When we hear the term “milk” we automatically think of cow's milk. This is not surprising, even the advertising shows us as children that the good Alpine milk for chocolate comes from cows.
Cow's milk was consumed in significantly smaller quantities in the past.
For thousands of years, goats have coexisted with humans as basic farm animals, and goat milk was of course consumed.
The goat was already a highly "useful" pet, especially back then; it didn't offer a lot of milk, but it always gave milk.
Even with the fawn, the goat produced enough milk for the fawn and the children.
Yes, milk was a precious, high-quality commodity at the time - and it was consumed in moderation.
Today, goat's milk is steadily regaining popularity as a delicious and well-tolerated alternative to traditional cow's milk products.
Especially in southern European countries, goat milk is still consumed more (than in Central Europe) and is an integral part of typical eating habits.
In all non-western countries in particular, the goat is the main source of milk. This can also be seen in the use of goat's milk products in the Mediterranean and Arabic kitchens.
In our latitudes, goat cheese and, for some years now, yoghurt and quark products made from goat's milk have been on the rise. And goat milk has also been officially approved in the EU as a basis for baby food since 2014.
If you ask “goat milk lovers”, the first thing that is often mentioned is the unmistakably spicy taste of goat's milk products. (If you ask the “goat milk non-lovers”, it is precisely this peculiarity that defines goat milk and that divides people's opinions. It is a very special taste). Our moms & dads, who applied for the great Töpfer “goat's milk porridge test” last year, also wrote in large numbers that they simply like the taste and like to eat goat's cheese as well.
The rumor that the goat's milk tastes like “goat” persists. But where does that come from? Milk quickly absorbs the surrounding smells. Thus, husbandry and the technology of milk production are important.
Did you know: fresh goat milk straight from the farm has hardly any “goat smell”.
The smell only gets stronger with the processing of the milk. So for everyone who has the chance to buy goat milk “fresh from the farm”: give it a try!
When the goats are out on the pasture, they eat fresh grass, plants, and occasionally some fresh twigs.
Then it's similar to cow's milk: depending on the menu, goat's milk tastes sour sometimes, and sweeter other times!
Special care is made to the quality of the feed when it comes to the organic goats that provide the organic milk for our goat milk infant food.
Feed mixtures that meet the EU organic standard and are free of genetically modified organisms are required.
Corn, beet pulp, flax, alfalfa, wheat bran, and other ingredients in the right proportions enable optimal nutrient content and, as a result, the finest milk quality.
But it's also exciting to see the word "compatibility" spoken often in relation to goat's milk.
When we ask our mothers, (who are the best people to inquire about their children's sensitive tummies), we repeatedly hear that goat milk products (milk, cheese, etc.) are used in the family instead of cow's milk, and that the baby's tummy prefers goat milk foods.
Goat milk appears to differ from other animal milk mostly in terms of digestion.
And surely not everyone who prefers goat's milk products shares the same "superstition," right?
Because goat's milk has fewer long-chain fatty acids than cow's milk, it is considerably easier for the human body to digest.
Protein composition varies as well, which contributes to better tolerance.
(See www.milch.info/milchsorten/ziegenmilch/ for more information.)
To put it in more “technical” terms: The protein profile of cow and goat milk shows clear differences. A closer look reveals that the distribution of the “protein types” distinguishes them from one another.
The protein αs1-casein (which can be viewed as an allergen) is less present in goat's milk, i.e. the concentration is lower than in cow's milk.
But be careful: despite this difference, goat's milk is not a proven alternative for people with an existing cow's milk allergy.
Please note that (fresh) goat milk and baby goat milk are not equivalent in this case.
Aside from the protein issue, the composition and properties of the two types of milk differ significantly in terms of fatty acids, carbs, and vitamins.
The proportion of fat in goat and cow milk is similarly high. The goat milk differs in the type of fatty acid composition. It contains more medium-chain fatty acids and fewer long-chain fatty acids than cow's milk.
Medium-chain fatty acids are faster and therefore easier to digest. In addition, the fat globules are smaller than those of the cow's milk, which also makes it easier to digest.
The linoleic acid content (which is found in a modified, or conjugated, form in animal fats) is also higher than in cow's milk.
Linoleic acid belongs to the group of essential fatty acids, i.e. it is a fatty acid that the human body needs but cannot produce itself. It is used for the formation of fat structures in tissues and the important eicosanoids (hormone-like substances that intervene in blood clotting and inflammation regulation).
These carbohydrates are very important for growing children as they need extra energy for healthy growth. Lactose makes up the majority of carbohydrates in mammalian milk.
Goat milk does contain a little less lactose than e.g. cow milk. However, it is not suitable for people who are lactose intolerant, as the lactose content is still relatively high.
We have already explained it above: goat's milk shows clear differences to cow's milk in the composition of the proteins.
In people with a cow's milk protein allergy, the immune system reacts to the αs1-casein protein in cow's milk.
This protein is only found in very small amounts in goat's milk. For the purpose of allergy prevention, it is therefore not a proven alternative to cow's milk.
Goat's milk contains significantly more vitamin D, but the folic acid and vitamin B12 levels, for example, are lower than in cow's milk.
You can read this in the table cow milk vs. goat milk (source: Ökolandbau)