Sheep milking - year three begins

mikiz

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That is SO AWESOME, I might still give milking sheep a go once I get my place set up!
I've always wanted to make things like cheese, icecream, fudge, yogurt etc without upsetting my stomach, and yours has all turned out great!
 

norseofcourse

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@babsbag - that's interesting about the goat's milk. It's good that there's resources out there detailing people's experiences with the different milks.

@mikiz - thanks! Not everything has been great - the tapioca didn't turn out well, since it started to precipitate out some kind of curds at about 185 degrees (the recipe called for taking it to a boil). The taste was ok, but the texture was a bit unusual... the ice cream, instant pudding, and fudge were great. Haven't done yogurt yet. I'd say the lemon cheese was good, but I want to try the mozzarella again with a few tweaks.

You could try the mozzarella with cow's milk, just to get practice with the procedures, so you'll be ready for your sheep's milk someday - and it is so much fun!
 

mikiz

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Can you use the regular store-bought milk for the cheeses? I know I made some sort of soft cheese using lemon and vinegar in regular milk once when I was a kid, that was fun but it was sort of cottage-cheese-y
 

norseofcourse

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Can you use the regular store-bought milk for the cheeses? I know I made some sort of soft cheese using lemon and vinegar in regular milk once when I was a kid, that was fun but it was sort of cottage-cheese-y
Yes, regular milk works, and most recipes call for whole milk. And make sure it's not ultra-pasteurized - the high heat of that process makes it totally unsuitable for cheesemaking (the book I have says it will make, at best, a mushy ricotta).

That same type of lemon cheese should be less cottage-cheesy if you let it drain longer.
 

norseofcourse

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I got some pictures yesterday morning, during milking. I've given descriptions, but a picture is worth a thousand words, and I thought some might be interested to see. A few pics were a bit blurry, it's not easy to take them with one hand and milk with the other. If you can't tell from the pics, I am milking from the rear.

First up is Gracie. This is her third freshening, and second year being milked (although I didn't milk her very long last year, due to her being wormed).

gracieteat.jpg


She's almost a 3-finger milker lol. Notice how I grasp some of the udder above the teat - saw that on a video someone posted here, and it does help. It's difficult to do when their udder is full, but after the first few pulls, I re-do my grip and it's easier. I typically get a much stronger stream - I was going real slow as I was trying to keep the camera still with the other hand.

Up next is Lukka, a first freshener who is behaving very well on the milking stand, despite very little handling (because at first I didn't think I was keeping her). Lukka is more of a two-finger milker, but she lets down her milk nicely. I am hoping she takes after her mom Rose, and you'll see why in the next set of pictures!

lukkateat1.jpg


lukkateat2.jpg


Last we have Rose, a third freshener and the second year she's been milked (I think I milked about two months last year, maybe a bit less). She has teats I think even a goat owner would like :p even though her orifices are a bit small.

roseteat1.jpg


roseteat2.jpg


The lambs are penned during the night, until I finish milking in the morning. They are used to the routine so they're pretty patient now, but Gracie's twins try to look as pitiful as possible. "Oh, please, please, can't you see we're about to faint from hunger?"

lambswait.jpg
 

Baymule

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I made the lemon cheese yesterday. I used a half gallon oh raw cows milk. I woung up with a lot of crumbles. Was I not supposed to stir it? It tasted a bit bland, needed salt. When do you add salt? Still in the pot or after straining? The crumbles will go good on salads. I am thrilled with my new found cheese making ability. Lemon cheese, who knew? I saved the whey, 1 1/2 quarts an have already drank the quart. That's good too.
 

norseofcourse

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I made the lemon cheese yesterday. I used a half gallon oh raw cows milk. I woung up with a lot of crumbles. Was I not supposed to stir it? It tasted a bit bland, needed salt. When do you add salt? Still in the pot or after straining? The crumbles will go good on salads. I am thrilled with my new found cheese making ability. Lemon cheese, who knew? I saved the whey, 1 1/2 quarts an have already drank the quart. That's good too.
Congrats on your cheese! I saw lemon cheese made with cows milk in a cheese class once, and it did seem to be a lot of little crumbly pieces of curd, that appeared almost immediately once he added the lemon juice. He strained it without cooking it any more, and it seemed pretty soft (and yummy!).

A lot of things can affect how cheese turns out. How fast or slow you get it to the target temperature (usually the slower the better). How long between adding the acid and straining it (if you let it cook for awhile first my guess is the cheese may be drier). How long you strain it - the longer you strain it the drier it will be. And I'm sure there's lot of other variables that I'm just too new to know about yet.

You add the salt after you've strained the whey out. Maybe next time try straining it sooner, or for not as long? I've also seen some recipes call for adding some cream to the curds after you've strained them, and then mixing, to make a smoother, moister, more spreadable cheese.

I think you did great - and I'm impressed you're drinking the whey! I tried mine, and.... :sick
 

norseofcourse

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I've been skipping some morning milkings over the past few weeks, especially weekdays. Interestingly, sometimes I find slightly increased production, even after I've skipped two days in a row. Maybe that's normal, I don't know.

I did start doing some udder massaging in the last week or two. Once I'm getting hardly anything from each teat, I massage their udder (kind of like kneading bread, but upside-down) a few times, and I've found this gives me a fair bit more. I had tried 'bumping' it like their lambs do, but I never had the nerve to do it as hard as I've seen the lambs bump, so my half-hearted attempts were probably more of an annoyance... lol

Anyway, maybe the massaging, maybe I'm finally getting experienced, maybe the ewes are getting more comfortable, maybe the weather or the phase of the moon? Who knows - but Gracie's average increased over an ounce. And Rose - her average had been hovering around 7 ounces, and she started giving 8, 9, and then today she gave 11 ounces! That's what she was averaging in her first two weeks of freshening!

So, you might ask, why would I want to stop milking now? Well, I've never been much of a morning person, and I'm really getting tired of getting up and out so early to milk. I'd rather stop now, when I'm getting some nice results, than continue till I'm totally sick of getting up that early. I want to look forward to milking next year, not dread it.

I've got milk frozen for soap, fudge, and cheese. I think I'll use this weekend's milk and made a batch of yogurt, to see how that tastes.

Brosa still hasn't had her lamb, so there's always the chance I may milk her a little bit after that. I can decide that when the time comes.
 
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