Monday, February 1, 2010

All Things Milk

I have spent the last two days creating goodies from the previous week's milk. There were about 7 gallons begging to be made into something. Early yesterday I got a pot of chevre going and made a batch of vanilla yogurt . Once the chevre was draining I started a pot of cottage cheese. It was late when I finished that up, so I started again this morning.

The first thing I did was to skim all the cream from the remaining gallons. You can see that was about a quart of cream to each gallon. I have a vita-mix blender and use that for making the butter. I put in about a quart of cream at a time and let it run until it gets really creamy. Scrape down the sides and continue this process until you see the butter separate out of the cream. Once that happens you can drain off the butter milk and save for other uses. I usually feed it to my chickens but it makes great biscuits and pancakes! Next you need to wash the butter with cold water until the water runs fairly clear. This will require several rinsings. If the butter gets too soft, shove it in the fridge for a few minutes and then continue. Getting as much whey as you can out of the butter will make it last longer without becoming rancid. At this point you can salt it if you want-I salt for table use but not for cooking. After I finish with the rinsing I fill 1/2 cup molds with the soft butter and put them in the freezer for just a few minutes to get hard. Run a knife around the edge and they will pop out. Now they are ready to use! I usually
wrap them individually in wax paper and store in a freezer bag. These 1/2 cup rounds are perfect for baking.
Once I finished up the butter making I made 2 batches of mozzarella. The chevre I made yesterday had completed draining so I made a few rounds mixed with Italian herbs and crushed red pepper. This is really good as a spread on crackers or bread. I saved some plain for adding to mashed potatoes or cream sauces.
Lastly I put on a pot of feta to ripen. That should be ready this evening and will drain most of the night. Tomorrow I will slice and salt it. It will then age for a few days before being crumbled and served on a salad. Some I will leave plain and some will be seasoned with sun dried tomatoes and dried basil.

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