Meanwhile on the farm our new buck Fernando will not stop escaping from his private pen to fraternize with the ladies. After his fifth or sixth escape we have given up and allowed him to mingle for the time being. Goats tend to be at their peak fertility in late summer and fall every year which is why we usually breed our goats every summer (this past year being a bit of an exception of course!). We haven’t had a young buck on the farm in many years and we underestimated his determination so here we go again! This means we can expect to see babies again sometime in March.
First of all, thank you to everyone for your patience with our aged goats’ milk cheeses! So far we have only released our feta and Tallentire. Belmont, Tomme de Vallée, and Swansea (our renamed goat’s milk gouda) are still developing their perfect flavours. Cow and goats’ milk cheeses differ in the way they age. Over the years, we have found that aged goats’ milk cheeses only develop pleasant and desirable starting at about three months of age and have a short aging period, reaching their peak at about six months. When we started making cows’ milk cheeses, we were surprised to find that many of the cheeses were developing those desirable flavours as early as six weeks to two months, and then developing stronger flavours at a much slower rate. This is why you see cows’ milk cheeses that are aged for several years and why that is such a rare occurrence for goats’ milk cheeses. Of course there are always exceptions to these guidelines. Sizes of wheels of cheese make a huge difference in aging time as the ratio of paste (inner part of a wheel of cheese) to rind changes. Since the majority of our cheeses are aged from the outside in, this is a very important factor to consider. So the larger the wheel of cheese for us, the slower it ages and vice versa. I plan to go more in depth in next month’s post on this subject!