Tag Archives: milking

Hold the Press!

22 Sep

Breaking news!  I have a new toy!  With more milk in my future, I decided I wanted to branch out and try some new cheeses again.  But I’m kind of at the point I would need a cheese press.  As luck would have it, my dear blogging friend Patty from Broken Teepee (great book reviews and recipes) had a cheese press she was no longer using.  She sent it to me!

I decided I’d work into the pressed cheeses a bit and try making a queso blanco (or queso fresco).  That way I could use the press but it’s still a fresh cheese, so I don’t have to wait to try it out!  I started by rigging a double  boiler from a big pot and a bigger pot.

That worked well, so I added my vinegar.  It started curdling like it’s supposed to, but it didn’t get any whey separating.

I don’t know why.  After I did this, I remembered I failed at using vinegar as a coagulant when I first started making cheese.  I kept trying though, and it eventually ended up like cream of rice.

There’s no way anything this soupy is going into a cheese press, so I gave up.  We’ll see if I get brave and try again.  I did find a different recipe for queso blanco that calls for rennet.  That might work better.  I’ll let you know if the second time is a charm.

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Micro Dairy

12 Sep

This year I’ve gotten more milk from my girls than I have had for quite some time.  As I continue to start milking girls with more dairy blood in them and their copper levels improve, I’m hoping their milk production continues to improve too (yeah, copper really does mess with everything like this).  Hopefully, I’ll be able to keep milking longer into the winter as well.

Ava

Every time I post on Facebook about making cheese or people just learn I make cheese, they always ask if I’m selling it.  As I’ve gotten more consistent in my cheesmaking results, it’s started me thinking.  Maybe I should.

feta frozen for winter use

I contacted the Dept. of Agriculture and had them send me guidelines for being able to sell my cheese.  It took about two minutes of reading to realize I will never be licensed to sell my dairy products.

peach yogurt

To start, it costs $800 for a two-year license.  If you figure a generous average of $10 income (not profit) for each gallon of milk processed into cheese, that would be eighty batches of cheese just to pay for the license without subtracting for inputs to make the cheese.

1 gallon milk = 2 cups Mozzarella

Then there are phrases like “approved pasteurization system.”  It’s not further defined, but the cheapest one-gallon home pasteurizing machine I could find was just over $500.  The commercial ones start at $1100 and go into the tens of thousands.  Right now this is my pasteurizing system.  It works.

They also assume you will be building a brand new building for processing.  That adds probably another $50,000 (conservatively) to the cost.  Things like automatically closing doors are not cheap.

Dolly

The thing is, their idea of small is still so large you would have to make so much cheese that you’d not be able to have one person doing it.  It would have to be full time and with hired help.  That means more cost on top of the ridiclous amount spent on the new building and not being able to have an off-farm job.  It would require more goats to be milked.

Astra and Xerxes

If you want to take the product to a farmer’s market, there’s the requirements and licensing of the vehicle used for hauling dairy products too.  There is no feasible way to be able to sell your extra product without working full time forever to simply break even.  That means my family is probably going to be gifted with lots of cheese.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m all in favor of regulations.  I know there are things that I would have to change about my current system for me to even be comfortable with it.  Pasteurizing in of utmost importance, and I’d have to have my goats tested for communicable disease.

The nothing or full industry regulations just seems to be overkill.  The odd thing is that anyone can sell eggs direct to consumer with no regulations whatsoever.  Same with veggies or fruits they’ve grown.  These foods are more likely to give someone food poisoning than my safe pasteurized dairy products. [1]

Rainy Season: Take Two

4 Sep

You might remember that the first part of summer was really wet here.  We had a hard time planting, there was flooding, and it was just wet.  After a drought of July, our August was more normal, but now we’re back to what seems like endless rain.

Saturday night my phone went off three times to tell me I was in a flood warning.

rain from Saturday overnight

Luckily, Sky doesn’t mind hanging out in the rain while I’m out doing chores and milking.

Sky

Because it’s quite dangerous to leave a bored German shepherd unattended in the house.  Tormenting the cat is the least trouble he can get into.

Noelle and Sky

There’s mud all over in the barnyard.

Reva in the doorway

The ground is saturated, and the water is rushing across the top of the pasture (you can see where the grass is knocked down).

There’s tons of water running through the tile too.

I had planned on using my Labor Day weekend to try and get a lot of the barn scooped out, but that didn’t happen.

Mary

I can’t scoop when everyone is stuck in the barn trying to stay dry.

Litha (front); Bambi and Daisy (behind)

For some reason, it seems like it’s always raining when I’m trying to milk.  That really makes it fun (Did you catch the sarcasm?).

Zinnia

But at least my girls are really good about coming back from pasture when it’s time to milk.  If I remember correctly, it did start raining again before I got finished milking after this picture was taken.

Cinnamon leading the girls up to milk; Tony Llama eating under the tree

I just hope that all this rain ends before it’s time to harvest.

Otherwise it won’t matter how great my yields are.