The Botched Dairy


So about 3 weeks ago these 2 little bundles were born on our farm. And we started down the road of milk production. Bertie is a first freshener, so this is all new to her. Her udder filled out nicely after kidding- so much so that I had to milk her some to keep her comfortable until the kids were big enough to keep up with her production. So she is okay with her udder being touched, washed, etc. 


And 2 weeks after the kids arrived, it was time to start sharing. Bright and early last Monday I headed out to the pasture and brought Bertie to the milk stand Paul made me, which still sat on the back deck. I got her up, washed her up and attempted to milk. I didn't get very far. She ate her grain quickly. She got her head out of where it was supposed to be stuck. She stepped in the bowl. She stomped. And she never let  her milk down. I barely over a cup before we were both so frustrated I sent her back, unlocked the kids and let them finish the job.

The next morning I tied her head in better, gave her her grain a little at a time, and got a little quicker milking. She still stepped in the bowl. Still stomped around. I got 2 cups.  So I ordered a milker. I am sure I would have broken her eventually. But I don't have the time to spend out there with her. I go out just after 6:30 and the kids start waking up just after 7:00. It was taking 45 minutes to get those 2 cups.  She has a nice udder, but small teats and not much comes out at once. That is something I can't change. Her let down isn't the best either. 

So I got the milker. She still stomps but I can hold her leg. She can't step in the milk since it goes straight into a jar. Paul added a hook-and-eye latch to the stand to hold her head better.  So after a couple days of working out the kinks, I think we've got a system down. And now I am getting almost 6 cups in the morning. Once the babies are weaned I will milk her at night too. 

And now that I have milk- which the kids don't like to drink straight- I have started learning what to do with it. And let me say I am about as good at making cultured dairy products as I am milking. 

I started with yogurt. It ended up smelling like yogurt but looking a little more like keifer. I used a bit of store bought yogurt as a starter- which was probably getting on the old side and not of the best quality. It might also be runnier since the milk was raw. I'll try again with fresh starter and I might heat the milk more and see what I get.

Then I tried buttermilk. I used purchased starter cultures. I think I over heated the milk and killed the bacteria. It looked promising- solid except a small separation at the top when I put it in the fridge but in the morning it was completely separated- which I don't think is a good thing for buttermilk. I have more currently in the making using cooler milk.

Then this morning I tried mozzarella.  I used a 30-min recipe I found online. The curds did not set up right. Eventually I drained it and went on to see what I would get. It looked promising, but ended up too dry and not at all able to be stretched. More like ricotta. I have found, after more research, that a few changes have to be made in order to make goat's milk mozzarella. I'll have to try again with modifications and maybe with a little less "help" from Annika.

But I at least I got  2 quarts of whey out of the process. Some of which was used for pancakes for lunch.

Here is my recipe- for my large family, with lots of extra eggs in the fridge, in hopes to have leftovers but never do....

Whey Pancakes:

1 qt whey
8 eggs
1 T sugar/honey/maple syrup
4 cups flour- sometimes I replace 3/4 cup with cornmeal
4 tsp baking soda

Whisk together the first 3 ingredients. Add the flour and baking soda. Stir until just combined. 

I'd add cooking directions, but I am pretty sure everyone knows how to cook a pancake. If you don't have whey, I use the same recipe with milk or buttermilk in place of the whey.

(linked to Frugally Sustainable's Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways)


  1. I've ALWAYS had problems making yogurt and mozzarella with my goat milk. The yogurt is ALWAYS runny, no matter what starter I use (freeze dried, Dannon all natural, off-brand types). I've just had to thicken it up by pouring it all in a cheesecloth-lined colander overnight in the fridge. Then it's nice & THICK; I like my yogurt like a Greek-style yogurt.

    The mozzarella, I wish I could help you with. Out of four, maybe five tries, we've only had one batch work out ok. And I have NO idea what the difference is.

    Good luck with your dairy products!!

  2. Sounds like you had some frustrating experiences, but I'm impressed that you're trying so hard! I have zero experience with milking or using raw dairy products of any kind!

    So, even though the mozzarella wasn't the right texture, was is good? Just wondering because I absolutely love ricotta!

    The pancakes sound very yummy, too!

  3. I had trouble when I first started making mozzarella too! Then someone with a lot of experience left a good long comment on my blog, and her advice made all the difference in the world. The link to that post with her tips is here, Cheese Making Update - Goats Milk Mozzarella. Maybe it will be of a little help for you too.

  4. I appreciate this post, as someone just gave us four Nigerian Dwarf goats (three female!!) and I am VERY interested in milking at some point - just not ready yet. I look forward to reading about your experiences!