Making Goat Butter


Three Dairy GoatsThese are our three goats in milk at Iron Oak Farm. Esther our Alpine, Gretta and Nan our two Nubians. The Nubians produce about twice as much cream as our Alpine, but the Alpine produces twice the amount of milk total. So it’s a nice mix of useful milk that I’m learning to fill all of our dairy needs. We get about ¾ of a gallon from our girls in the morning milking and a little less than that at night. We are still bottle feeding the goats kids so we split our harvest with the babies. 

 Goat Butter MoldBesides drinking milk outright, (in our coffee, with dinner or homemade cookies), our biggest dairy demand is butter. I use a lot of butter in cooking, sautéing and baking, I mix it with olive oil to give pan fried foods a wonderful caramelized sear that you just can’t get with oil alone.

For so long, butter has been a bad word when it comes to healthy eating, But I believe that our butter is a healthy source of fat. And I’m not afraid to eat it in moderation. Just as grass fed beef is a healthier alternative to the commercially raised cows, our goats get grain while we milk them, but the rest of their time is spent out in green pasture grazing on lush grass, or munching on the hay that we bale ourselves from the same field.

Milking the GoatWe jumped into dairy goats before I realized that goat butter wasn’t going to be as easy to make as cow butter.

Goat milk, unlike cow milk, is naturally homogenized. Which means the cream doesn’t separate as easily to the top of the milk. Eventually the cream will rise to the top if the milk is left undisturbed for a few days, but the yield is small and it’s a tedious process that holds the milk up waiting to be skimmed.

In frustration, I searched the internet for a better solution and found that there was such a gizmo called a cream separator. The device uses centrifugal force to separate the cream droplets from the milk. Many of these machines go for $300 and up, but we found an inexpensive model on E-bay for about $75. There is a range of simple, hand crank models available with a little searching.

5/18/2013 3:00:59 PM

Nothing beats it! I think you're right about the coloring. I've heard that cows butter is the most yellow in the spring when the cows start eating all the fresh grass. I remember reading in the Laura Ingals series how Ma would grate some carrot to tint the winter butter.

5/18/2013 1:02:05 PM

Jennifer, there's nothing like the taste of home made butter, is there. We made it on the farm when I was in high school from cow's milk. It did have a golden tint but not as yellow as the store bought. I think that maybe there's a little bit of coloring in the store butter. Have a great day on the homestead.

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