Last week I swapped bacon, chops, rind, and neck bones for a 5 gallon bucket of goat milk. The other party to this barter were Brent and Josh of Beekman fame. They were kind enough to let me pick some raspberries and a few not-quite-ripe currants from their garden as my raspberries are still not ready to eat.
As with almost everything food related this year Garth and I split the bounty in half. He owns a bomber dehydrator/incubator of sorts, but it is not big enough to run a 5 gallon batch of milk all at once, so he made his share the day I collected the milk. Then I used a little whey from his strained yogurt and put it into my share after heating the milk to 180 degrees Fahrenheit and then cooling back down to 100. From there into containers in the incubator at 115 degrees for 8 hours. The microbes did their thing and sure enough, yogurt formed. I don't know precisely why, but goat milk curd doesn't set up as thick as cow milk does. I strained it in a paper towel lined sieve over night. By morning, with half its volume leached out, the final product was luscious, nearly chevre thick. A small drizzle of maple syrup mixed in put it over the top.
Goat milk has a reputation for being "goaty" or "barnyardy". I believe those off flavors are preventable with proper sanitation and management of the milking herd. Whatever the Beekman Boys do, they have their production under control because the plain milk tasted great and the yogurt was even better. I ate it all (2 gallons) over the course of three breakfasts. It was that good. And I wasn't the only person in the house who thought so...