Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cow's milk cheddar vs. goat's milk cheddar

Our friend, Lucas, came over Monday with 3 gallons of his raw cow's milk so we could make cheese.  This was his first time to make a hard cheese.  We chose Farmhouse Cheddar.  It only has to age a minimum of one month.   Cow's milk is very different from goat's because the cream separates so much faster.  Each jar he brought had an inch or more of cream on top.  I tasted a spoonful of the cream and it was very tasty.

The recipe gives you separate instructions for if you're using cow's or goat's milk.  The cow's must be stirred longer.  I could actually see the fat globules separated on top the milk.  They were yellow-ish.  Goat's milk is brought to a lower temperature than cow's.  It took us a good part of the day to make, maybe 5 hours (?).  That was including heating up the whey to make ricotta afterward.  That was a bust.  I think he only got maybe a tablespoon of cheese from one gallon of whey.

Yesterday I made the same cheese using my goat's milk, only I used 2 1/2 gallons since that's all I had to spare.  I'm pretty sure I got more cheese from my 2 1/2 gallons than he got from his almost 3 gallons.  I definitely got more ricotta, about a cup or cup and a half. 
The hard cheese shrinks some as it dries so it's hard to compare the 2 cheeses since they were made a day apart but here's a picture of the 2 of them side by side.  The cow's milk cheese is yellow.
You'd never know they were the same cheese to look at them.  His cow is grass fed, only getting grain for a treat now and then.  My goats eat grain on the milk stand and graze during the day, though we don't have much grass left to graze on since it's so dry.

I can't wait till we can cut them both and compare them.  I'm betting on a better taste from the goat cheese since everyone knows goats are better than cows, right?  Sorry Lucas.  I'm hoping it's better so when my girls have 18 babies this spring (give or take) I can sell Lucas a few.


  1. How did it go? I'm about to start work on goats milk cheddar and am keen to know how it compares!

  2. This was so long ago I don't even remember how they compared. Now I have my own cow so I'll have to try it again and compare my own animals' cheddars. I have found I have better luck with my cow's milk for hard cheeses and goats' milk for soft cheeses. I haven't made enough cow cheeses yet to experience the difference between different stages of lactation. Right now I'm swimming in goat milk and my cow is dry for another month. Good luck with your cheese.