There are so many reasons to make Tzatziki now. Its so easy to make, goes with all sorts of meat, as a dip with anything, with a salad or on some warm sourdough bread. Tzatziki or Cacik as it is also called, is a type of Turkish dip or meze served widely in the Mediterranean and Middle East because it works so well with spicy food. It is basically a cold yogurt dish with chopped-up cucumber or other vegetables.
When you do a search for Tzatziki recipes one of the most commonly searched recipes is Slimming World Tzatziki recipes, which I cant imagine taste that good, because they recommend fat free Greek yogurt and say that the Tzatziki is syn free!
Our sheep’s milk yogurt, unlike today’s Greek yogurt (which is now made from cow’s milk) has nothing added or nothing strained away. So Velvet Cloud sheep’s milk yogurt has undergone no processing, but it is is still high in protein (5.3 g / 100g), so it is officially a high protein yogurt, and it makes the most wonderful creamy Tzatziki. I got the idea for this blog post from the well known nutritionist Gaye Godkin https://www.gayegodkin.ie/ . Gaye recommends Velvet Cloud sheep’s milk yogurt to many of her clients. She herself says she is cow dairy intolerant but eats Velvet Cloud every day, these are her words not ours “The great news is…if you cannot tolerate dairy from cow and goat, chances are you’ll be fine with this sheep’s product. I haven’t eaten cow’s or goats produce for over 30 years, but I can tolerate this. This product is the only yogurt that is not homogenised. IT CONTAINS ONLY SHEEP’S MILK AND LIVE CULTURES. No other yogurt in Ireland is like it.”
Gaye’s Sheep’s Yogurt Tzatziki Recipe
1 Pot of Velvet Cloud, 1 peeled and grated cucumber leave to rest then squeeze the water out of it before mixing with the yogurt add a squeeze of lemon and salt and pepper and an optional 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
The Flanagan Family’s Sheep’s Yogurt Tzatziki Recipe
We do as above but add two cloves of crushed garlic, and if we are serving with fish we also add chopped dill or the finely tops of fennel.
I have been doing a lot of research on how to get the word out about the fact that you can now buy our sheep’s milk yogurt on line, I’ve come across some cool tools that tell you what questions people have been searching for online around sheep’s milk so I am going to answer some of them here.
Is sheep’s milk lactose free ? / Does sheep milk have lactose ?/ Sheep’s
Milk and Lactose Intolerance
No sheep’s milk is not lactose free it is still a dairy product, but it has a different make up to cow’s milk. For example it has a different protein structure and it has a different proportion of polar lipids compared to cows milk. Sheep’s milk is also naturally homogenised which means the fat globules are not mechanically broken up before it is sold, which would be norm for commercially available cows milk which is homogenised (processed to mechanically break up the fat) before it goes on sale. Sheep milk also contain a higher quantity of medium/short chain saturated fatty acids and it is believed that this leads to higher lactose absorption which may be of benefit for those who are lactose intolerant.
Does Sheep’s Milk Have Casein?
Yes, there is casein in sheep
milk, but not in the
same form as cow milk. Sheep dairy contain much less or
no A1 beta-casein; instead, they
mostly contain the more
easily digestible A2 beta-casein, which is a big
part of the reason some people say its healthier.
Is sheep’s milk
See the answer to the above
two. Yes, it is dairy but a different delicious dairy alternative. Unlike other
dairy alternatives it doesn’t have long
list of ingredients, hasn’t been processed and our Irish sheep’s milk yogurt
has a low carbon footprint than the alternatives like almond, soy or coconut
which are not grown in Ireland.
Where to buy
milk/ Sheep’s milk near me/ Sheep’s Milk For Sale/Sheep’s Milk To Buy
The good news is you can buy our Velvet Cloud sheep’s milk yogurt here on line, or there is a complete list of stockists also on our website, and we will have our sheep’s milk cheese coming soon.
What Does Sheep’s
Milk Taste Like ?
Because of the make up of sheep’s milk it has a mild slightly naturally sweet creamy taste. It in NO WAY tastes or smells like sheep!!
Who Drinks Sheep’s Milk
I can’t give you a statistically accurate answer to this one, but I can only tell you who the customers for Velvet Cloud Sheep’s Milk yogurt are. The majority of consumers who are buying our sheep’s milk yogurt tell us they feel they are sensitive to cow dairy. They may just not like cow dairy, or in more cases they feel they are, or they have been diagnosed with some sort of inflammation. For example many of our customers tell us they have IBS, or they have a digestive issue, or they are recovering from some sort of illness or been on a course of antibiotics. We also have consumers who love to cook and have seen Velvet Cloud sheep’s yogurt on the menus of restaurants around Ireland, these people usually have a love of natural products, and are particularly keen to source products from small local artisan producers, where they know exactly who and where the food comes from.
Sheep’s Milk Versus Cow’s Milk
Sheep milk presents an attractive nutritional and health-promoting
food source due to its high- mineral and -protein contents compared to milk
from other lactating species such as cow and goat. The macrominerals Ca, P, Na,
and Mg are reported to be present in sheep milk at much higher levels compared
to cow and goat milks. In particular, sheep milk contains approximately 36%
more calcium than cow milk and 31% more than goat milk. ( Jade Chia,
… Alaa El-Din A. Bekhit, in Nutrients
in Dairy and their Implications on Health and Disease, 2017)
It is a completely natural product with NOTHING added and NOTHING stained away and is suitable for many who may find they are sensitive to cow dairy.
In light of the current difficult climate for many of our most loyal customers, who may be unable to visit their usual stockists, Velvet Cloud have an online delivery service direct to consumers homes. We will deliver 6 x 450g pots of our fresh sheep’s milk yogurt, made on our family farm, via courier for €30, shelf life at least 21 days. Currently customers can phone, email, send a direct message on social media or order on the shop here. a
Another one of the very common questions we get asked. What
does sheep’s milk taste like? The answer
is mild and creamy with a slightly natural sweet taste. We’ve observed that people
think that sheep’s milk is going to taste a bit like goats milk or they are afraid
that sheep’s milk might taste “sheepy” or taste like the smell of sheep. 100%
of the time when we get people to taste our Velvet Cloud sheep’s milk yogurt or
our sheep’s milk, they are always pleasantly surprised. The reason sheep’s milk
tastes creamy and naturally sweet is because it is naturally homogenised, this
means that the little fat globules in the sheep’s milk are so small that they
float around naturally in the milk giving it that creamy taste. Because the fat
molecules in cow’s milk are larger than those in sheep’s milk they don’t float
around naturally but separate out of the milk and rise to the top. This is why
when I was a child the cream of the milk would rise to the top of the milk
bottles, and if you didn’t bring in the milk quickly after the milk man had
left it on your door step, the birds would come and peck holes in the tops of
the bottles to drink the cream. However now a days commercial cows milk is mechanically
homogenised, in other words it is mechanically processed so the fat globules are broken up and therefore don’t rise to the
top of the milk, but with sheep’s milk we don’t have to do any processing because
it is already naturally homogenised, giving you that lovely creamy taste “like
milk used to taste” is a very common reaction we get when giving out tastings.
Sheep milk’s protein is more readily digested and its fats are more readily converted into energy compared to cow milk, a New Zealand study has shown. The milk’s unique composition could make it a good option for the very young and the elderly, sports nutrition, and people who are looking for alternatives to cow’s milk, researchers say.
Scientists from the University of Auckland-based Liggins Institute and the Crown Research Institute AgResearch ran the clinical trial.
The participants, 30 women who normally avoided drinking dairy, consumed 650 mL of either cow milk or sheep milk on two separate occasions. Afterwards, the women reported on their digestive comfort, appetite and liking, and provided breath and blood samples. During the trial neither the women nor the researchers knew who was drinking what at the time.
Study co-lead Dr Amber Milan, a research fellow at the Liggins Institute and researcher for AgResearch, says, “We already knew that sheep milk is different from cow milk. It has more nutrients per glass: more protein, fat, vitamins and minerals. For example, sheep milk has almost twice the level of calcium and zinc, compared to cow milk.
“What our trial has shown is that New Zealand sheep milk is not just compositionally different to cows milk, but has inherent properties which means we digest it differently,” says Dr Milan.
“We have, for the first time, confirmed that the protein in sheep milk is more readily digested compared to cow milk. Sheep milk delivered more of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, valine and isoleucine than cow milk. Amino acids are building blocks for protein, and these kinds are important for forming muscle protein.
The higher total fat levels do not produce a higher spike in blood triglycerides, probably due to the different types of fat in sheep milk. Sheep milk delivered more of some so-called ‘good fats’ (medium-chain fatty acids and conjugated linoleic acid, or CLA) than cow milk.
The renowned chef Jp McMahon is a great supporter of Irish artisan products and uses Velvet Cloud in all three of his restaurants. In today’s The Irish Times magazine (150619) he gives us a shout out and shares some great ideas for using yogurt. As well as the usual straight out of the pot or with granola he asks us to consider it as a summer sauce for fish.
Here at home we use Velvet Cloud all the time on the side with baked salmon or breaded haddock or as a clean but creamy salad dressing.
JP sometimes seasons it with rapeseed oil and sea-salt to match some grilled langoustines, or gently smoked to pair with some couscous as a tapa.
To smoke yogurt you can buy a small camp smoker online or just use smoked seal salt if your stuck !
Yogurt and herbs work well together, JP suggests adding some chopped fennel or dill and serving with grilled lamb chops. A diced cucumber will also give the sauce a refreshing zing.
Finally some frozen yogurt. 500g yogurt 100 ml whipped cream and 125g honey (our favourite is Sliabh Aughty Honey & Natural Irish Skincare). Fold all together & freeze, whisking the mixture every hour until its smooth & frozen (or use and ice-cream machine if you have one)
It seems a bit mad that I am only putting
up our first blog post three years into setting up our business. But if any of
you are involved in or know anyone involved in a small start up business you
know how hard it is to juggle everything, so blogging had to take a back seat
to, the more serious matters or making sheep’s yogurt and cheese, selling it
and keeping up with customer enquiries and trying to build awareness, never
mind the small matter of raising a family of four kids!
It’s clear however from reading all the best practice on how
to build awareness on line that the more information you give you customers on
line, the greater the chance that they will find you on line and hopefully
convert to a customer. So my first blog
post is going to be a summary of the most common questions we get asked and the
answers we give to those questions. In future blog posts I’ll write more about
the daily grind of a small food business and some of our highs and lows.
HOW DO YOU MILK A SHEEP?
We honestly get asked this all the time, for some reason
people seem a bit embarrassed when they ask this, as if it’s a stupid question.
It’s not, so much so we actually say on our pack of yogurt, “If you want to know how do you milk a sheep,
we’d love to hear from you”. We milk our sheep exactly as cows are milked
nowadays i.e. with a milking machine. The only difference is the machines are
smaller and a sheep has two teats on her udder instead of four teats which a
WHAT DOES SHEEP’S MILK TASTE LIKE?
After the “how do you milk a sheep” question, this is the next most common question. Some people don’t even ask the question they just make what we call “The Sheep Face” when we ask them would they like to try a sample. We think this is because people think there is going to be a strong taste and or aroma similar to that which you get from goat’s milk products. Or people who have grown up on or near sheep farms think it will taste like “the smell” of sheep!. 99.9999 % of the time if we can convince someone to taste they are ALWAYS really surprised at how creamy and mild it is.
IS SHEEP’S MILK GOOD FOR YOU?
There are links to scientific papers and lots more
information on the home page of this website, but the summary is:
Sheep’s milk is higher in solid content than cows’ milk,
which makes it thicker and creamier.
Sheep’s milk has a higher levels of many nutrients see our home page for more details
Sheep’s milk is naturally homogenised, this means that the
fat globules are naturally floating around in the milk. We don’t have to
mechanically homogenise (i.e. break up the fat globules) in our sheep’s milk
before using it. However most of the cow’s milk you find on supermarket shelves
must be mechanically homogenised before its bottled, because the manufacturers
don’t want the cream separating out from the milk.
Velvet Cloud sheep’s milk products come from sheep, who are
raised on grass, they graze on grass and clover pastures, in the unpolluted
fields of Co. Mayo.
Velvet Cloud Sheep’ milk yogurt has NOTHING ADDED and NOTHING STRAINED away. It is unusual nowadays to find yogurt on a supermarket shelf that hasn’t been made from homogenised milk, strained or had a thickener or a sweetener of some sort added to it.
Velvet Cloud Sheep’s milk yogurt has four LIVE cultures in it. These four cultures are :
Velvet Cloud Sheep’s milk yogurt and cheese have unusually high levels of heart healthy monounsaturated fats. This is according to the Department of Biological Sciences, in University College Limerick who have tested our milk and yogurt.
WHERE CAN I BUY SHEEP’S MILK YOGURT, SHEEP’S MILK CHEESE?
There is a list of both yogurt and cheese stockists here on
this website, we sell directly to these stores. You can also buy our products
on line from Ardkeen Food Stores along with a range of other fabulous food
producers. We also sell to a distributor
who then sells on to health food stores all around Ireland, so if you can’t
find us in your local store and have a health food store near you ask them to
order it in for you. You can tell them it is stocked by the distributor Irish
Independent Health Foods and there should be no problem getting it in for you.
WHY IS VELVET CLOUD NOT AVAILABLE IN MY LOCAL STORE?
We often get asked why can’t you sell it in our local shop,
or how come it’s not available in this area/shop. As a small business selling
chilled product, distribution (i.e. getting the product into shops) is our
greatest challenge. We have to drive around in our own chilled van or pay
someone (our distributor) to this for us.
If a shop is not on our delivery route or is hundreds of kilometres from
us here in Mayo it is often not commercially viable for us to send a van to
that shop. The diesel would cost more than the sales to the shop, not to
mention the time. As we grow, we are hoping that some of the large retailers in
Ireland will buy from us under what is called central distribution. This means
that we will deliver to one depot and the retailer will do the distribution.