When we got our dairy goats, I was unprepared for how much milk we would have. Before I began making soap, I experimented with different recipes to use all the milk we were getting. It seemed like a waste of time, effort, and precious hand-squeezed milk to allow it to go to waste. When we first got our goats, Eric traveled for work quite a bit. This left me in charge of milking the girls morning and night. I clearly recall the first week we had the girls. I would go out to the barn with Eric, and he would effortlessly squeeze milk from their udders into our small stainless steel milking pail.
He made it look so easy. He would show me how he placed his hands, squeezing the milk gently from the top of the teat to the bottom using his thumb and middle finger. It was almost like a rolling motion. Being the epitome of patience, he patiently explained how to place my hands, how much pressure to use, and little tips to make it easier. He would then stand behind me, put my hands in the correct position, and walk me through squeezing the teat. He taught me to go from teat to teat, slowly squeezing one and then the other in a relaxing rhythm. He made it look effortless.
After a while, he would step away and let me try to milk the girls alone. The girls would immediately lift their legs, stamp their feed, and knock over the milk pail. I would struggle, get nervous, and eventually break into tears because I could only get a tiny stream to flow. The Bibbed Wonder could milk all five girls in less than half an hour. It took me more than half an hour to milk one goat. The girls would get bored and frustrated with me and my slow progress. Red, my favorite girl, was the worst. She would tire of being on the stand, tire of eating sweet feed, spit grain into my hair, and then turn herself around and walk down the ramp off the milk stand. Once Red walked down the ramp, getting her back onto the stand was next to impossible. There were a lot of tears, swearing, and frustration in the early days.
I panicked when The Bibbed Wonder had to leave for a week for the first time. I remember ugly crying with snot running down my face and declaring I was an idiot for ever wanting goats. I had myself convinced I wouldn't be able to milk the girls; they would get sick with mastitis and die a slow, painful death while Eric was away. The Bibbed Wonder, my bib overall-wearing hero, attached a rope with a clip to the milk stand so the girls couldn't get down until I had finished milking them. He also ordered a small hand pump milker that attaches to a mason jar to make milking the girls easier. He went to the barn and ensured I knew how to clean the udders properly, milk the girls to completion using the milker, and spray the girls with an iodine dip once I was done milking to ensure no bacteria could enter their open milk holes. By the time he left, I was cautiously confident I could milk the girls by myself without killing them. However, it took me over two hours to milk all five girls and another forty minutes to clean the milker properly. Those were trying times for both the girls and me.
Eventually, milking the girls by hand became easier. I never reached Eric's efficiency or quickness, but I could milk all the girls in around an hour. When Eric was home more than he was away, he took over the milking. As arthritis in my hands has developed and worsened, I no longer milk. Once in a great while, I will milk out Boo or Mama Boo just for pleasure. The Boos are the easiest to milk and the most patient. The plan is to remodel the milking parlor and have automatic milkers do the hard work. This is an idea we discuss all the time, but for right now, soap equipment takes precedence over milking equipment. The Bibbed Wonder begins and ends his day "squeezing titties."
Homemade ice cream was one of the first recipes I made successfully with goat's milk. With the upcoming warm weather, I thought it appropriate to share with you my recipe for homemade goat's milk ice cream. You can also use cow's milk with this recipe, but the goat's milk creates a smooth, creamy texture. Vanilla ice cream is the flavor of choice for The Bean and The Bibbed Wonder, but I also enjoy adding fresh fruit or berry puree to the mix. You will need an automatic ice cream maker for this recipe. Affordable ice cream makers can be found on Amazon. Making homemade ice cream is a process that takes time and patience. However, the effort is well worth it.
Goat's Milk Ice Cream
6 Cups Fresh Raw Goat's Milk
1 Cup Organic Cane Sugar
6 Egg Yolks at Room Temperature
4 TBLS. Cornstarch
2 TBLS. Vanilla Extract (I like to use Mexican Vanilla Extract)
Mix the cornstarch with ½ cup of goat milk in a small bowl. Blend slowly and mix thoroughly to ensure there are no lumps.
Combine the milk, cornstarch mixture, and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Heat over low heat until you reach a simmer, stirring constantly. Simmer for one minute and remove the milk mixture from the heat.
In a medium mixing bowl, whip room-temperature egg yolks using an electric mixer until light and fluffy.
Slowly add two cups of the warm milk mixture, a drizzle at a time to the whipped egg yolks. Work slowly and carefully; you don't want to cook the egg yolks when adding the hot milk.
Whisk the tempered egg mixture into the remaining milk mixture in the saucepan. Mix thoroughly.
Return the saucepan to the stove and bring the egg and milk mixture to a slow boil. Stir constantly so the mixture does not scorch.
Once the mixture reaches a gentle boil, set a timer and boil for two minutes stirring the mixture constantly. Do not overcook the mixture, or it will curdle.
Remove the mixture from the heat, add the vanilla extract, and allow it to cool for a bit. Place the milk mixture in an airtight container and refrigerate it until it is thoroughly chilled. I chill my milk mixture overnight.
Add the chilled milk mixture to your ice cream maker. Following the manufacturer's directions, blend the mixture until it turns into ice cream. If it is too runny, you may put the ice cream into the freezer until it reaches the desired frozenness. Do not put the ice maker container with paddles into the freezer. Place ice cream in an airtight container to freeze. The ice cream will keep for up to two weeks.
Top with your favorite toppings, and enjoy.
Making homemade ice cream for a picnic or gathering is a fun, delicious, old-fashioned treat. I like setting up an ice cream bar with various toppings and fruit purees. We have never been able to keep homemade ice cream in our freezer for more than a day. My Bean and The Bibbed Wonder enjoy eating "troughs of ice cream." They blend ice cream, peanut butter, Oreos, chocolate chips, and chocolate syrup to make their own delicious concoction, then use two spoons to share a bowl. It's their thing.
On this beautiful spring day, stay safe, be smart, enjoy delicious, old-fashioned treats, and keep washing your hands.