The fat content of goat’s milk actually has a slightly different composition than that of cow’s milk. More specifically, we are talking here about fatty acids, which are a component of milk fat. Broadly speaking, you could say that the smaller the fatty acids – that is, shorter the chain – the more intense the taste. The proportion of short-chain caproic, caprylic and capric acids is higher in goat's milk than it is in cow’s milk. This results in the typical goat flavour.
Feed influences the taste
The fatty acid profile of both goat’s and cow’s milk is also influenced by how the animals are fed. The taste changes depending on the season and the main type of food. Many of us are familiar with the slightly different taste of cow’s milk when feeding switches from hay to grass in the spring.
Picky about food
For goats, the feed plays an even greater role. They are extremely picky. Whoever's been for a walk with goats in the forest – yes, such a thing really exists; the writer is the proud owner of two “hobby goats” – knows that they nibble on anything and everything: tree bark, reeds and wild brambles including their prickly branches. These very special feeding habits also affect the milk. Lovers of goat’s milk appreciate the “tangy” taste, which is said to be tart in spring and sweetish in winter.
Important: hygiene during milking
However, many people are also steadfast in the opinion that goat’s milk tastes – for want of a better word – goaty. Is that possible? Goat’s milk quickly takes on foreign flavours. If there's a billy goat around, whose hair on his head gives off the intense smell of a goat, this can affect the taste of the milk. Mechanical damage to the fat and the resulting release of fatty acids during milking or storage can also have an unpleasant effect on the taste. However, with proper husbandry, good milking hygiene and modern processing, these problems have disappeared nowadays.
Conclusion: Yes, goat’s milk has a signature taste. But it's no longer true that it has to “stink a bit”.
Goat's cheese from Switzerland
Under the brand "Le Petit Chevrier", we have around 15 different goat’s cheese products in its range. Fresh, soft, semi-hard and hard varieties made from Swiss goat’s milk are available. There's even a raclette cheese made from goat’s milk.
30 Swiss goat farmers supply their milk for these cheese products. The family farms look after their animals with a great deal of love and care. For example, the animals are allowed to go outside every day. In addition, there's still a lot of manual work and traditional production methods behind the products.
Emmi’s subsidiaries that produce goat’s milk products
- Austria: Leeb Biomilch GmbH. Various goat's milk products (yogurt, milk, drinks) in organic quality, www.leeb-milch.at
- Holland: GMPO Goat Milk Powder in Holland, production of goat's milk powder, www.goatmilkpowder.com
- Holland: Bettinehoeve BV, goat husbandry and production of goat's cheese, www.bettine.nl
- USA/California: Cypress Grove, goat's milk processor, www.cypressgrovecheese.com
- USA/California: Meyenberg, leading supplier of goat’s milk products, www.meyenberg.com
- USA/California: Redwood Hill, goat's milk products, www.redwoodhill.com