Miscellaneous Facts about Goat Milk and Ribblesdale Cheese Production

Yorkshire Goat Gouda

Our best selling Superior Goat Gouda

Almost 90% of our sales are goat cheese.  We process around 3,800 litres each week and make Superior Goat Gouda, Original Goat, Matured Natural Rinded Goat, Goat curd and two smoked varieties from our small smoker: Smoked Superior Goat and Smoked Original Goat.  That makes 6 core goat cheeses from Ribblesdale Cheese.  Sometimes we make an unpasteurised goat cheese and sometimes we put cranberry in to the Original Goat.

Our best seller is the Superior Goat Gouda, followed by our Original Goat.  They are two very different cheeses, the

Ribblesdale Original Goat

Ribblesdale Original Goat

former being a gouda, so a dense, creamy, smooth paste with a slight tang and the Original Goat is made in a Wensleydale style: mild, crumbly and creamy.

Our new goat curd is going from strength to strength and if it continues selling as it is, it will soon account for about 7% of our

Little pillows of Goat Curd

Little pillows of Goat Curd

sales.

Q: Why is goat milk white?

A: When we run cheese making classes, after we have finished and washed down, we have started doing a little cheese tasting.

Only afterwards do I point out that all of the goat cheeses are white.  This is because goat milk lacks beta carotene, the yellow/orange pigment that imparts rich golden tones in most cheese, particularly those made with cow milk.  A goat converts beta carotene into Vitamin A, which lacks color and that is why goat milk and cheese is white.  Grass is rich in the antioxidant vitamin beta-carotene, so you tend to find that the milk from grass fed dairy cows result in the deepest yellow cheeses; the buttery yellow colors in cheese develop over time, so while a fresh cow milk cheese may be nearly as white as a fresh goat cheese, the differences in color tone will be much more apparent in aged cheeses. 

Q: How much milk does a goat give?

A: Typically, a goat will provide about 2-3 litres of milk a day.  Compare this to a cow which can give between 15-25 litres of milk a day and you start to understand why goat milk is more expensive than cow’s milk – about twice the price per litre, but interestingly, our goat cheese does not cost twice as much as most cow’s cheese.  Something wrong there…..

Q: I am lactose intolerant, can I drink goat milk?

A: If you are lactose intolerant and unable to drink cow’s milk, it is worth trying goat’s milk.  Goat’s milk contains less lactose than cow’s milk and is often recommended if you are allergic to cow’s milk.  Your allergy is probably caused by a protein found in cow milk called alpha S1 casein protein.  Both human milk and goat milk lacks this protein.

Q: How long can a goat live for?

A: Up to about 12 years.  They are clever and inquisitive creatures, with far more character than say a sheep.  They like to live together in families with a routine and are usually housed in large barns, bedded on straw with plenty of light and air and space to jump around.

Q: What is the gestation period of a goat?

A: 5 months

Q: What kind of goats are there?

A: The most popular breed of dairy goats in the world is the Saanen, derived from goats that originated in the Saanen valley in Switzerland.  The milk from this breed of goat is very similar to that from Friesland cows in terms of solids, i.e. butterfat and protein content.   Saanen milk is white and has a creamy texture, and tastes a little sweeter than cow’s milk.  Other breeds of goats include British Alpines, Toggenburgs, also from the Swiss Alps and floppy eared Nubians which give high solids.  The British Toggenburg occurs when a Toggenburg is crossed with any other of the Swiss breeds.

Other strange facts about why goat milk is good for you

  • Goat’s milk is more similar to human breast milk than any other food
  • More people around the world drink goat milk than any other milk
  • Goat milk also has a higher content of riboflavin (vitamin B2,) than cow milk. Riboflavin, metabolises other minerals such as proteins and carbohydrates and  strengthens your immune system by stimulating the production of antibodies
  • Goat milk contains more protein and calcium than cow milk

 

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2 Comments

Filed under Ribblesdale Cheese

2 responses to “Miscellaneous Facts about Goat Milk and Ribblesdale Cheese Production

  1. Christine Twell

    Super blog Iona. Great information about goats and goats cheese.

  2. Thank you, Chris! Hope all is going well your end.
    With best wishes
    Iona

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