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Tell me why: Goat’s milk butter July 22, 2008

Posted by ourfriendben in critters, homesteading, recipes.
Tags: , , ,

Silence Dogood here (again). After writing this morning’s post, “When life gives you curdled milk, make butter,” about an experience some friends and I just had making homemade butter, I began to wonder why I never saw any goat’s milk butter in stores. (Or anywhere else, for that matter. Even at the nearby Emmaus Farmers’ Market, where a family-owned organic goat dairy has a stand, they sell everything but butter.) I’ve had great experiences making homemade yogurt from goat’s milk—it’s rich and wonderful—and of course, we love chevre and other goat’s milk cheeses. Milk, cheese, yogurt… but no butter. Why? I had the feeling that goat’s milk butter would be delicious.

Curious, I had a little talk with my good friend Google and turned up all sorts of interesting tidbits. First, I found that Meyenberg goat’s milk butter is available in upscale stores for $7.99 per half-pound. (Guess that proves that no store around here qualifies as “upscale,” since nobody carries goat’s milk butter in our area. And alas, it also proved that even if it were available, we couldn’t afford it.) The butter was described by the lucky tasters as luscious and smooth, with a slight chevre tang, and they revealed that it didn’t harden in the fridge, making it perfect for spreading on a crusty baguette or the bread or cracker of your choice.

Mmmmm. Our friend Ben and I are ready to grab a baguette and some goat’s milk butter right now and serve it with a salad of ‘Brandywine’ tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil, topped with some kalamata olives, drizzled with green olive oil and Real Salt, and enjoyed with a glass of Cabernet or Shiraz. Ahhhh. So, okay, if it’s that good, why isn’t it readily available?

An article on the Mother Earth News site (www.motherearthnews.com) with the unlikely title of “Yes, you can make goat without a separator” (we’d rather not, thanks; we’ll leave that to Monsanto) provided some answers. First, it revealed that goat’s milk had very little cream, and that it was quite difficult to separate it out unless you had a hugely expensive separator.

But then the article went on to tell how the author had overcome these obstacles by skimming off a little cream from a gallon of chilled milk every day (starting with a new gallon of fresh milk each day) until, after five days, she had about a pint of cream. Then she whipped the cream in her mixer and rinsed it numerous times with ice water, pressed out all the water from the butter, compressed the butter into a butter mold, refrigerated the mold for 15 minutes, and turned the molded butter out to use as needed. (See the article for details.)

Of course, this article was published in 1978, and much about making butter from goat’s milk may have changed since then. But I’m intrigued nonetheless. Sadly, I’m sure that 5 gallons of goat’s milk would cost significantly more than $7.99, so I probably won’t be making goat’s milk butter anytime soon. But if you do, or if you’ve ever tasted it, please share your experience with us. I would love to know more!

             ‘Til next time,




1. Connie - July 22, 2008

You’re making me hungry for a cracker with Goat milk butter. I love goat milk, yogurt and cheese, so I’m sure I would like the butter, as well.

Me, too, Connie!

2. Cinj - July 22, 2008

Maybe you could just run out and buy a goat instead. LOL. Okay, I’m kidding but it isn’t that weird of an idea. My kids keep complaining that we should buy our own chickens and cattle because we could save so much money having our own homemade products. I guess I’m not raising dummies!

Yeah, I’d just love to have a pair of goat does here, Cinj. I fantasize about them and their little barn and paddock! Our friend Ben and I tried to buy the piece of backyard on our side of Hawk Run when the neighbors put their house up for sale—it would have been just goat-sized—but no dice. Someday…

3. deb - July 22, 2008

Great, now I want a goat.

I know how you feel! When I saw the little Nigerian dwarf goats, which apparently are excellent milkers and about the size of a spaniel, it was all I could do not to bring some home! And even the full-size breeds are pretty darn small.

4. Virginia Lyons, dairy goat owner - July 22, 2008

Yes, goat milk is already “homogenized” straight from the goat. The butter fat molecules are much smaller than in cow’s milk, and therefore they don’t float to the top for skimming. Well a little floats to the top, but most of it stays in the milk.

Chilling goat milk and then skimming what sticks to the side of the over several days will get you some butterfat, but not that much actually.

Thanks, Virginia! That’s good to know!

5. dmbolus - July 28, 2008

I wonder if you could increase the fat content with the use a a little cows cream? I know this would not make a pure product but might be worth a try.

Great idea—might make it more affordable to try at home, too. Thanks!

6. Laura Evers - August 11, 2008

Thank you for mentioning us on your Web site. We appreciate the attention.

Laura Evers
Mother Earth News

For more articles on goat’s milk and other foods, check out the Mother Earth News site.

Always happy to mention Mother Earth News, Laura! It’s a fabulous resource for everyone interested in a more natural, self-reliant lifestyle.

7. Debbie Coward, Proud LaMancha Owner - February 23, 2013

I own 5 goats. LaManchas. I am a newbie! Right now I only have one doe milking and Virginia is right, skimming the cream, what little you get every day can be tedious, that is why I have “bit the bullet” and ordered a cream separator (not cheap) but since my family consumes alot of butter I feel it will be worth the investment. We love the milk! I do pasteurize it since my kids drink but it is still delicious!
After 1 1/2 weeks of skimming cream, I finally have a pint, which should yield 1/2 pound of butter….I will let you know how it turns out 🙂

This is so great, Debbie! You’re lliving my fantasy: I’ve always wanted goats, too, but we just don’t have the space. Please let us know how your butter turns out!

8. deana - June 2, 2013

Being sensitive to the protein found in cows milk I’ve had to eliminate dairy from my diet which sucks because I just love the taste of melted butter on hot toast Mmm, I’ve tried all sorts of dairy free butters but my skin still reacts for some reason. I can tolerate goats butter, but it matters what bread you use it on. It can taste ghastly on low quality bread and amazing on richer breads, however one thing is always present, a strange sort of cheesy after presence, so with this butter for me is all about moderation

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