Local Bounty: February 4

The Other Dairy



Most of us think cow when we think of milk—or most non-cheese dairy products. That’s what is most common in the U.S. But there’s a whole world of people who adore both goat’s and sheep’s milk, and we’re seeing more of it in the markets. For those who can’t tolerate cow’s milk, goat’s milk—with its different fats and proteins and lower levels of lactose can make dairy more tolerable. Sheep milk, on the other hand is higher in lactose than either cow’s or goat’s milk, so it’s not recommended to those who are severely lactose intolerant, but it is richer in protein. And while it has about double the fat content of the others, it contains higher levels of conjugated linoleic acid, which may promote fat loss, improve blood lipid levels, and possibly help prevent diabetes.

Okay, enough of the dietary talk. Check with your doctor if you have medical issues. Let’s talk flavor, cooking, and all the good stuff. I decided to make a Brousse cheese—a simple soft goat/cow cheese that uses lemon and salt to get a curd and add a touch of flavor. I had remembered seeing goat milk at Sprouts, so off I went. The full fat version I needed wasn’t on the shelf so I asked an employee if they had any in the back. While waiting I perused the yogurt section and found goat’s milk and then sheep’s milk yogurt. I somehow had missed these so in went several containers into my cart—and now to you.

yogurt and milk
From left: Bellwether Farms Sheep Milk Yogurt, Meyenberg Goat Milk, Skyhill Farms Goat Yogurt | Photos by Caron Golden

Meyenberg Goat Milk

I’ll cut to the chase. I got the wrong milk for making cheese. Meyenberg, based in California’s Central Valley, makes ultra-pasteurized whole and low-fat milk. Perfectly good for drinking and cooking. Not at all good for making cheese. But, the milk is delicious—like drinking liquid goat cheese. If you don’t want to drink it, add it to soup or pudding, make gelato, add to quiche or a custard. Basically, anything you’d add milk to, but know the taste is going to be more distinctive than cow’s milk. $3.99 a quart

Skyhill Farms Goat Yogurt

Skyhill Farms, of Napa Valley, started out as an organic produce farm but they began acquiring a herd of goats and started selling goat cheese in 1991. I am now cooing over their yogurt. There are at least six varieties at Sprouts—plain, peach, blueberry, vanilla, strawberry, and raspberry. They’re thick and creamy with a good amount of tang. If you want to take it to another level, strain the plain yogurt overnight in cheesecloth to make a soft goat’s milk cheese. You could marinate the cheese in olive oil and herbs, then have a spread for crackers. $1.99 for a 6-ounce container

Bellwether Farms Sheep Milk Yogurt

I’ve long been an acolyte of the Bellwether Farms cheese folks, especially their cow’s milk Carmody and Crescenza. But now I’m adding the sheep’s milk yogurt to my list of must enjoys. The yogurt from the pastured goats at the family-owned Sonoma farm is rich and sweet. I enjoyed both the plain and vanilla flavors, but they also sell strawberry, blueberry, blackberry, and spiced apple (I didn’t see the latter two at Sprouts, but it may be a seasonal thing). Like the goat yogurt, you can drain the plain variety to make a soft cheese—perhaps to spread on a toasted bagel. How about adding it to cheesecake, making panna cotta, or making a sheep’s yogurt tzaziki? $2.29 for a 6-ounce container

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