How My Baking Career Began


My dear mother taught me much about baking, when I was a kid.  Thanks Mom for your love and patience and willingness to teach.

mom at piano

Mom’s Mom had been a restaurant cook and at one point owned her own restaurant.  She would have taught my mom in the art of cooking and baking.

I grew up on the farm, as did my dear mother.  On the family farm, people work very hard.  Because of this hard work, our bodies required much good wholesome food.

Mom made several batches of her famous white bread by the washtub full. per week.  It is some of the best bread I’ve ever eaten.  We’d often come in the house after a long day’s work, to the smell of hot bread and hot cinnamon rolls.  One or two loaves of hot bread with butter and the cinnamon rolls would be eaten by the family right away.  Mom taught me her scratch recipe for the bread and showed me how to make cinnamon rolls.

My parents gave me us a tradition for holidays.  Us girls and Mom would cook the feast. This was some of the times when Mom would teach us how to cook and bake.  The meal consisted of:

  • pie (apple, pumpkin and pecan with homemade pie crust) [Dad taught us that pecan is pronounced pucon, and no peecan]
  • rolls (crescent  and Parker House rolls) [not to confuse the crescent roll with the boughten croissant in the bakery where I work…                different type of dough altogether]
  • mashed potatoes and gravy, with veggies
  • turkey
  • Mom’s famous deviled eggs (NOTE:  Our deviled eggs were part of our main meal course.  They were not ‘finger food’.)


Parker House
CI-0103Classic Deviled Eggs
Deviled Eggs


Another part of the tradition for holiday meals was to invite one or two single people who had no place to go for the holidays.  After the meal, we would visit as a family (family togetherness) and friends.  We would often play and sing country music using piano, guitar and fiddle for the instruments.  This was a memory I will always remember.

You many have guessed it.  Mom was a professional musician and also wrote songs.  At one point Mom had the opportunity to play piano for the Queen of England, auditioning out of 300 groups.  That was quite an honor for her.  She had the opportunity to go out on the road as a professional musician, but turned down that opportunity. Why, because she wanted to devote her time to her beloved family.  Part of this devotion time was her love of baking and providing three wonderful meals per day for her family.

In another post, I’ll share some of the recipes and ways of making Mom’s rolls and bread.

Another thing that Mom taught me is a quick way of molding tight beautiful bread loaves.  Her way is so fast that its uncanny.  In another post, I’ll attempt to describe how Mom loafed up the loaves.  To show how fast Mom’s system of shaping a loaf is, I’ll relate a story from the commercial bakery where I worked.  My supervisor had been gone on holidays for a few days.  We had white and wheat scratch made bread on sale.  We were baking about 25 loaves of each at a time.

My boss: Why didn’t you save time and set up the sheeter to from the loaves?

My response: I could loaf up the loaves or at least half of them with Mom’s method, in time it takes to set up the machine.

The type of baking that my dear Mother taught me was purely scratch baking. We didn’t use bake-off foods or mixes.  It was right from the pure recipe, just like Grandma did the recipes.

While I was a kid, I had no idea that I would spend 14 years as a commercial baker at a grocery store in northern Utah, learning the art of commercial baking from one of the best commercial scratch bakers in this area.

Baking On My Own

After I got out on my own, moving away from my parents home, I used to take a day to bake.  Loved doing it. What did I make?

  • donuts in my teeny deep fat fryer
  • home made scratch cinnamon rolls
  • pies
  • jams and jellies
  • bread and rolls

Little did I know that this would further shape my enjoyment of baking.  Later in life when I moved back to the United States, I actually got a job in a commercial bakery.  The skills I had learned cooking and baking with my dear mother and on my own would give me the basis for this career.

Commercial Baking

The employment that I obtained when I moved to Utah was in the scratch bakery at Allens Super Save in Springville.  My supervisor, Kyle, was the next awesome baking trainer that I had.  He knows his stuff and was always willing to answer the hows, whens, whys and whats of baking.  So my fourteen years training in a commercial bakery began.

While working at the scratch bakery at Allens, I not only was the Assistant Baker, but also handled the updates etc for the bakery computer file.  That is no small task, to keep up with that.  Part of the reason why I loved doing the computer file and helping our girls with computer glitches, is due to my former experience and employment.  For many years, I was a certified bookkeeper and income tax preparer, Supervisor, as well as office manager and Office Administrative Support.  I love office work as much as I do baking.

Lets get on with a few basics of baking that I learned ….




Nothern Dawn Herd Begun


Introducing the Northern Dawn Nigerians Herd of dairy goats.

Our herd resides in Northern Utah, nestled in the foothills of the Wasatch Front.  The goats and our horses don’t have to worry about extremely harsh winters, but they do still get winter weather.  For instance, this morning we I woke up to around 4 inches of snow.  Its still snowing.

Our Herd

Our herd consists currently mainly of Nigerian Dwarf. Mini Nubian and one full-blood Nubian.  We chose these breeds primarily because Peggy grew up with Jersey and Guernsey milk cows.  I. Peggy, love the butterfat and creamy milk from those cows.

Ok, so why choose these three breeds for our herd?  All three breeds give that nice creamy milk taste that we love.

Herd Beginnings

Our herd began with two grade (unregistered) Nigerian Dwarf does and one Registered doe.  They are pictured below.

  • Northern Dawn Ethel, registered as a Recorded Grade Nigerian Dwarf with International Dairy Goat Registry was our first dairy goat.
Ethel is the matriarch of our Grade Nigerian Dwarf part of the herd. Love this old lady.
Look at the rear udder on this doe.  It is amazing.








About Ethel

This sweet little lady was one tremendous animal.  She kids so easy that if you blink, you miss the birth.  On her second freshening I thought I’d put on rubber gloves.  Well, I laughed at myself as I threw the gloves on the ground without putting them on.  Ethel’s first kid fell onto my feet before I could hardly blink.  I could see there was no time for gloves!  On her third kidding, she gave birth to five kids.  Between second and third kids, they came so close together that I was drying off number two when number three arrived.  I told her, “Ethel, my girl, now you just have to slow down to give me a chance to catch up!”  She and I loved to joke about this.

The udder attachments on this gal were tremendous.  Very high and tightly attached, with long very milkable teats.  Just what we want in a dairy goat.  As seen in the photo above, her udder is also very capacious.  Once in a goat show Ethel was shown with a registered purebred doe.  The judge commented, I wish we could put Ethel’s udder on the other doe.

  • Shadow Hills Thumbolina is an International Dairy Goat Registry recorded Grade doe.

About Thumbolina

Thumbolina is one of the daughters of Ethel.  She, like her dam kids super easy and is extremely easy to milk.

  • Bluestone HD Lil’ Lucy is an American Goat Society registered purebred Nigerian Dwarf. She was our third addition to our herd.  Lucy is one of the main matriarchs of our purebred part of our herd.
Bluestone HD Lil’ Lucy
Lucy’s rear udder

About Lucy

My Lucy has a very sweet, yet shy personality.  Her udder is so very soft, and is highly attached.  Lucy’s top butterfat is recorded at 14%, which is pretty high.

This little gal, small though she is, is the dam of some of our great does.  Her son Northern Dawn Apache took Grand Champion in two American Goat Society shows.  Pictured below.

Northern Dawn Apache

Another of Lucy’s children is Northern Dawn Lil’ Columbine.  She is an amazing doe.  Her udder is very well attached in all ways, and has long easily milkable teats.  Columbine is a doe who just milks and milks non-stop, with nice amount.




Northern Dawn Lil’ Columbine
  •  Mac Donald’s Farm Cocoa AR*D was next to join our herd.  She is an American Goat Society purebred Nigerian Dwarf.


About Cocoa

Cocoa was our next gal to join our herd.  She too is just amazing.  On her second freshening, she gave 4.3 pounds milk.  That is exactly half a gallon.

Her teats are some of the longest in the herd and super easy to milk.  I love how her udder milks down to nothing, after being milked. That is something that is vital in a good dairy goat.

Cocoa is a little gal who will just keep milking as long as you want to milk her.

Cocoa’s daughter Fern is proving to be just as good of a dairy goat.

And Thus…

The Northern Dawn herd was begun



Milking Intervals

Does Milking Once a Day (OAD) affect milk production?

We believe that milking once a day drastically reduces milk production and can even force does to dry up.  In fact, that can be one of the ways to start the dry off period of does and cows.   One article we read from where the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta is listed as one of the sources of an article entitled


Says some very interesting things about Once a day (OAD) milking versus twice a day (TAD) or Three times per day milking.  I will quote from the above article, so I get it right.  I will also bold and place the parts that I want to highlight in Green, that I want to concentrate on.


Regular and complete milking is one of the requirements for continuance of lactation. The effect of changes in milking frequency on milk yield  varies widely between individual species (Davis et al ., 1999). Reducing milking frequency from 2x daily milking to 1x daily milking decreased milk yield from 7 to 38% in dairy cows (Stelwagen and Knight, 1997), 15 to 48% in ewes (Negrao et al. , 2001),  6 to 35% in dairy goat  (Capote et al., 1999) and increased the rate of loss of udder tissue (Carruthers et al. , 1993). However increasing milking frequency from 2x to 3x increased milk yield by 7 to 20% (Stelwagen, 2001). The mechanisms responsible for the increase in milk yield have not been identified but some researches suggest an increase in mammary epithelial cell (MEC) number (Hale et al ., 2003), reduction in MEC apoptosi” …

In another part of the article it says,



“The milk yield for 1x, 2x and 3x daily milking were 181.5, 322.2 and 334.8 mL/day/ goat respectively. The analysis of the results (table IV) showed that milking frequency had significant effect on daily milk yield.  The milk yield for 1x daily milking (181.5 mL/day) was  significantly lower by 43.67% and 45.79

It sounds like the study was done at least partly on the West African Dwarf goats, which are the ancestors of our United States Nigerian Dwarf Dairy goats.  We can see that milk production, from this study (and my own experience does greatly reduce milk production.  It can even make does dry up when the cold of the winter is upon us.

Another Article on going to Once A Day milking

This article says that once a day milking is a viable option for a busy schedule.  In many situations it probably is, if a person isn’t looking for high milk production or trying to prove that their herd can produce high milk production with good butterfat.

My Experience

In my experience and from that of the article from where the University in Nigerian are a source, milking once a day does greatly diminish the production.  Butterfat will go up, however, so cheese outputs aren’t diminished too much with Once A Day Milking (OAD).  However, if we want milk production with good butterfat yield as well, I personally feel that we need to milk at least twice a day, faithfully and have regular milking intervals.  At the same time, that is not always possible, as in my case with my employment.  So sometimes a person has to do what they can do.

I have a neighbor who says that dairy goats milk on a supply and demand basis. She means the more that we demand of them, the more they milk. I believe that is true.  A few years ago I tried 3 times a day milking on a few does and production did go up markedly.  Perhaps the reason is due the reduction of the epithelial cell production due to once a day milk interval, as suggested in the article from Nigeria.  This is further substantiated by another article.  This article suggests a few things:

  1. “ability of ruminant mammary glands to produce milk is determined by the number of cells secreting milk and their level of activity”
  2. “Changes in the number of cells in the udder occur during lactation.”
  3. “decline in milk production after peak lactation appears to be due to a gradual reduction in the number of milk-secreting cells”
  4. “Other factors are also known to modify cell turnover in the udder”
  • reproductive status
  • growth hormone treatment
  • milking frequency
  • nutrition”

Should you go to Once A Day Milking?

I think this is up to your schedule and what is going on in your life.  We were forced to go to Once A Day milking from April 2013 up to present, due to a family health issue and my personal work schedule in the bakery.

What has once a day milking done to my herd?  The butterfat is way way up, which is normal.  However, the milk production is way way down from the norm for our herd. Once a day milking has kept my does milking, but for an example, a doe who milked 1 1/4 quarts up through 483 days in milk on her 1st freshening, is at a little over a pint on her 2nd freshening.  That is not good.  My does are does who milk heavy and long lactations.  The only reason I have gone to once a day, is because I don’t have much choice.  I’m going to be working hard at going back to twice a day milking.

For some people, however, they may not want to milk in the winter months.  So for those people, once a day might be a viable option.  Whether or not you milk once or twice a day is dependent upon what you want or need in your life.

In our herd, our herd is milked year around and we are concentrating on developing a dairy herd that people can count on as true dairy goats.  The one thing that we have found in Once a Day milking and also the harsh inconsistent milking interval times that the Bakery Business where the owner works, is that our does stand behind us in milk production. They milk and milk.  However, Once a Day Milking is definitely NOT good on milk production, when trying to get the highest production we can get and see what our does can actually do.  Up until April of 2013, we did faithfully milk twice a day.

My Employment and How it Affects Milk Production

I work in a bakery and am grateful for the job.  However, the nature of this type of work is that milk times cannot be consistent and due to being to work at the  early hours of the morning, I can’t milk with 12 hour intervals.  My does adjust though, when I milk twice a day.  Up until April 2013, we would milk at 1am and 7pm.  On the rare occasion when my does were milked once a day, then went back to twice a day, production went back up.  This has been proven time again.  For instance, on of my Mini Nubians was milked once a day for a few weeks and production went very low. I brought the doe back home and milked her twice a day and her production at over a year into her lactation went back up to over 3 pounds (a little under 1/2 gallon) per day.  This is pretty consistent with most of my does.  They have the Will (desire) to keep milking.  My does are a herd who adapt and keep milking. As one long term breeder of Nigerian Dwarf and Oberhasli told me, “the true measure of a dairy goat is the Will To Milk.”

Milk and Butterfat yield when milk production goes down

We have found that when milk production goes down, the butterfat goes up.  Thus, here is the general lactation curve of a doe:

Spring freshening… Milk production steadily goes up until 8 weeks into lactation Milk production levels off and butterfat is good Later into the lactation, like in the fall, production drops again and butterfat goes up Next spring (extended lactations), production goes back up and butterfat goes down

Summary of Once a Day Milking, as I see it

  1. Milk production will likely go way down, in once per day milking and some does will actually dry up in the cold of winter or heat of summer.  The drop in production, according to the Nigerian University mentioned above can be as much as 43% drop.
  2. Butterfat will generally go up a lot, due to lower milk production, so cheese yield can be still good.
  3. Once a day milking can free up our milking schedule
  4. If one wants production from their does, and can milk twice a day, I feel it is very important to milk twice a day.  I feel this will give much higher milk yields that are more representative of the does.  We just have to realize that milking once a day milking can diminish production by up to almost half of what they normally would give in some breeds and does.
  5. Most of our herd has stood this 2013 test very well.  They have kept milking long term, but just that their production is much much lower than it is normally due to once a day milking. So I guess it has been a good test for them.