Friday, May 18, 2012

I Feel Rich

There are 2 gallons of raw goat milk sitting in the fridge as I type this.

There is also 2 1/2 lbs. of fresh chevre cheese in there.

There was a gallon of fresh whey in there earlier.

And there is a quart of cajeta also sitting next to the milk and cheese.

There will be goat meat in the freezer this fall.

There will be milk and cheese for friends by the first of June.

There is enough milk left over for me to feed Summer, and Metty's kids who are due to be born any time now.

I. Feel. Rich.

Fresh cheese!

All of this abundance is springing purely from Sombrita right now. My one milker at the moment. It amazes me that one animal can give so much, and yet be so small... I am in awe of these animals. 

This is the cherry on top for a country person. Looking in the fridge and seeing food that was jointly created between man and beast. Two species dependent upon one another to survive. 


I milked Sombrita, and got five quarts over the span of three milkings. This was placed in a pot on the stove to warm... It's temperature rose, it gently steamed, the cream came to the top. Rennet and a culture was added and stirred in. Oared over and under, over and under. Then the milk rested for 24 hours. The milk turned a peculiar green hue as proteins and fats sunk to the bottom of the pot, leaving what was now whey sitting on the top.

When a day had passed, a passing of two more milkings, there was no longer milk in my pot. Now there were two seemingly incompatible items testily sharing the confines of steel. I had cheese now. The whey was drained off and saved. It would be given to the broiler chicks as a treat later. And the soft cheese curds went into a cheesecloth bag. They were bone white with the feeling of silk... Each individual curd jiggled as I spooned it into the bag, making me think of Jello.

The curds then drained for 12 hours before being salted and put in a bowl. By the late evening, I found myself with something entirely different from what Sombrita had given me. She had gifted me with milk. With the start of food. I had finished it. I now had cheese before me. Was it perfect? No. It was a little too grainy, as the pictures will attest to. But the taste... Oh the taste.

Wildy fresh, light, creamy, a touch of salt, and a slight tang of goat... This was no cow milk cheese. It tasted awesome on Ritz crackers.


Goats will never cease to amaze me. Weighing an average of 150 lbs. they give us meat, milk, cheese, yogurt, cream, butter, kefir, whey, a means of feeding extra livestock, fiber to make clothes with, and provide a cottage business. All from a little animal that stands shorter than you and often weighs less than a large breed of dog. Such simple creatures they are in their needs... Why do they give so generously? Whatever the reason, I will never stop being amazed by their bounty.

Because of them, I feel rich.



Brenda said...

Great post! Making cheese from their wonderful milk is cause for feeling rich. :D

Lindsey said...

Oh yum. I know exactly the feeling of excitement in saying "YES! We have MILK again! More than that, we have enough to make cheese, and yogurt, and all manner of good things!"

That chevre looks so good. I love to add some Italian herbs to mine, and recently I read a description of someone making a soft cheese and then covering it with cracked peppercorn - I must try that. Chevre is, without a doubt, my favorite cheese to make. I like your description of the flavor - it's one that's hard to find the words for. I describe it as tasting like(and this is really weird but...)well, you know the sweet feeling when your girls nuzzle you? That's the first thing that popped into my head when I tasted my first batch - that it tasted like goat kisses, sweet and soft and airy.

laurie said...

A friend shared some cranberry pecan chevre with me and I had to make some myself. So good! Subtly sweet, rich and creamy. I also love it with garlic. Can't wait to get my own goats.