Goat Milk Soap

Making soap can be one of the funnest and most challenging products to make with goat milk. Goat milk soap is one of the best soaps, in my opinion, because it doesn’t dry out my skin like other soaps, I know exactly what is in it, and I can buy all of the ingredients locally.

I usually make a big batch of soap in the fall because I like to give it away as homemade Christmas presents. My family loves my soap and they wish I would make more of it but making soap is a bit of a process that requires kid free time, which is a hot commodity for me.

white square ceramic ornament

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I first started making soap about 6 years ago after we bought our goats. The local college happened to have a community education class for making goat milk soap which seemed like fate. I signed myself, my sister, and my husband up to attend the night class. (Poor Trenton was the only guy there). I love taking community education classes and I was very happy to find this one. Since taking the class I make one or two batches of soap a year and I think I have a good recipe now, although I still tweek it a bit.

To make soap you need three basic ingredients:

  1. Lye
  2. Water/Milk
  3. Oils

A few pointers when making soap:

  • Wear long sleeves and gloves!
    • Working with lye is the reason I need kid free time. Although it will not violently burn your skin (Fight Club) it is not pleasant to get on you, which I do every time I make soap. The lye will irritate your skin even after you wash it off and feels like an annoying slow burn for a few hours.
  • Always add the lye to other ingredients not the other way around.
    • For instance, add the lye to your milk a little at a time until it is well mixed then add the lye mixture to your oils.
  • Use a variety of oils!
    • Different oils have different properties and will effect the quality of your soap. I use a mix of olive oil, coconut oil, lard, sunflower oil, and castor oil.
  • For lighter colored soap use a cold process method.
    • Using the cold process method with milk based soaps helps to keep the color lighter rather than a creamy coffee color.
  • Immersion blenders are wonderful.
    • To make soap you need to blend your oil and lye mixture which takes a lot of stirring. An immersion blender is the best way to mix your soap.
  • It is just as easy to make a large batch as a small one.
    • I have recently discovered this fine fact. I can make 5 pounds of soap with the same amount of clean up as 1 pound so I might as well make more soap at one time.

A good resource that I use when figuring out recipes is http://www.soapcalc.net/ because it will help you calculate how much lye, water(milk), and oils you need per batch. It will also rate the quality of your soap based on which oils you select and what percentage you want to use. I played with this website for a long time before I found a good mix that I liked and I still play with it a bit when I want to try an experimental recipe.

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The Experimental Batch:

Usually when I make soap I make 2 Ibs of one scent and 2 Ibs of another. I have just enough soap molds to make 5 Ibs of soap so I experiment with the last pound of soap. This year my experimental soap is an orange coffee soap.

I wanted to try to make orange oil by simmering dried orange peels and olive oil in a double boiler for a few hours. I then used this oil as my olive oil in the recipe. When I had mixed the soap to trace(when the soap starts to thicken) I added the used coffee grounds from my morning coffee. It turned the soap a lovely brown and the grounds will give the soap a scrubbing quality.

I thought about adding orange essential oil to it as an added scent but I am curious if the orange oil I made will offer an scent to the soap. Hence the experimental batch of soap.

This last weekend I taught my Aunt Candy how to make soap and we had a great time getting Christmas soap done. I’ll admit I am cutting it close this year because it takes 6-8 weeks for soap to cure. My family will receive their soap with a warning not to use it until the week after Christmas!

Fresh Goat Cheese

Fresh goat cheese adds flavor to many recipes that would not be the same without it. The main problem is that fresh goat cheese is expensive and how fresh is it really?

Making fresh goat cheese is a great way to use your goat milk and to turn your raw milk into a great product. I thought I would share my recipe for fresh goat cheese.

This recipe needs to be started at night because the cheese making process is a long one.

  1. Heat 1 gallon of fresh goat milk to 70 degreeskimg0410
  2. Dissolve 1/4 tablet WalcoRen in 1 cup water
  3. Add 1 1/2 cups yo-goat. (See Yo-Goat post)
  4. Stir well
  5. Add rennet/water mixture to warmed milk
  6. Stir until curds form
  7. Place in an insulated box for 12 hours

I usually make cheese at night after Lucian and Fiona go to sleep. Penelope has been my helper the last few times I have made cheese but since she is 6 months old now and starting to grab at things it is a little hazardous holding her while stirring. Soon she will be banished to her bouncy seat when stirring is necessary.

In the morning:

  1. Use a cheese clothe or butter muslin to drain whey from curd.

    bread with cream on top

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  2. Hang curd in cheese clothe for 4-6 hours.
  3. Form into molds. I use muffin tins double lined with paper cups.
  4. Turn every hour or so.
  5. After 2-4 hours cheese is ready.

I like to sprinkle a little cheese on a salad or pizza. There are many uses for goat cheese and finding what works best for your taste buds is the fun part!

Yo-Goat

Having a new baby takes up a lot of time and energy so this year I am raising a zkidsbaby rather than working on projects. Helping Penelope grow is more important but still I look around at what I usually work on this time of year and sigh a little. While the weeds take over, Jack idles in his pasture, and products are not being made Penelope is rolling over, figuring out how to put things in her mouth, and laughing at her siblings. They are only little once so I enjoy it while I can and turn a blind eye on the toys taking over our house, never-ending laundry, and reappearing dishes.

That being said I do plan on making a few batches of goat cheese before the pigs are no longer hear to enjoy the waste byproduct of cheese making which is whey. Basically there are four ingredients needed to make cheese:

  1. Milk
  2. Rennet (My new rennet arrived in the mail this week!)
  3. Starter culture or buttermilk
  4. Water

Before I can make the cheese I need to make the buttermilk. I have discovered that I can make goat milk yogurt which works great as a cheese making starter. When my friend Jessica was living with us she liked to try new recipes and one that she tried was goat milk yogurt which she cleverly titled yo-goat. Unfortunately goat milk yogurt is an acquired taste which we were never able to acquire. While we were experimenting with goat milk we decided to use the yo-goat instead of buttermilk to make cheese. It worked great, so I have been using it ever since. Jessica gifted me her yogurt maker and I use the recipe in the booklet to make it.

Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker Abbreviated Directions:

  1. Pour 7 glass jars (equal to 42oz) of fresh, pasteurized milk into saucepan.
  2. Heat milk until it boils (203 degrees) and starts to climb the sides of the saucepan. Boiling ensures a firmer yogurt familiar to most American tastes.
  3. Remove from heat and allow milk to cool to room temp. (68 degrees)
  4. Pour cooled milk through a fine mesh colander.
  5. Stir in one glass jar (6oz) of natural yogurt with some of the strained milk in a separate bowl until yogurt is dissolved and you have a smooth mixture.
  6. Mix the room temp. milk very well with the smooth mixture.
  7. Pour mixture into the 7 jars .
  8. Place the jars- without the lids– in the yogurt maker.
  9. Cover yogurt maker with clear lid.
  10. It takes about 6 hrs. to make yogurt with whole milk, and 8 hrs. for skimmed milk.

    zjars

    If you are wondering why one jar is smaller it is because we lost a jar and replaced it with a baby food jar. 

As I have relaid in previous posts I do not follow recipes very well so I have my own version of this recipe. Remember I only use yo-goat as an ingredient to make cheese. If I were going to make yogurt for myself to eat I would follow the recipe a bit better.

Yo-goat Recipe:

  1. Pour 1 quart of fresh goat milk into saucepan.
  2. Heat milk to about room temperature.
  3. Add about 6oz plain yogurt and whisk until yogurt is dissolved into milk.
  4. Pour into the 7 jars
  5. Place jars- without lids – in the yogurt maker.
  6. Cover the yogurt maker with the clear lid.
  7. Let the yogurt maker run for about 6-8 hours until yogurt is ready.

As you may have noticed I have a few less steps to my recipe than the booklet recommends.

  • I did not boil the milk because I want all the wonderful cheese making bacteria alive and well.
  • I skipped a few steps to save on dishes. I hate washing dishes so if I can complete a project only using a pot and a whisk I will do so.
  • I cut out a few steps that were only necessary to improve the texture of the finished yogurt. Again it will be an ingredient in a big pot of milk so texture issues are void.

Step 1 in cheese making completed! Now all I have to do is keep milking Fauna, the goat, until I have a gallon of fresh milk to make cheese.

I want to add a quick note on what my two older kids worked on all afternoon yesterday while I made yo-goat. Lucian built a fox trap and they spent a few hours trying to catch the fox that has been taking off with our chickens. I would guess the fox has snatched 8 chickens and all 4 of our ducks. Yesterday Lucian made a noose snare with a piece of baling twine and a blind under a tarp to watch his trap. He didn’t catch a fox but he caught himself and Fiona a few times. They had a ton of fun hiding under the tarp waiting for the fox and planning how to catch him. They even put out food and water next to the loop to lure him in. Although they didn’t get the fox the fox didn’t get any chickens because the kids set up right next to the chicken coop.