We have so much goat's milk, that I'm having to find new ways to preserve it (in the form of other things). I'm making quite a bit of cheese, but I don't have a cheese press built yet and there's only so much soft cheese we can eat. I also plan to use some of it for soap, but the volume of milk that goes into a batch of soap is actually quite small. Today, because I had a really huge excess to deal with, I tried my hand at a batch of cajeta.
Cajeta is a traditional Mexican caramel made with goat's milk. It can be cooked down to a sauce, a bit longer for a spread or even longer for a candy. I chose to cook mine to a sauce to be used on ice cream, cakes or as a dip for apples or cookies. I will pack it into half pint jars to store, and will probably give a few away to friends and family too. If you find yourself with a lot of milk, give this a try! (I understand you can also make this with cow's milk, if that's what's available to you.)
3 quarts of fresh goat's milk
3 cups sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
optional flavoring - I used 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Some people use vanilla beans, some use cinnamon, or you can use what you like. Or leave it out altogether
Mix baking soda and cornstarch into one cup of the milk, whisking well to break up any lumps. Combine this mixture with the rest of the milk and the sugar in a large pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring very frequently to prevent scorching. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer. Cook mixture at a constant simmer, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking/scorching (you don't have to stir constantly at this stage, but keep a pretty close eye on it). This will cook for a rather long time. Mine took about three hours from start to finish. Nothing will happen for a long time, and then eventually the volume will reduce, the mixture will start to darken into a golden color, and it will gradually thicken. Continue cooking until it reaches the consistency you want, keeping in mind that it will thicken further after cooling. If after cooling it is too thick, you can add hot water a tablespoon or so at a time until it reaches the proper thickness. If it is still too thin, simply put it back on the heat and cook it some more. The picture above is what mine looked like when finished.
Once it is to your liking, pour into clean jars and seal. Store in the refrigerator and use as desired.*
* I'm looking into whether it is possible to can this so it can be stored on the shelf. If anyone knows, please, do tell!