Hello Everyone! I know I've been posting about problems lately, but when it rains it pours, I guess.
We have been having a problem with our goat milk souring way to quickly. Like 1-2 days and the jar is sour. Not only sour but kind of slimy as well. Earlier this year our milk would keep for 7-8 days in the refrigerator nor problem, but for the last three months or so there has been no consistency. It will keep fine for a while and then we'll have a week where every other batch just sours so quickly.
The trouble seems to have started when they went from being fed hay to grazing, but I could be wrong.
What is not the problem: I have controlled all the goats (8 milkers at the moment) separating their milk out systematically, and it does not seem to be one particular goat. We clean all our jars and utensils very throughly. We clean the goats udders very thoroughly at EVERY milking, we use a separate room for milking other than the stalls.
The Northland Sheep Dairy in this video, one of the owners talks about how she doesn't wash the udders. She measured lower bacterial counts if she doesn't wash the udders. I've heard this other places as well, where washing the udders can just move bacteria around.
What they eat matters. It changes the pH of the milk and the mix of bacteria on the udder.
Getting the milk cooled down FAST matters. Minutes count in the summer. We have one friend that puts the bucket (machine milking bucket) into an ice bath WHILE he is milking. He said getting it chilled that fast makes it keep an extra week.
"You must be the change you want to see in the world." "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." --Mahatma Gandhi
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"Family farms work when the whole family works the farm." -- Adam Klaus
Unless you empty the refrigerator totally and scrub down every interior surface with bleach, spores will find a place to hide. My refrigerator has a healthy population of blue cheese spores, and any cheese, once it is unsealed from the store-bought bag, will develop a green mold in a few days. I don't mind, because I like blue cheese, but it has become the default cheese for anything left in the fridge for over a week.
I've had that problem with milk that you mention -- open it up and two days later it has soured completely. The way I dealt with that was to start using buttermilk instead of regular milk. When a carton of milk comes home from the store, the first thing I do when I open it is to introduce a sample of buttermilk and let it sit at room temperature for a few hours. Once the buttermilk bacillus has gotten a good head start, there is no competition from other bacteria that would want to sour it in an unusable fashion. I also use buttermilk active cultures to turn half-and-half into sour cream and heavy cream into cream cheese. My ultimate goal is to have penicillium and lactobacillus so naturalized in my fridge that I can set a cup of raw milk into it, come back in a week, and have a cup of buttermilk blue cheese salad dressing.
You have two choices as I see it: (1) realize that your fridge is an ecosystem, just like your garden and cultivate those species which you don't mind and weed out those that are unacceptable or (2) lots of bleach and elbow grease, so that your fridge is barren of any microflora.
I haven't milked a goat since I was 15. My method for preservation developed a year earlier and I still do it with bought milk. The moment I get the organic milk that has been marked down 50% home, I put it in the freezer and set the stove timer. I want it to just begin to freeze. Once it has a thin layer of slush on top, it moves down to the fridge. Give it a shake before use. It can go back to the freezer at any time. Managed in a state of semi frozenness, it can keep for weeks. It takes quite a bit of heat to melt ice. Whenever the container has some ice in it, all of the contents will remain near freezing.
Since just one goat is the problem it would seem likely that she has a high cell count. Maybe she has mastitis, which could be subclinical but still causing a problem.
Unless udders are thoroughly dried after washing, the washing can have the fect of causing bacteria to run down the teat and into the milk and can also enter the udder through the hole in the teat, causing infection. Also, the same watershould never be used to clean more than one animal ie clean, running water for each animal.