned) surface.
Here is the sterilized but still hot cloth being removed from its can .
the udder and teats thoroughly with the sterilized cloth. Wring
out the cloth, and damp
dry the udder so that no drips remain.
Washing with very warm water does two things. a) It cleanses the udder, removing surface dirt, dander and hair, and b) the warmth and massaging of the washing causes milk let-down, making milking much easier.
the first squirt or two from each teat to the cats. Do
this because the milk ducts contain more bacteria near the opening, and
you clear out these bacteria rather than add them to the kept milk.
Place a "milking board" on the stanchion, and the can on the board. This keeps the can from touching any surface that the goat may have walked on. I use a piece of white formica, one foot square, for this purpose. The can is placed on top of this "milk board."
|HOW TO MILK:
Pinch the top of the teat between your thumb and index finger , trapping milk in the teat.
Then the other fingers squeeze the trapped milk out without releasing the pinch at the top. Note the "milking board" under the can.
|Alternatively, if I am only milking one or two goats, I place the sterile handkerchief over the mouth of a wide mouth jar and milk directly into the suspended cloth. This ensures that hair and dander are immediately removed from the milk, and removes any chance of contamination from the milking can.|
|When you get no more milk out easily, massage the gland inside the udder. This will release additional milk. Milking is done when no more milk can be coaxed from the udder, even with additional massaging. Note that the teats appear completely deflated .|
the milk and record
it . This will help you monitor the health and productivity of
The left image shows the gallon jug with sterile filter cloth and the freshly milked milk being weighed. The right image shows a detail of my home made scale.
|Here is an overview of my home made "appropriate technology" scale to weigh milk, made from a long spring and calibrated to read out on graph paper on which I record the weights of morning and evening milkings. (Note that I am a data junky--many do not record these details.)|
freshly milked milk immediately through a sterile fine-weave cloth
Immediately upon milking, filter the warm milk through a fine weave sterile handkerchief (sterilized by previous boiling and complete drying) into a scrupulously clean dry jar, cleaned at least as well as the milking cans. (You may sterilize in boiling water if you are in doubt). Use wide-mouthed jars if possible since they are more easily cleansed. This filtering removes goat hair and dander which are very rich in bacteria. These bacteria act on goat butterfat resulting in strong "goaty" flavor. [If you pay careful attention to cleansing, boiling and thorough drying of all apparatus, and still have problems with short shelf life, strong goat flavor, etc, you might resort to such poisonous chemicals as chlorine or iodine to treat surfaces.]
|Release the goat from the stanchion and return to the goat room.
Bring in the next goat, if there is one.
|Sweep off the stanchion to remove loose dirt, followed by washing down and drying with a wrung out cloth.|
|Do the same for the
milking board, and the resting
place of the milking can.
Although these cleansed surfaces are not sterile, keeping them clean and dry dramatically reduces bacterial contamination which could transfer to the milking can.
the freshly milked and filtered milk with the date.
The importance of rapid and complete cooling to near freezing cannot be over-emphasized in retarding spoilage. "Funkifying" bacteria HATE such cold conditions. I reserve a second refrigerator (in my garage) to chill fresh milk. On the floor of this refrigerator, I have a large 2 gallon plastic bucket which contains as much near-freezing water as will partially float the milk jars. I keep blocks of ice floating in it so it's temperature remains at 0ºC (32ºF). Each time a fresh jar of warm milk is placed in the chiller, a cup of water is removed, and another block of ice is added .
|Chilling in this water-ice bath is much more rapid than air chilling in a refrigerator. Here the warm milk is being immersed in the ice water bath.|
|I freeze this ice in large strong plastic cups filled with clean water. I get a good supply of these cups at Cincinnati Reds games, picking up the discarded heavy plastic cups after the game.|
|Immediately after placing the milk in the chiller, rinse the can and
filtering cloth well to remove most milk. Wash the can and cloth
in very hot soapy water, rinse well. Air dry the can. (Drying
with a towel adds bacteria.)
The filtering cloth is boiled for a minute or two, and hung to dry in a clean location (out in the sun is perfect because of its antiseptic action.
|Keep the milk chilled at 4ºC until ready for use. Do not add warm milk to previously chilled milk. It will encourage any bacteria in the older milk to grow. However, once thoroughly chilled, milk from sequential milkings can be pooled.|
|Follow these steps and maintaining a temperature of no more than 4ºC in your refrigerator and your milk should keep easily for more than a week without pasteurization. If goat's milk is kept this long, cream can be skimmed off when making cheese. Freeze this cream immediately after skimming to produce delicious ice cream .|
(If you don't follow these steps closely, you risk a number of bacterial contaminations including those of Salmonella, Escherichia coli and reportedly, Listeria.)
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