I now have all of the goats milk saved and stored for future soap batches and have the option to keep milking or let her dry up. The babies are big now and although they no longer need her milk they still like to try to get some from her. I have been milk sharing with them. This means that you milk one time and the rest of the time the kids keep her milked out. This has worked very well and I actually haven't minded having to go milk every night, even in the winter cold.
For now, I have decided to keep milking her because it is nice to have fresh milk for cooking every now and again. We don't drink much milk normally, but I am trying to drink some regularly just for the added nutrition content raw milk contains so many vitamins and minerals, along with the good bacteria needed for gut health. Having the extra milk is a fun problem... It means I get to play and learn other skills like making cheeses, yogurt, cream cheese, sour cream and even butter. We love feta and mozzarella cheese, so those are always good projects! The problem with cheese making is you need to buy supplies, the main ones are rennet and a culture. The cultures or the cheese making kits cost money and I don't know about you, but it's discouraging when you always have to buy in order to make something and what happens if you come to a point that you can't buy? I mean, what would the previous generations have done when they couldn't "summon' Amazon? These are the things I want to know how to do without relying on a supplier. So I set out researching!
What I found was that you could make the cultures very easily and cheaply. There are 2 kinds of cultures for cheese, Mesophilic and thermophilic. The type of culture you will need is determined by the type of cheese you are making. One will make a softer cheese and activated at a lower temperature, while the other will make a firmer cheese or a yogurt and activated at a higher temperature.
In the case of making feta you need a mesophilic culture which is activated at 86 degrees. To make one you would use buttermilk or buy a quart of cultured buttermilk at the store which will give you many multiple batches of culture. You pour 2 cups into a clean container and cover; leave at room temperature for about 24 hours. By doing this you are allowing the culture to get stronger and multiply. After it is cultured you can pour it into ice cube trays and freeze it. Each ice cube form will give you approximately 1 ounce of culture!
I am all about making something in case I can’t buy it ...for whatever reason. Awhile ago I was doing some research on making cheese cultures. There are 2 kinds of cheese cultures and 1 of them is a mesophilic culture. This culture typically wants a cooler temperature to populate vs thermophilic cultures. Each kind of cheese or yogurt requires one of these cultures depending on characteristics.
I found out that a mesophilic culture can be made by using a cultured buttermilk. Well that’s great, but what if you don’t make butter to have buttermilk? Here’s a short cut. Buy a jug of cultured buttermilk. 🙂. Wait?! Thats not the end of the story. The magic of a cultured product is if you put it in the same base and feed it, it will grow!
In my original post I took some cultured buttermilk and put it in a quart of store bought milk and set it on my counter for about 24 hours and presto! Cultured buttermilk! But wait! There’s more! I froze this in ice cube trays and for each batch of cheese I would just add an frozen ice cube culture.
Now I am running low on ice cube starters so here’s the test! I took a jar of milk added an ice cube culture and let it sit. Will it make buttermilk?!
Yes! I multiplied food and it cost no more money then what I already had!