WORK WITH MILK BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO ANIMALS
QI’m thinking of having a house cow or goat, but want to try my hand at home dairying before I commit to getting livestock. Do you have any ideas how I might do this?
ADebbie Kingsley says: It is a really sensible idea to test out how much you like working with milk before taking on a couple of cows or goats (herd animals always need company) and all the commitment and work that entails. There are many places around the country that run cheesemaking courses and plenty of books, both antique and modern, that share the wisdom, so do get stuck into those. I was recently recommended Paul Thomas’s book Home-made Cheese. At the simplest end of getting hands on, keep an eye out for any double cream on special offer in your local shop and make your own butter with a food mixer or food processor. It is an incredibly simple process and is both satisfying and delicious. Soft cheeses are also easy to make with no special equipment. You will need to buy rennet and culture and there are various online suppliers, including GN Ltd (www.gnltd.co.uk). You could also make ice cream, yogurt, kefir and cheese favourites, such as halloumi and mozzarella, before moving on to hard cheese. This will also help you to work out how much milk the household can consume daily, in whatever form, which will help in the decision making as to what breed of cows or goats to get.
Try a cheesemaking course