Author Topic: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.  (Read 1073 times)

Offline Hotshot

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #15 on: March 22, 2014, 06:51:44 PM »
I have to go with the brown swiss.They are gentle,hardy,andgive good milk and do well on grass.Jersey imo are just to fragile.It seems they just look for a reason to die.And yes I have had both.Right no I cross a brown swiss with a jersey to try to get the butterfat up


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Offline texascockatoos

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #16 on: March 30, 2014, 12:54:21 PM »
I have both Jersey and Dutch Belted and my first choice would be Dutch Belted.  I love the temperament of my Jersey, she is a perfect "pocket cow" if that is what you want.  Sometimes I don't want a 1000 cow 2" off my butt but she has never tried pushing her weight.  The Dutch Belted keep their distance which is what I prefer.  We both maintain a safety zone of about 2'.  I have raised them since they were weaned and just love me but they are not a "pocket cow'. 

The biggest difference I have between the 2 is the Dutch Belted keep their condition on with little to no grain.  The Jersey on the other hand requires quite a bit more food to maintain her weight.  The Dutch Belted are much more cost effective on this field.

As for cheese, I still prefer the Dutch Belteds because their butterfat does not separate like the Jerseys.   My Jersey is for my milk and butter and the Dutch Belteds are for my cheese.

Hope this helps.
Cathy

Offline Juan Fries Widdat

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2014, 04:19:56 PM »
Can you take an internship or classes to get an idea about making cheeses? Some state universities have classes and on-farm cheesemakers are often pleased to find cheap labor. Once you're milking it's hard to travel.

As to the choice of breeds - the most important attribute IMHO is a cow that has been handled and milked in the way you will be milking. A local seller who will coach you is worth paying for.  I would compare total milk solids to estimate cheese yield, not volume. There is a large variation within each breed, and individually depending on diet and stress.  Don't start with a fixer-upper, low cost is often not good value.

Jumping in is the fastest way to learn - if milking the first cow is a disaster, ummm, you do eat hamburger don't you?

They say my motto should be pro cras tenere.
I'm gonna look it up tomorrow.

Online ArnaudForestier

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #18 on: March 31, 2014, 08:49:06 AM »
Thanks for your thoughts, everybody.  There's some stuff to accomplish first - licensing process in WI is the only one in the nation, a cumbersome but unavoidable requirement so completing that; and hoping to spend a summer or better in the Savoie to apprentice firsthand.  Ultimately I suspect it's as many of you have indicated here - less the breed but the cow, and the husbandry employed in working with that cow.  Locally we have a strong support network for both Ayrshires and Brown Swiss, so would suspect it comes down to that.  I have to admit the smaller fat globule of the Ayrshire does appeal to me; that, and the fact I've made cheese from their milk for a few years now.  But very open to anything, so thanks again for your thoughts and I invite more, keep them coming. 

Thanks all.
- Paul

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #19 on: March 31, 2014, 09:27:51 PM »
I bought a Jersey heifer calf when she was 3 days old and I was 13 years old.  We grew up together and she gave a lot of milk.  I took her on long walks, sang to her as she grazed and we generally were pretty much best friends.  She gave us a calf each year and about 4 gallons of rich milk each day.  We had milk, cheese, butter and once, a milk bath to rival Cleopatra's.  I like an animal with which, if I have an argument, I have at least some chance of winning.  I don't want to work animals that are so big they can break me by mistake, just because they moved the wrong way when they didn't know I was right there.  why don't you just move to our neighborhood and milk my goats sometimes.  You'll be closer to the Django in Djune festival! 


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Online ArnaudForestier

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #20 on: April 01, 2014, 08:34:34 AM »
Tiarella, what a beautiful story - thank you. 

Goats - hahahah, I love these guys, absolutely love them - I find them to be the genius imps of the hooved world.  I gave serious thought to going this way, for many reasons.  But I love cows as well, and the kind of cheese that really drives me is cow's milk, alpine cheese.  The traditional way these cheeses are made, too, appeals to me so much (though I know many do amazing aged cheeses with goat's milk too!), so I'm pretty singularly on the cow's milk, alpine path.  If and when we get a farmstead, you bet there will be goats, too, as part of the family.  So long as we can sit down and talk out ground rules...no eating the car, no picking the lock and heading out for midnight strolls, etc.

DIJ...sadly, won't be there this year.  My playing has taken a necessary hiatus and I am moving on to other endeavours (ahem, involves milk, and crazy wheel-like things....!), but it's such a wonderful event.  If you can, I think the concerts this year at the week's end are going to be out of this world.  Would be nice to hear your report.  And if I can take a raincheck on milking your little animal partners...I'd love to visit and do just that sometime!  :)
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 08:42:47 AM by ArnaudForestier »
- Paul

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2014, 09:49:04 AM »
Just want to pass along a bit of wonderful serendipity (and synchronicity, it seems to me), Tiarella and others.  Just closed a conversation with a cheesemaker I respect immensely, who milks Jerseys.  He loves them for their milk composition, and has never had an issue with the milk fat.  He doesn't skim and like me, makes full fat, alpine cheeses.  So, very encouraging, as my only concern with the Jersey has always been a matter of managing the fat content, or my presumed issues with it.  I....uh, I know this is shallow....find Jerseys to be absolutely beautiful animals, and love watching them, er, be cows, doing cow things. :)
- Paul

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2014, 09:58:07 AM »
Tiarella, what a beautiful story - thank you. 

Goats - hahahah, I love these guys, absolutely love them - I find them to be the genius imps of the hooved world.  I gave serious thought to going this way, for many reasons.  But I love cows as well, and the kind of cheese that really drives me is cow's milk, alpine cheese.  The traditional way these cheeses are made, too, appeals to me so much (though I know many do amazing aged cheeses with goat's milk too!), so I'm pretty singularly on the cow's milk, alpine path.  If and when we get a farmstead, you bet there will be goats, too, as part of the family.  So long as we can sit down and talk out ground rules...no eating the car, no picking the lock and heading out for midnight strolls, etc.

DIJ...sadly, won't be there this year.  My playing has taken a necessary hiatus and I am moving on to other endeavours (ahem, involves milk, and crazy wheel-like things....!), but it's such a wonderful event.  If you can, I think the concerts this year at the week's end are going to be out of this world.  Would be nice to hear your report.  And if I can take a raincheck on milking your little animal partners...I'd love to visit and do just that sometime!  :)

I think my aged goat milk tommes are quite nice.....others seem to think so too.  I've had cheesemongers shocked that they are not cow's milk but I do love cows also.  Saw some cows recently and the thing that strikes me about them versus goats is the  manure.  I have gotten used to the nice little pellets and when at a farm recently, walking in the wet, sloppy bedding of cow manure I remembered how nice it is to have goats now.  There is less oder to cling to me when I leave the barn and less is clinging to my boots.  Pelleted fertilizer it is! 

Didn't Heidi of the alps have goats for making alpine cheese?  Just curious.  I'm switching to the Kinder breed of goats; a cross between Nubian (high solids in the milk, used to be a dual purpose breed but got a lot of the meatiness bred out of it) and Pygmy  (the meatier of the dwarf goats, also sweet, rich milk) .  I will get more milk for less sets of hooves if you know what I mean and I'll have fast growing meaty carcasses from the bucklings not needed for breeding.  They'll still be small enough that I can win any arguments although mostly I don't have arguments with livestock.....I prefer training them and seeing my requests through their eyes and instincts to work out routines that make sense to them. 

Yes, some other year come around the Django time and milk goats and go to concerts.  Nice combination.  A little wine with cheese under the arbor before leaving for the concert.  We do our best to be a little civilized around here once in a while!  Will attach a photo of said arbor and a video good for a smile.  Note, on the video when the baby goats disappear towards the camera it's because they've jumped into my lap.  Good thing my Jersey didn't do that.

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #23 on: April 01, 2014, 12:45:51 PM »
Tiarella, I've seen your tommes and they look out of this world.  I'm certain they taste so, too.  Aging goat's milk cheeses is something I just have zero experience with, managing the potential issues with short-chain fatty acids, etc.  But I know you have it down, as do many others (lots of goat folks in our area, too, Farmer's market loaded with wonderful goat's cheese).  Hear you on the manure thing.  I haven't quite gotten to embrace cow poop as "liquid gold," yet...and feel like such a city boy!  But I've fallen in love with a small herd of Ayrshires whose names I know, whose personalities I know (first time I met "Lola," she was literally bounding up to her farmer partners and my family, just like a dog), whose milk I die for...along with a very monomaniacal nature (I know, those two do not go together).  So if I can master one cheese, by one lineage, one tradition of making it, I'll feel content.   Anyway, it's cow's milk alpine for me....until further notice. ;D

OH MY GOD.  You're goats kill me!  By the way, adding to the zaniness is that for me anyway, the movie played upside down...!  So to see your sweet little comedians bounding around like, well, playful kids...and all upside down; laughed, hard, and thank you for the smile.  Goats always do that to me, and I do love them.  Except they're smarter than me.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2014, 12:56:01 PM by ArnaudForestier »
- Paul

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #24 on: April 01, 2014, 01:09:51 PM »
I hear you.  Cows it is for you!  My Jersey was definitely my best friend and I do love cows.  The farm I visited recently had a cross of Dutch Belted with Scottish Highland and their ears had such long hair on them that they looked like little girl pigtails, you know the kind that's high on the head?  It was such a cute look. 

Enjoy your Ayrshires!  Sorry the goat video was upside down.  I forget about that.  it's no upside down on my computer.  Oh, and as far as my tommes.......it truly is all just luck at this point.  Don't know if you saw the recent thread on which I opened 3 tommes and how one of them was full of blue.....   sometimes I'm less lucky than other times. 


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Online ArnaudForestier

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #25 on: April 01, 2014, 01:16:32 PM »
Hahahah - cracking up again, watching the vid.  There's a part where one of your - sorry, is it oberhasli? - gets all jiggy and goes oblique on top of the platform before jumping off and running into the shelter.  I don't know if I could even get any work done, as these guys would have me spellbound for hours....!

Blue - no, haven't checked your thread in awhile, will do that.  I've one "tomme cave" with 3 of the 4 wheels in there doing really well, very nice coat of mold that is falling back and changing color nicely, with linens starting to come on.  But the 4th, first time I put a tomme in my cave without any drying post-brine.  Add to that, it's a far moister make than I usually do, wanted to experiment with a very moist pate.  Blue is in several places, but in very tiny little specks.  I always used to go bananas at this, and treat the wheels, but have to say, Oude Kaas has been an inspiration.  I've seen some wheels in his NY cave(s) that were really wild looking, and the finished cheese looked like it came out beautifully well....so I'm leaving all of these alone and seeing what happens with competitive flora and cascading. 

Will check out your thread now...thanks for the heads up!
- Paul

Offline Tiarella

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #26 on: April 01, 2014, 01:35:51 PM »
Yeah.....if you'd seen the blue shag carpeting look on mine you wouldn't worry at all about specks! 

The goaties are really cute and a time distraction......they are Nigerian Dwarf so quite pocket sized.  I just walked up to the barn to check my ewes who are due to lamb any time.  Of course, since I was there I had to sit a while in the goat area and I got jumped on, nibbled on, and amused.  Hard to find anything wrong with sitting in the sun with goaties running and bouncing around.  Back to finalizing seed orders for the year......

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Re: Help me choose a cow breed - grazed; hard, alpine cheese.
« Reply #27 on: April 01, 2014, 01:52:27 PM »
Nice life you've made, Tiarella.  I do hope to visit at some point. :)
- Paul