Sunday, August 5, 2012

Local Goat Cheese from Baktis Family Farm

Baktis Goat Farm and Cheese Factory – Outside Aghia Nikolaos, along a road towards the sea, the Baktis family raises goats and sheep and produces excellent cheese. With two hundred goats and two hundred sheep, the family is busy year round, caring for and milking the animals and turning the milk into soft and hard cheese: mizithra and kefalograviera  (kefalotiri).
        About 80 percent of the animals are giving milk at any one time and each animal must be milked twice a day. This translates into hours of work moving goats and sheep from their pens into the modern milking room, settling them into position, attaching them to the milking machine, milking the animals, then detaching them and moving them back to their pens. When they are not in their pens or milking room, the sheep and goats are grazing on nearby hillsides.
        In the cheese room, milk is heated in stainless steel vats and when the correct temperature is reached, rennet is stirred in. As the milk cools, curds form. The curds are hand-packed into containers. These are the cheeses that will be aged in the aging room for several months, until they are ready to be sold. The whey is heated up again. More curds form and these are used to produce the soft white mizithra that is not aged, but sold as fresh cheese.  
        The Baktis goat farm and cheese factory is a popular destination for local school field trips. It is also open for individual tours.
        Cheese is for sale at the farm and also in Neapolis at Papoulis Supermarket and at Karayiannis Supermarket. Be sure to ask specifically for Baktis mizithra or Baktis kafalograviera.