I was at my local cheese shop the other day looking around for a few cheeses to plate up for a friend coming into town that afternoon. As I looked around I noticed some butters stacked up in the side of the cooler. I inquired about the kinds of butters they offered. I am always looking for a good butter to cook with. We Americans unfortunately have not been able to purchase butter that is of the up most quality in the grocery store until recently (I know some of you in bigger cities have been but I am living in Charleston, South Carolina and sometimes we take things a little slower). What I found was butter made from goats milk.
Interesting I thought, how does it taste? The owner told me it was rich with a slight taste of fresh chevre. Let’s discuss this word, chevre, for a moment. Since I started in this industry until I went to a French culinary school I thought the word “Chevre” meant goat cheese, or cheese from goats milk. Actually it really means “goat”. In France if you own a goat then you own a chevre. I guess it just makes me laugh a little every time I think of someone asking for fresh chevre at a restaurant knowing that they are literally asking for a fresh goat. Then I have to quit laughing because I do the same thing. Sometimes literall translations should never be researched or known.
I had to try it, expensive as it was. After my first taste I was on a research crusade to find out all the information I could on this heavenly new butter. I have been for sometime now trying to create a brioche out of yellow beet powder and goat cheese. Until know I have not figured out the proper combination of butter with fresh chevre, and the beet powder with flower. This discovery has taken away half the equation as I plan on using nothing but the goats milk butter for the entire recipe. The butter is not the easiest thing to make I have found. Yes, to answer any questions out there, I have already purchased some fresh goats milk that I plan on trying to make butter with this weekend. Goats milk is naturally homogenized, which means the cream does not readily separate from the milk. Most producers use a fancy separator to accomplish this. I, in fact don’t have a fancy separator (though I do have a centrifuge that I have thought about trying this process on). So I am going to hope for the best and use the the milk as is, whisking it in the mixer and watching the results. I have also purchased some organic heavy cream with a plan in mind to increase the fat content of the milk in an attempt to force it to make butter. We will see.
Anyway back to the butter. The flavor is perfect (especially for those who love fresh chevre), it is rich and creamy with less of a coating feel than that of cows milk butter. The flavor is mildly of fresh chevre but just enough for the fans to recognize (or for those who don’t like it to ask, “what is that exactly that I am tasting?”). One of the most interesting facts of the cheese is that it is stark white just like goat cheese, no yellow tint at all.
In fact I found one method of making goats milk butter that suggested adding food coloring so the end result would look like regular butter. I have to ask though, if it is regular butter that you are after why would you even be attempting to make butter from goats milk? After all the research I found the brand pictured at the Earth Fare grocery store here in town. The price there overall was not bad, I paid $3.99 for an 8 ounce block. Clearly more expensive than regular organic butter but the use of this ingredient are worth it. Just think of the perfect French veal stock based sauce finished with goats milk butter. This would add a new depth to the sauce, not to mention acidity, saltiness, and richness.
– matt bolus