6 Differences of Goat Milk and Cow Milk (Must Know!)

Milk is delicious, filling, and healthy. Your tasty cheese, butter, and yogurt, also some soap and cosmetic are made from milk. More than six billion people all around the world consume milk and milk products, and over 750 million people live in dairy farming households. Milk as the agricultural product also called dairy milk. It is extracted from livestock animals—cow, goat, sheep, even camel—during or soon after pregnancy.

Now, if we talk about milk, cow milk usually comes to our mind when thinking about what to put wet on the cereal and for making cheese, butter, yogurt ice cream, and other types of dairy products. But we can utilize goat milk to make dairy products mentioned as good as cow milk do. Both are good for our body and very versatile. However, some people might enjoy cow milk and despise goat milk, and vice versa. While some others might enjoy both the same. Yes, depends on our own preference. So, what makes ones different from the other? Here we will talk about some differences of goat milk and cow milk that you have to know. Stay tuned!

1. Appearance

The very first difference we might recognize is from the outside. Goats produce whiter milk, cream, and butter because they convert the carotene in their diet to vitamin A more efficiently than cows do. The classic yellow hue in butter made from goat milk usually comes from annatto (cheese coloring) that adding color back in during processing.

2. Taste

If you have tasted both goat milk and cow milk, can you distinguish the difference? Because interestingly, some said raw fresh goat milk might tastes very similar to raw cow milk. But the taste of both goat milk and cow milk actually depend on processing and handling of the milk as well as the diet of the animals.

Often, goat milk is said to have a stronger flavor than cow milk and that may take some time to get used to. Especially for those who drink goat milk for the first time. Moreover, mass-produced goat milk sold in most stores usually has “goaty” taste due to different methods of processing, packaging, and pasteurization. Though for some, that distinctive taste is the reason to choose goat milk products; for others, it is a reason to choose cow milk! Talk about preference, right.

3. Nutrition

Most of us think that there will be a big difference in the nutritional contents of goat milk and cow milk. Turn out, both have almost the same nutrition content, with more or less number. Cow milk contains higher protein, fat, calories, sugars, saturated fatty acids, and monounsaturated fatty acids. While goat milk contains more calcium, iron, vitamin B1, vitamin A, riboflavin, and potassium. This composition also varies depending on the animal’s breed, diet, environment, also point in the lactation period.

But take note that goat milk is naturally homogenized because it does not contain agglutinin, the compound that enables the globules to cluster and rise to the top. A cream separator is required to get goat cream. Due to the easiness of separating the cream from the milk, cow milk usually more preferred when making butter, sour cream, and similar items.

4. Digestion

Goat milk has higher levels of short- and medium-chain fatty acids, likewise smaller fat globules making easier digestion process as well as producing quicker energy. In addition, goat milk often recommended for people with mild lactose intolerant because it contains less lactose—the sugars inside milk—than cow milk. Many people prefer goat milk for these reasons. Though, we suggest you consult with your nearer health care practitioners first. Chance are you might also have an allergy to goat milk if you are allergic to cow milk.

While both goat milk and cow milk contain almost the same nutritional contents, goat milk considered better for digestion and absorption of nutrients. Here we have more about why goat milk is good for you.

5. Culturing

Do you know that it takes five to ten goats to have the equal production of one cow? Which, of course, because of the good treatment for our dairy cow as well. Due to the large volume of easily accessible cream contained in it, cow milk is the main choice for making cream-based cultured dairy products such as cultured buttermilk and sour cream. But fermented products, like yogurt, kefir, koumiss, cheese, and others can be made with either cow or goat milk. Which milk to use depend on what you want to make, too. For example, goat milk is more preferable in making kefir. While some reasons are already mentioned before (less allergenic, easier to digest, lower lactose, naturally homogenized, and higher minerals), goat milk has more prebiotics and can stay creamy. 

6. Cheesemaking

The last point from the difference of goat milk and cow milk specialize for the cheese lovers out there. Generally, goat milk and cow milk can be used interchangeably to make most cheeses. But again, depending on the type of cheese, one milk can be more fitting over another. The choices are based on the size and amount of butterfat globules in the milk, also the particular flavor of the finished cheese. The different components within the different cow and goat breeds, making milk from the specific breed are more suitable for certain kinds of cheeses.

Milk with the largest fat globules is preferred for soft and semi-soft cheeses, whereas milk with smaller fat globules is best-loved for sharper, aged and harder cheeses. However, we want to mention the notable exception of chèvre, the popular soft goat cheese with a distinctive flavor and creamy texture. Better decide what kind of cheese you want before choosing on which milk. If you’ve decided on goat milk, you can check some dairy goat breeds to consider for your farm here. Or please check on this one if you prefer having dairy cows more.

So, which one do you prefer?