Over the years we’ve received many questions and comments about the differences between cows’ milk and goats’ milk.  Here are a few of the most common:

I’m lactose intolerant, can I have goats’ milk cheese?

The answer to that depends on how intolerant to lactose you really are.  Both cows’ milk and goats’ milk contain lactose, with goats’ milk having only slightly less than cows’ milk.  Another thing to consider is the age of the cheese.  An extremely aged cheese like Parmigiano Reggiano will contain very little lactose, whereas a fresh cheese like chèvre will have quite a bit.  If your intolerance is severe, you probably avoid all dairy.  If it is less severe, you might enjoy goats’ milk products or well aged cheese.

In some cases the issue might not be lactose at all, it might be an intolerance to the fat in cows’ milk.  The fat globules in cows’ milk are much larger than those in goats’ milk making it more difficult for some people to digest.  If you are unsure about where you stand, it’s always a good idea to have a chat with your doctor.

I don’t eat dairy, gimme some of that goats’ cheese!

We hate to burst your bubble but if you eat goats’ cheese, you eat dairy.  Dairy products can me made from the milk of any mammal – in North America the most common are cows, followed by goats and sheep.  Looking for true non-dairy cheese?  They don’t exist, but you can find cheese substitutes made from nuts quite easily these days.

I don’t like goats’ cheese, it smells like a stinky old buck!

It’s true that bucks are some of the most foul smelling animals in the barn.  And I will agree with you that some goats’ cheese is stinkier than others, but not all goats’ milk cheeses possess this “barnyard” quality.   The fresher the milk, the less stinky the cheese (or fluid milk) will be.  If you are buying goats’ dairy in the supermarket, chances are the milk has sat in a tank for a few days, travelled a great distance, undergone pasteurization, been processed into its final product, and then travelled another great distance to you get you!   If you ever get the chance to do a side by side comparison of fresh and mass-market goats’ milk we encourage you to try…you just might be surprised!

Why is goat’s milk cheese more expensive than cows’ milk cheese?

It takes about nine dairy goats to produce the milk of a single dairy cow.  That’s nine times the does to milk, nine times the birthing mamas, and nine times the hooves to trim.  And because goats aren’t as common as cows, a lot of the equipment and expertise needed to raise and care for them doesn’t come cheap.  All of this adds up to extra time and money spent to produce goats’ milk, and in turn goats’ milk cheese.

Do you have any quesions about cows’ and goats’ milk?  Leave them in the comments and we’ll get you an answer!