But that "couple of goats for cheese" plan was made by a woman who was a clueless city slicker six years ago. I didn't even know I could make anything other than chevre with goat milk. Today, we buy very little dairy. We make all of our own mozzarella, chevre, buttermilk, and yogurt. We haven't bought milk in three or four years. We also make ice cream, and after succeeding with parmesan, we'll be making that again. I have made gouda a couple of times, although it wasn't the greatest. I really should try again. And when I tried to make cheddar, it was completely consumed by mold during aging, but I should try that one again too. I think I'm going to need more than six does.
How much cheese do we use in one year?
- 50 batches of mozzarella (one per week for homemade pizza, eggplant parmesan, and lasagna) = 50 gallons of milk
- 10 batches of ricotta (for lasagna and manicotti) = 10 gallons
- 6 batches of parmesan (for Italian foods) = 12 gallons
- 10 batches of chevre (for snacking with crackers, making cheesecake, quiche, & cheese blintzes for breakfast) = 10 gallons
A pot of cream soup takes a quart of milk, so having cream of broccoli, asparagus, or mushroom soup once a week adds up to 13 gallons of milk a year.
What about other cooking and baking and our morning coffee?
Add another 26 gallons a year (1/2 gallon a week).
And what about goat milk soap?
That takes 26 ounces per batch, which is six batches per gallon, so . . .
Have I ever told you that I really don't like math? Perhaps I should go about this differently. From spring to autumn, we've been milking about 10 goats, and that number falls as we head into winter, but we're always milking at least one or two goats. Remember, we have Nigerian dwarves, so they don't produce as much as the big goats, although their high butterfat is perfect for the home dairy. There are currently five adults living here, and we're consuming all these dairy products, plus the butter and cheddar that we buy at the store. If there are only two or three adults here, we might need to cut in half the number that we're milking. But if we want to start making our own butter and cheddar, maybe not!
So, after six months of worrying about having too many goats, I've just realized that we might have exactly what we need.