I haven’t always been a lover of goat’s milk. I once had a taste of store-bought goat cheese that almost turned me off for good. It tasted to me exactly like the smell of a billy goat. After that, any time somebody would mention goat’s milk my mouth would psychologically flood with pungent barn odors.
It took a looong time before I was willing to try goat’s milk again. I probably would have stayed away forever if my drive for self-sufficiency wasn’t so strong. As we delved more into making our one acre homestead as sustainable as possible, we knew right off the bat we’d never have room for a dairy cow. But a dairy goat? Definitely do-able, but could I stomach it?
A fellow homesteading friend came to the rescue one day when she offered me a taste of her fresh Saanen goat’s milk. I was hesitant, but willing to try to acquire a taste. I was pleasantly surprised when that cold, fresh milk went right down and tasted just like cow’s milk to me! No foul odors, no barny aftertaste. It was actually good!
Since then I’ve learned that a lot of things can make goat’s milk taste bad: how old the milk is, whether there was a billy goat near the doe (which can produce hormones and bad odors), how the milk was handled, and even what breed of milk goat you have.
We’ve had Nubians and Oberhaslis, both of which gave wonderful milk. While we don’t currently have dairy goat’s on the homestead, I still have several gallons of milk frozen from the former abundance.
What can you do with frozen goat’s milk?…
Goat’s Milk Ice Cream
Initially I froze our excess goat’s milk to make soap, but these past few days of extreme summer heat enticed me to make a cold treat with some of that milk.
The tricky part about making ice cream with goat’s milk is that it’s naturally homogenized. Unlike cow’s milk, which will easily separate into cream after it settles, goat’s milk will not naturally separate. You can purchase expensive cream separating equipment and you can purposely raise goats with higher fat content in their milk, such as Nubians, however you still won’t get very much cream unless you are milking in very large quantities.
Anyone who has made homemade ice cream knows that in order to get a creamy product you have to add cream to the milk before freezing. But what if you don’t have cream? Sure, you could go to the store or to your neighbor who has milk cows and buy some cream, but there are other things you can do to thicken goat’s milk if cream isn’t readily available.
Ice Cream Without The Cream
Here are a couple of ways you can thicken up goat’s milk without the addition of cream…
Thicken It With Cheese– Once you bring milk goats onto your homestead, eventually you will find yourself making soft cheeses with all of that extra fresh milk coming in. One way you can thicken goat’s milk ice cream is to add some of this cheese to the ice cream base to give it a creamier consistency. Following is an example of such a recipe as shared on Goat Justice League:
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
5 ounces fresh goat cheese
6 egg yolks
4 ounces 70% dark chocolate
1 tsp of rum, almond extract, or vanilla
Remove goat cheese from refrigerator and bring to room temperature.
Warm the milk and sugar in a medium saucepan.
Whisk together 6 egg yolks
Remove the milk/sugar mixture from the burner and slowly add the whisked egg yolks
While stirring constantly, slowly heat the milk/egg mixture to 170 degrees.
Remove from the heat and add goat cheese. Try to melt the cheese without returning to the heat. If needed, pour mixture into a high-powered blender to create a smooth mixture.
Melt 3 ounces of chocolate and slowly add into goat cheese- milk-egg mixture.
Place mixture into a one-quart mason jar and then place mason jar into an ice water bath to bring temperature down to 40 degrees or less.
Lastly, according to your ice cream machine’s instructions, churn the ice cream. During the last 5 minutes of the churning, add the remaining ounce of chocolate, cut into small chunks. Makes about 3 cups
Thicken It With Cornstarch or Arrowroot- Using a thickening agent such as cornstarch or arrowroot is another way to get creamier ice cream without additional cream. Backwoods Home shares a recipe for using cornstarch to thicken up goat’s milk ice cream.
5½ cups fresh goat milk
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
½-¾ cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix ½ cup milk with cornstarch. Set aside. Heat five cups of milk in a heavy pan or double boiler. Stir frequently, as it scorches easily. When you see a crinkly skin form on top, stir the cornstarch/milk mixture into the hot milk.
Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick, like honey. Stir in sugar and vanilla. You can remove from heat now or, for a heavier ice cream, cook longer till it is a pudding-like consistency. Remove from heat and chill until cold. Freeze in an ice cream freezer until ready.
–I like this recipe because not only does it omit cream from a cow, it also doesn’t require goat cheese, which I didn’t have, nor does it call for eggs, which most goat’s milk ice cream recipes call for.
Heavenly Homemakers shares a recipe for making goat’s milk vanilla pudding, which can be frozen and enjoyed as ice cream thickened with arrowroot powder (and sweetened with maple syrup!).
Simply Omit The Cream- Of course, you can always opt to just omit the cream and have an icier ice cream. It’ll still taste good, it just won’t be as creamy as you might be used to. Here’s a simple recipe I found on Food.com:
2 c. fresh or thawed goat’s milk
2 tsp vanilla
3 egg yolks
1/3 c. sugar
- Heat goat milk and vanilla on stovetop until almost boiling.
- Beat egg yolks and sugar for two minutes; until sugar is almost dissolved.
- When the milk mixture starts to come to a boil, take it off the stove and mix in with the egg/sugar mixture.
- Stir well until no sugar crystals remain.
- Put the ice cream mixture in the refrigerator (about 20-30 minutes) to cool it down.
- After it’s cooled down a bit, you’re ready to make ice cream! Put the mixture into an ice cream maker for 20-30 minutes.
Ice Cream Off The Grid
Last summer I found an old White Mountain hand-crank ice cream maker at a yard sale for $30. They were asking $40 but I did some “dickering” as my Nana taught me to do at yard sales. Although it looked like it was still in good working order, I hadn’t had a chance to try it out. We do have an electric ice cream maker, but I wanted to test out the hand-cranked one to make sure it didn’t need any repairs.
The kids were more than happy to jump in on the action and help me test it out! I decided to go with the cornstarch thickening recipe since I didn’t have any goat cheese on hand. I added some chocolate for flavoring. In addition to the ice cream base, we had to buy a bag of ice and some rock salt. I would argue that since our freezer is run on solar power, the entire operation was still technically off grid. 🙂
With the old hand crank ice cream makers, you have to fill the wooden bucket with ice and salt to keep the canister in the center cold. To do so, layer the ice and salt, going heavy on the salt between layers. Fill the bucket all the way to the rim and top it off with salt to slow the melting process.
Ideally, you should pour the ice cream mixture into the canister before you surround it with ice. If you save it for the last step (like we did), you risk ice and salt falling into the canister when you remove the lid. Lesson learned.
Next, turn, turn, turn! We all took turns cranking the handle around and around, spinning the canister around in the ice. It took about 25 minutes of cranking until the ice cream was frozen enough to eat.
Ice cream made the old fashioned way is almost always soft serve. You’ve gotta eat it fast ’cause it’ll turn into a puddle before your eyes, especially on a hot summer day! If you can’t eat it all at once, transfer the ice cream to a container to put in the freezer until you’re ready to enjoy it.
As a side note, you might want to do this outdoors. We had water leaking out from the ice cream maker as the ice melted. This may be because our unit was older and the wooden slats had come a little loose. Just, FYI.
It’s good to know our off grid ice cream maker works like a charm! Nothing beats a good homemade soft serve ice cream.
Do you have a favorite goat’s milk ice cream recipe to share?