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Goat cheese, please

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You know we like to celebrate niche and farm-specific holidays here at Country Culture, and this month may be Editor Courtney’s favorite. August has been designated Goat Cheese Month, and goat cheese is good on pretty much everything.

First, you may be asking yourself “How is goat cheese different from cow cheese?” You may be asking this if you’ve never sample the former – and that’s okay! Although they can look similar, cow cheese has a more neutral and milder flavor. Goat cheese tends to have a slightly stronger and sour taste. Cow’s milk cheese is denser and firm, while goat’s milk cheese tends to be tender and soft. Nutritionally, goat cheese is lower in lactose and higher in minerals and fats.

For a full breakdown of the differences, check out this great article on MasterClass.

But say you want to raise your own dairy goats, to make your own goat cheese. (I lobbied my father to try this, unsuccessfully, for years. He much preferred our lower maintenance beef cattle.) Where should you start?

The first thing to consider is which breed of goat you want. Not all goats are the same! Some are bred for dairy, some for meat and some for their hair. In going the dairy route, there are a few tried-and-tested best breeds.

Alpines tend to be easily manageable goats with steady milk production, averaging about a gallon of milk a day.

LaManchas are friendly and easy to manage as well. They produce around one to two gallons of milk a day with a butterfat content around 4%.

Nigerian dwarfs produce very high butterfat content, and that makes them pretty much a perfect fit if you’re looking to make cheese.

Nubians can produce up to two gallons of milk a day and also produce high butterfat content milk. They are much bigger than the dwarfs mentioned above, but they are fun and playful.

Saanens are mild-tempered but require a lot of space. They can produce up to three gallons of milk per day but it tends to be lower in butterfat.

Once you have your goats, you need to learn how to milk them. Thankfully, YouTube has a tutorial for everything these days. Check out this informative clip from Blue Cactus Dairy Goats.

And, of course, when it’s time to make your cheese, Analida’s Ethnic Spoon has a recipe to get you going.

Where do you use your goat cheese? Let us know on Facebook by sharing your photos and recipes!

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