#4 Chill the Milk Quickly

4. CHILL THE MILK QUICKLY When we had our first goat in milk in April 2003, we would strain the milk immediately after milking into a jar, then set the warm milk in the freezer to cool. I learned that this was creating *Grade D* milk. As a result, this milk had a shorter shelf life. After five days in the fridge, this milk would start to have an off taste, a slight “goaty” taste to it, and if we made cheese, it would also taste off. I do NOT like the “goaty” taste, and if that is what our goats’ milk tasted like, I would not bother to have them.

We learned that chilling the milk quickly (using a water and alcohol mixture) ensures the milk will last from seven to ten days (and sometimes a few days longer) with a fresh delicious taste to it. When we weren’t chilling it properly and it came time to make cheese on the weekend I had to taste test every single jar to make sure none were tasting like store bought cow’s milk yet (because that is how it tastes first before tasting “goaty” in my experience) before I could even start making cheese.

Nowadays we try to freeze the milk within 12-24 hours if we aren’t planning to make cheese, so we don’t have to taste test as much. I code the bags with the date , as well as how long until the milk was frozen. (Sometimes I don’t get the milk into the freezer for three days, so the shelf life would be shorter on that bag, than one that was frozen 12 hours after it came from the goat).

We keep a three gallon plastic bucket in the freezer, mixed with part alcohol and part water. The ratio is approximately 1/2 part water and 1/2 part alcohol. The mixture should be slushy. If the ice is frozen very hard, you need more alcohol. If it does not turn to slush, you need to add water. The way it works is it pulls the heat from the jar of milk. I like to shake the milk jar gently to move the milk around in the jar so it gets colder faster. I did a test once on how quickly the milk chills using this mixture. The “slush” registered at 5°F. I put 3 pounds of milk in a half gallon jar. The temperature of the milk was at 89°F. When twenty minutes had passed, the temperature of the milk was down to 37°F.

I read someplace, sometime that the “goal” is to lower the temperature of the milk to under 40°F within 20 minutes of leaving the udder. That is supposedly to make “Grade A” milk.

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