Potential Causes of and Remedies for Milk Odor
One of the best things you'll ever drink is goat's milk. It is sweet and light with freshness to boot. Well, at least that is how it should taste although sometimes that is not quite the case. The taste of goat's milk under normal circumstances is quite pleasing to the palate but there are variables that can alter that taste. Knowing what those are is the first step in solving the problem and getting back to enjoying the delightful taste of goat's milk as nature intended.
A common reason why goat's milk may taste off is due to pheromones. When pheromones are present, the taste of milk can become musky which detracts from the normal flavor. Since bucks are known to give off a strong pheromone odor, having a buck in close proximity to does in milk will actually alter the milk's taste. This is because the female's hormones are manipulated and therefore so is the taste of her milk. Luckily this is a problem easily remedied; simply create distance between bucks and does by pasturing them separately away from one another unless breeding is taking place.
If you've ruled out the presence of a buck as the reason your milk tastes off, then it is possible that the problem is in the handling of the milk itself. Sometimes it is something as simple as residue in the milking pail that can alter the taste. Each time you milk, be sure to rinse your bucket thoroughly with water. After that, use soap or the cleaner of your choice to remove any residue, then rinse again. Be sure to do your first rinse with cool water in order to prevent milk remnants from hardening but finish the process with a hot rinse. Running pails through the dishwasher on a weekly basis is a good idea as well.
Photo: Edible Aspen
Another potential culprit in off tasting milk could be a problem with the filtration process not being quite thorough enough. The filtration process needs to get out all of the hair, dirt, and any other debris and nothing should be left behind. If you feel that your filtration is to blame, go ahead and experiment with different filters until you find one you feel works for you, be it stainless steel strainer or something disposable instead.
The next potential taste altering issue to address is the containers in which you store your milk. Glass is best for this purpose. When washing these, follow the same process for washing pails except that glass jars should be run through the dishwasher after every use.
The final thing to worry about is temperature. Goat's milk should be refrigerated as quickly as possible and the ideal storage temperature is between 35 and 38 degrees Fahrenheit. If milk seems to sour in the fridge prematurely, the fridge itself could be to blame as some fridges may not be able to achieve and maintain cold enough temperatures. If you have doubts, hang a thermometer inside for temperature confirmation in the area where you store milk. It may be necessary to purchase a secondary mini-fridge to for milk storage if your main fridge isn't quite getting the job done.
In the event that your milk has been tasting off, try the above suggestions and your problem should be remedied. There may be some process of elimination required to get to the exact solution that works for you, but sooner or later you are sure to get there. The process may take some patience, but that sweet, delicious milk will be worth it.
Have you ever had a problem with strange milk taste? What did you do to remedy it? Tell us about it in the comments.