Goat Milk Cheese

Livestock production in Uruguay has been characterized by sheep and cattle production although producers have sought new alternatives including the production of goat milk. In 1987 started the importation of specialized dairy breeds for raise them as purebred and also to make crosses with native goats (chivas) which were in some regions in semi-wild state.

The main imported breeds were: Anglo Nubian, Brown Alpine or French Alpine, Saanen and Toggenburg. The goat milk producers are concentrated in the southwest region of the country (approximately 16,000 km2), this region has a long dairy tradition. The milk is usually transported frozen to other facilities either for direct sales or for raw materials, and so it was possible to mantain the production of artisan cheeses continuously throughout the year (Ciappesoni, 2006).

In Uruguay, most producers of goat milk have small size dairy farms where most of the production goes to making cheese (70%) and the remaining part goes to direct consumption and goat feeding (Barberis 2002 cited by Grille et al. 2013). The goat farm is centralized in milk production, which is used mostly for making yogurt (natural, with fruits and low-fat) and various types of cheese (pure or mixed with cow’s milk, smoked, hard for grating, in olive oil, matured in wine, cream spreads, etc.). The meat is a by-product (Ciappesoni 2006).

The goat milk stands out because it has hypoallergenic properties. It also contains higher concentration of nutrients in relation to cow’s milk and it is affected by several factors, which include breed, stage of lactation, production level, management, environment and feeding (Haeinlen 2002; Grille et al. 2013). In a work of Ceballos et al. (2009), values of 3.36% capric acid in cow’s milk and 11.07% in goat’s milk under the same production conditions were obtained. While the proportion of fatty acids (FA) can be modified by feeding, animals (individual and lactating) and/or the environment.

In general studies focus on feeding seek for changes to a higher percentage of unsaturated FA.

It is recognized that milk has a pivotal role in cheese characteristics, as the fatty matter composition gives properties to cheeses (yield, texture, taste). It contains more FA that are involved in cheese flavor, with higher levels of acid butyric (C4), caproic (C6) caprylic (C8) and capric (C10) than cow’s milk (Oliszewski et al. 2002). Also towards human health, there are countries proposing methods to determine, for example atherogenic and thrombogenic indexes, which is useful in the application of nutritional value (Nhnez-Sanchez et al. 2016), since consumers are increasingly interested in these products. Even some European countries (e.g. France and The Netherlands) have introduced FA composition among the parameters considered to determine milk price and supported producers in the adaptation of compliant systems for feeding their animals (Coppa et al. 2014; Nhnes-Sanchez et al. 2016).

The medium chain FA have different properties from those of the long chain when metabolized by humans, especially caprylic and capric acids. This is mainly due to the tendency of these acids to provide energy and not to contribute to the formation of adipose tissue, as well as its ability to limit and dissolve deposits of serum cholesterol, which is related to a decrease in heart disease, cystic fibrosis and gallstones (Haenlein 2002; Grille et al. 2013).

The values obtained in the work of Grille et al. (2013), in goat milk from a herd of Saanen breed, were to capric acid (8.4%) 2 to 3 times greater than bovine milk. In this work it was confirmed that milk from Saanen breed goat has higher amounts in acids caproic (1.3%), caprylic (2%) and capric (8.4%) and low amounts of trans fatty acids (3.04 %) compared to those reported in cow’s milk, which results in health benefits for this milk compared with bovine.

For some time there has been a program of the Park of Agro industrial Activities (PAGRO) of the Municipality of Montevideo (IMM) that promotes goat farming in families whose young population is at health risk conditions in the rural area of

Montevideo. Currently in the PAGRO there is a herd of goats and it also operates a processing plant called Caprino Alto.

In the Uruguayan market are also available cheeses made with goat milk and acidic coagulation similar to Quark and other types (pure or mixed with cow milk, smoked, hard for grating, in olive oil, matured in wine, cream spreads, etc.).

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