Goat Milk FAQs

The Real Food Living FAQ and reprints are provided as information only. The comments contained in the FAQ are the opinions of our readers. Before making any radical changes in your diet, please talk with your personal health care provider.

1. What are the health benefits of goat milk over cow milk? Can we use goat milk if we are sensitive to cow milk?

A. One of the more significant differences from cow milk is found in the composition and structure of fat in goat milk. The average size of goat milk fat globules is about 2 micrometers, as compared to 2 1/2 – 3 1/2 micrometers for cow milk fat. These smaller sized fat globules provide a better dispersion, and a more homogeneous mixture of fat in the milk. Research indicates that there is more involved to the creaming ability of milk than merely physical size of the fat globules. It appears that their clustering is favored by the presence of an agglutinin in milk which is lacking in goat milk, therefore creating a poor creaming ability, especially at lower temperatures.

The natural homogenization of goat milk is, from a human health standpoint, much better than the mechanically homogenized cow milk product. It appears that when fat globules are forcibly broken up by mechanical means, it allows an enzyme associated with milk fat, known as xanthine oxidase to become free and penetrate the intestinal wall. Once xanthine oxidase gets through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream, it is capable of creating scar damage to the heart and arteries, which in turn may stimulate the body to release cholesterol into the blood in an attempt to lay a protective fatty material on the scarred areas. This can lead to arteriosclerosis. It should be noted that this effect is not a problem with natural (unhomogenized) cow milk. In unhomogenized milk this enzyme is normally excreted from the body without much absorption. (I.E. milk that comes as God naturally made it is best for you and not the man handled and distorted version of milk.. .this is my opinion).

Another significant difference from cow milk is the higher amount of shorter-chain fatty acids in the milk fat of goats. Furthermore, glycerol ethers are much higher in goat then in cow milk which appears to be important for the nutrition of the nursing newborn. Goat milk also has lower contents of orotic acid which can be significant in the prevention of fatty liver syndrome. However, the membranes around fat globules in goat milk are more fragile which may be related to their greater susceptibility to develop off flavors than cow milk.

Goat milk compared to cow milk and human milk:

Goat Cow Human
fat % 3.8 3.6 4.0
solids-not-fat % 8.9 9.0 8.9
lactose % 4.1 4.7 6.9
nitrogen x 6.38% 3.4 3.2 1.2
protein % 3.0 3.0 1.1
casein % 2.4 2.6 0.4
calcium % CaO 0.19 0.18 0.04
phosphorus P2O5 % .27 .23 .06
chloride % .15 .10 .06
iron (P/100,000) .07 .08 .2
vitamin A (i.u./g fat) 39.0 21.0 32.0
vitamin B (ug/100 m) 68.0 45.0 17.0
riboflavin (ug/100ml) 210.0 159.0 26.0
vitamin C (mg asc. a/100ml) 2.0 2.0 3.0
vitamin D (i.u./g fat) .07 0.7 0.3
Calories /100ml 70.0 69.0 68.0

…there are also differences that give goat’s milk a place for special purposes.

In summary:

  • Goat milk has more easily digestible fat and protein content than cow milk.
  • The increased digestibility of protein is of importance to infant diets (both human and animal) as well as to invalid and convalescent diets.
  • Goat milk tends to have a better buffering quality, which is good for the treatment of ulcers.
  • In under-developed countries, where meat consumption is low, goat milk is an important daily food source of protein, phosphate and calcium not available otherwise because of a lack of cow milk.
  • Goat milk can successfully replace cow milk in diets of those who are allergic to cow milk.
  • The value of goat milk as an alternative food for children and sick people, because it is easier digested, extends also to feeding animals, young dogs, foals, even calves.

2. How can I use goat cheese in place of regular (cow’s milk) cheese?

A. (from Vickilynn): There are different types of goat milk cheese, just like cow milk cheese and the use depends on the type. I currently make chevre – a semi-soft spreadable cheese that we use on crackers, salads, sandwiches, even pizzas. You can use chevre whipped with ranch dressing for a veggie dip, or anything that calls for cream cheese, like cheesecake. Or try it as a filling for lasagna or ravioli for dinner tomorrow. Sprinkle some garlic & chives in, mix well and spread on bagels, crackers etc. Add onion powder for a change. Last week I was watching the chef Emeril Lagasse on television and he brought out some wonderful goat chevre cheese and used it in his recipes. I turned to my daughter Rachel and said “Hey, we’re mainstream gourmet!”

I also make a stretchy, melty, mozzarella that is absolutely awesome on grilled cheese sandwiches, pizzas, toast, etc. We also slice it an eat it like any other cheese. I make a plain goat mozzarella that my neighbor melts over tortilla chips for nachos, but her husband prefers my garlic-herb mozzarella for sandwiches and pizzas. I also make a pressed cheddar cheese from our rich Nubian goat milk and we use it anywhere that cheddar works. My husband begs me to make this and he keeps one wheel of it hidden in a drawer in the fridge. When he wants a snack, he cuts off a little piece of the cheddar and enjoys! There are other types of cheese you can make with goat milk. I am planning on trying my hand at baby Swiss soon. Goat milk is so yummy and it makes some wonderful cheese!

3. We just don’t like that “goaty” taste! Help!!!

(from Vickilynn) Where are you getting your goat milk? If you buy your goat milk, the stuff in the cans is not the taste of real farm-fresh goat milk. If you buy your goat milk from a dairy farm, talk to the owner and find out how they process the milk, and if the buck is in with the does. How old is the milk? Is it pasteurized or raw? Are the goats grazing and eating any wild onions? Any of these things can affect the taste. Also, LOOK at the goats whose milk you are drinking, and the barn where they are milked! Are they clean? Is the barn clean? Are the milking utensils kept clean? Do they handle the milk quickly and get the temperature down right away? If any of the answers is no, find another herd! Goat milk when handled correctly has a wonderful, mild taste and most people enjoy it.

We have Nubian goats that we milk and we are very careful in our handling and processing. The milk is mild and truly delicious. I have given it to folks and not said it was from goats and they liked it. I also think sometimes, the fact it comes from a “goat” causes people to turn up their noses at it because it is unfamiliar and may seem “wild”. If you truly are getting a “goaty” taste in your milk, either milking your own or buying, then something is wrong.

4. Any suggestions or proven recipes for using goat’s milk or cheese?

A. (from Vickilynn) There are some excellent books specifically for making your own cheese and using goat products. Here are my favorites:

  • Goats Produce Too! The Udder Real Thing Volume II by Mary Jane Toth
  • Rodale’s Stocking Up, Third Edition by Carol Hupping and Rodale Staff ( a small section on making cheese)
  • Cheesemaking Made Easy by Ricki and Robert Carroll (good backround info)

Also, try some fresh delicious goat cheese in one of these recipes.

Cheesecake Bars

  • 1/2 cup butter (or cold pressed oil)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped fine
  • 2 1/4 cups organic whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 cup creamy goat cheese
  • 2 tablespoons soy milk
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Mix first four ingredients until crumbly. Set aside 3/4 cup of mixture. Press the rest in bottom of a 9×9 pan. (Lightly spread with liquid lecithin if desired)

Mix together honey, goats cheese, milk, egg, lemon juice and spices. Spread over crust in pan. Sprinkle remaining crust over top and bake at 350 degrees for twenty-five minutes.
(makes 12-15 bars)

Variations: Use fresh sliced fruit, or make a pie or cobbler filling, spread over top crust before or after baking.

Chevre White Pizza
By Vickilynn Haycraft

  • Basic Whole Wheat Pizza crusts * recipe below (and see Pizza Tips FAQ)
  • Garlic, minced
  • Butter or Better Butter or olive oil
  • Chevre cheese
  • Basil

I used a basic pizza crust recipe and pre-baked the crust as usual, let cool a few minutes while preparing the garlic rolls and other pizza, then I sauteed a TON of garlic (about 1/2 head ~8-10 cloves) in a *tiny* bit of butter, you can use a good cold-pressed olive oil if desired) until the garlic was soft.

With a pastry brush, I brushed the pre-baked crust with the garlic, then spread about 1 cup, (or a little more) of the chevre enough to cover the pizza. Then I sprinkled basil lightly over the cheese.

I baked as usual at 450- 475 degrees for about 10 minutes. It was AWESOME!!!!! I also have spread thinly sliced fresh, ripe tomatoes over the garlic and cheese and sprinkled with basil. Tim liked the plain white pizza the best and said you could taste the garlic better. You also could add grated mozzarella and or parmesan for a cheesier pizza.

Basic Pizza Crust
by Vickilynn Haycraft

makes ANY of the following:

  • TWO 15 inch thin crust pizzas
  • TWO 12 inch thick crust pizzas
  • TWO 9 x 13 med-thin rectangular pizzas
  • FOUR 10 inch personal pizzas
  • SIX 8 inch thin personal pizzas
  • SIX 8 inch thin calzones
  • TWO dozen small breadsticks

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cup warm water (100-110 degrees)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon SAF yeast
  • 1 tsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3 tablespoons vital gluten (optional)
  • 4 cups freshly ground hard whole wheat flour
  • Additional flour if necessary

Place warm water in a mixing bowl and add yeast and honey. Stir until dissolved. Let stand 5 – 10 minutes until foamy. This is “proofing” your yeast. (If using SAF yeast, you may skip this step and add all ingredients together)

Add oil, salt vital gluten and 2 cups of flour. Mix well.

Add more flour, one cup at a time mixing well after each addition until dough clings together and you can turn out on a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and springy about 10-12 minutes by hand or until smooth and springy.

Place dough in a bowl. Rub a little olive oil over the dough, turning to get all sides. Cover the bowl and let dough rise 30 minutes. Punch down, take dough out on a floured surface and divide into desired pieces depending on what size pan and how many pizzas you choose.

Preheat oven to 450. Roll out pizza dough out on the floured surface one inch wider than your pan. Turn the extra inch over towards the center to form a crust and press down to seal. Prick lightly with a fork over the surface of the crust. Bake empty in a 450 for 5 minutes or until just lightly golden, but not brown.

Take pizza crust out of oven. If freezing, place on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before wrapping and freezing.

If using right away, spread sauce evenly over crust, BE CAREFUL not to use too much sauce as this can cause the crust to become soggy. Add toppings and cheese if desired. bake at 450 for about 10 minutes or until the crust is brown and the toppings are cooked. .

***Note, if you prefer and thicker, “breadier” crust, let the dough rise on the stone after shaping until puffy, then pre-bake and finish as directed.

***If you have 2 stones, you can piggy-back rolling, pre-baking and baking your pizzas.

***This works better if you get the metal handles for the pizza stones, it is easier to grab and not squash the crust.

If using a cake pan, jelly roll pan, round metal pizza pan or pizza screen, you may need to brush lightly with olive oil and dust with cornmeal to prevent sticking.

If desired, divide the dough into “personal” size pizzas ( 6 – 8 inches) and allow each family member to create their own pizza with different toppings.

You can also make this dough in an autobakery bread machine. Place ingredients in the bread machine baking pan in the order according to your machine’s manufacturer. Use 4 cups of whole grain flour. Choose “DOUGH” cycle. Check the dough after 5 minutes to make sure it is forming a ball. Adjust with water or flour as needed. and when the machine beep, remove the dough and shape and bake as described above.

5. Where can I find out more about goats, using goat milk and supplies?

First try your local library. Also, you can request free catalogs from companies that sell products for goats, goat milk and cheesemaking. Some of these catalogs contain very helpful information.

Hoegger Supply Company
160 Providence Road
Fayetteville, GA 30215
1-770-461-5398 1-770-461-6926
For orders only: 1-800- 221-GOAT (4628)

Cheesemaking Supply Outlet
9155 Madison Road
Montville, OH 44064
1-440-968-3770
Catalog costs $1.00 (This catalog is worth getting. The selection and prices are excellent.)

Caprine Supply
PO Box Y
DeSoto, KS 66018
Customer Service: 1-913-585-1191
Orders: 1-800-646-7736 FAX orders: 1-800-646-7796
http://www.caprinesupply.com

Jeffers (all farm animals, not much on goats, but some good medicines)
PO Box 100
Dothan, AL 36301-0100
1-800-JEFFERS (1-800-533-3377)

Lehman’s Hardware
PO Box 41
Kidron, OH 44636
(Some goat and cheesemaking supplies. This is an excellent catalog to get for lots of great items.) Catalog costs $3.00

New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.
85 Main Street
Ashefield, MA 01330

© 1995-2013 Vickilynn Haycraft and Real Food Living. All Rights Reserved. No portion of this content may be copied, stored or transmitted in any medium, for any reason without prior written permission of the author.

About Vickilynn Haycraft

A student of health and nutrition for 30 years, Vickilynn Haycraft has over 25 years of actual hands-on experience reviewing and personally using different tools of the homemaking vocation, focusing on the areas of health and nutrition. Vickilynn is a magazine columnist, product reviewer, cookbook author and now radio talk show host, as well as being full-time wife and mom to 5 children. Read Vickilynn's Product Reviews and Family Preparedness Articles at Examiner.com. She blogs at the Real Food Living Blog.