WORK WITH MILK BE­FORE YOU COM­MIT TO AN­I­MALS

Country Smallholding - - Ask The Experts -

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

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