Nieuwebildtdijk – Goat milk and goat cheese is ‘in’. The consumer asks for it more often. The number of goats being held in our country increases annually. In Fryslân it concerns a number of about 10.000, which means an increase of 25% compared to the year 2000. There is soft and semi-hard goat cheese. De Molkerei at the Nieuwebildtdijk makes soft goat cheese. And how. It is claimed that it is the best of Fryslân, yes even the best of all of the Netherlands. Of course De Molkerei does not deny that.
The best goat cheese of the Netherlands
You have to have guts to dare to claim this. When we confront owner Els Hartog with this she smiles kindly. ‘Since 2000 we may call our cheese the best. We joined the annual Day of the Sheep and Goat. The judge was very impressed with our cheese and he pecked it out as best.’ How do you achieve this? Experimenting for a long time? A matter of luck? Els explains how one and other was accomplished. ‘It all started with 1 goat, which I bought for fun, for my children. Yes, and once you buy a goat, you have to milk her. And when you have milk, you can make something with it. I studied how to make cheese by yourself and one thing lead to another.’
Dutch white goat
After the first goat more were purchased, until at a given moment it turned out to be a lot of work. The cheese factory stayed, but the goats were sold to the nationally known milk goat farmer and breeder Klaas Sjoerd Meekma in Deinum. A 1000 goats are milked there daily. This concerns the so-called Dutch white goat, popularly known as the Zaanse goat. This breed originated from a cross between a Landrace goat and a Saanen goat and has a high milk production. She gives between 3 and 5 litre milk a day.
Top week of 14.000 litre
De Molkerei gets their milk from there for the cheese factory. How does cheese making work? Els: ‘First the raw milk is being stored in the cooling tank, after that it is being produced as soon as possible. After it is pasteurized carefully, rennet is being added. We create a traditional structure by scooping the curd into the cheese mould by hand, after which it is being turned minimally twice a week. By hand again. After that the soft goat cheese gets three days time to ripen and to come to taste. We don’t use any colourings or flavourings and no preservatives. After the ripening process the cheeses are packed in glass jars and transparent tubs and topped with pure sunflower oil. After that they are preservable for approximately a half year. Per cheese we use 0,7 litre milk. On average we process 5000 litre per week. Once we had a top week of 14000 litre.’
Wow, 14000 litre…. How many people actually work here? Els: ‘we have a permanent staff of twelve, in addition we do sometimes rely on flex workers.’ At De Molkerei it all started with pure goat cheese, so no additives. But soon Els, who also loves snacks, started experimenting with herbs. Goat cheese with chive, nettle, ramson and onion/garlic belong to the thirteen types she makes now. Remarkable are the types with a Greek, Italian and Mexican melange. And then there is also the goat cheese with pesto and tapenade. That sounds neither Dutch, nor Frisian nor Bildts. But it is tasty. In order to give the total range a regional flavour, Els now produces goat cheese with seaweed. This seaweed doesn’t come from the Waddenzee, but nevertheless. However, there are people who believe to subtly taste the salt of the sea after having a bite of the natural goat cheese of De Molkerei. De Molkerei is indeed situated close to the Wad and that is why, so they reason. You can take this with a grain of salt, because the milk really comes all the way from Deinum.
Bildts / Frisian tapas
The young Bildts (or should we say Frisian?) goat cheese turned out to be also suitable for the processing of Spanish delicacies. This happens in Sint Annaparochie. There tapas snacks such as filled baby peppers, red peppers, apricots, dates, figs, ham rolls etcetera are being made. These products are mainly delivered, through wholesalers, to the hotel and catering industry and specialists both home and abroad. (Belgium, France and United Kingdom). In our country they are for sale in country stores and farm shops. Among the regular customers in Fryslân are among others Landgoed Lauswolt in Beetsterzwaag and Tjaarda in Oranjewoud.
So, De Molkerei is doing well. Is it not too busy? Els smiles kindly again. ‘No’, she says with a twinkle in her eyes. ‘I am even thinking about expanding. I am considering to move the cheese factory to Sint Annaparochie, then everything is pretty close together. The demand for products made of goat cheese continues to rise. No wonder, goat milk is easy to digest, contains less allergy inducing substances than cow milk and also leads to less mucus. It also contains more vitamin A and D than cow milk. With this you can produce a tasteful cheese of good quality and other products. The more people can enjoy them, the better.’ It is obvious that Els also enjoys it. She looks fit, full of energy and conducts her activities with passion. She must drink lots of goat milk.
Bron: Friesland Post