Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Raw Milk Adventures

So, the cows are really fruitful this spring, and I was able to get my hands on 6 gallons of raw milk to experiment with. So far I've had some success with butter.......

.......and a miserable failure with cheese, wherein I dumped an entire gallon of "contaminated" milk down the drain. The butter is....well, it's definitely butter! It just doesn't produce as much as I thought it might. 1 cup of pure cream gives you mostly buttermilk.....and about 2 tablespoons of butter. Maybe a tiny bit more.

In general, I'm dissatsified with the whole "raw" thing. I know it's supposed to be healthy and all, but it just spoils so stinkin' fast! Plus, there are so many by-products that I'm not sure what to do with. Whey and buttermilk....who ever uses those? What do I do with them? Plus, a gallon of whole milk gives off about 1.5 pints of cream. That's a LOT of cream! I just don't have the space to store all these weird by-products, and can't use up cream, whole milk, and easily-spoiled milk products so quickly! I think I have developed a healthy respect for the pasteuriation process......or at least, for the specialized, professional dairy farmer. It's no wonder people specialize. I can imagine doing cheese and such if that was the ONLY thing I had to do, but with dinners to cook, the house to clean up, and a 2-year old (and a very unpredictable husband's schedule), I just can't juggle things on timers, innoculated liquids growing cultures, and curing cheeses.

I got very panicked in the last 2 days, feeling every hour pass by, my $6 a gallon milk spoiling more every minute.......I am not sure that this is for me. :( Now, if I could have it delivered to my door-step every morning, I might think again.

The taste, in addition, is quite different in the yogurt, not to mention the cream! Whole raw milk, when drunk cold, is tolerable, and even can be nice when you put chocolate syrup in it. But once you start warming it, or introducing culture to it, it becomes very strong.


So, 2 gallons down, and a mere 2 tablespoons of butter plus several glasses of chocolate milk to show for it (the only way Ben & I really like to drink it). Pretty sad.

Anyhow.....I'll post more as I experiment more with it. I just need to relax and be ok with making mistakes with it. It's a learning process, I'm sure. :)


Hosanna said...

How very cool, Su. I have been researching butter this past week, and planning on making some myself....great minds think alike, eh?
Well, I have NO idea what to do with whey, but buttermilk is great for making biscuits, of course. That is a lot of fat-filled biscuits to eat. When I make biscuits,I only make 6 at a time, and sometimes we don't even get those eaten, and the rest go for dog treats.
What about making ice cream? Do you have a ice cream freezer? You could make ice cream in batches and it keeps well ..... you could make it from all natural and organic ingredients so it would be sort of good for you. What about yogurt?
And, how did you make your butter - in a jar, shaking it? Mom said she knew a lady who made it by putting the cream in a jar, strapping it to the agitator in her washing machine, and running it through the wash cycle. :)

Herb of Grace said...

Did you know you can make whey cheese? And use it in baking (great in bread)? And I'm pretty sure you can freeze the milk itself, as long as you use containers with head-room...

You need to do some Googling, girl!

Herb of Grace said...

Hos, I love the washing machine butter idea :)

Susannah Forshey said...

My bread machine has a butter setting. There's a plastic lid you put on, and it warms to 70 degrees, and just agitates for 30 minutes, and out comes the butter! Very easy!

I must say, my problem is, I just don't have the time to make all this stuff.....and then eat it all up before it spoils.

Hosanna said...

You mean, it spoils in the fridge, too? Golly-gee-whiz. I forgot to mention, you NEED to go to MARY JANE'S FARM, sign up to the Farmgirl Chatroom, and ask away! There is UNTOLD amounts of info on the Farmgirl Forums. I am on it, and I just browse around most of the time, learning things from other farmgirls. And, you don't gotta be on a farm to be a "farmgirl..." I'm telling you, I LOVE Mary Jane's Farm. My life has not been the same sense I discovered it. (Her). Just google it.... you'll see....

Rachel said...

Very interesting... We know a family that only uses raw milk. Did you know it is illegal in NC to sell raw milk for the purpose of people drinking it? Is it legal to purchase it in Washington? Just curious. I know the farmers markets here sell it, but it says on there that it is not for drinking, but that is what people buy it for. Also it is around $10 a gallon here.
I have switched Emma to organic rice milk instead of organic goats milk, mostly because of price. Last time I bought it, it cost me $7.99 for a half gallon! AHHH!
Anyway, thanks for the info, I don't think we could switch.

Susannah Forshey said...

Rachel, it is legal in our state to sell raw milk. There are quite a few farms that sell it, not to mention that it's available in lots of health food stores, as well.

Hos, great idea to make ice cream! I don't know why I never thought of that. Now I just need an ice cream maker....

Matt and Laurie Beardsley said...

I used to have to mix chocolate into the milk in Chile just to drink it....and that's for all milk for the entire year. I think I drank a small wading pool when we returned and I was 7 mo. pregnant!!!

Any milk that can live on a shelf without being opened, in your pantry for months, is not milk as far as I'm concerned!!

Well I think you are very brave.

I don't have any really great ideas but.... if you aren't too crazy about drinking it, but don't want it to go to waste.....I know you have most of it frozen now right??? Could you make some of the things that people are suggesting...buttermilk, biscuit dough, pancake mix etc, and then freeze them in mixes??

That way you wouldn't have to eat a ton of biscuits at once but you wouldn't constantly be having to unfreeze milk and then figure out what to do with it. Or you could just straight up make a ton of really good pancakes. We make them in double batches and then freeze them in bags of 3 so we only have to get them out and microwave them for breakfast.

Good luck! I totally admire your experiment!