As I'm nearing the end of my college quarter, my workload intensifies. However, I have found time to tinker in the kitchen.
A small, local Jersey farm offers fresh, raw milk as farm shares and we recently opted in. I received my first gallon this week and put it to good (and tasty) use.
On sight, I enjoyed the simplicity of the milk in its big, glass jar with the cream on top. How have we diverged so far from this basic form of milk? At first, I didn't know what to do with it!
Later, I whipped the cream on top and made butter. The butter is scrumptious and has a beautiful yellow color (no coloring needed). It reminded me of my first experiences with farm-fresh eggs and their deep yellow color.
The butter is a bit on the firm side, though, and next time I'll whip it a little more after rinsing it. I was surprised at the amount of time it took to make butter using a mixer! What a work-out our ancestors must have had making butter by hand!
Out of the butter, came buttermilk. Not the kind of buttermilk you buy in the store, as that buttermilk is cultured. This is just buttery tasting milk. I'll use it for baking or adding to a smoothie.
After that, I used the Bulgarian Yogurt Culture I ordered from The New England Cheese Supply Company and made a big batch of yogurt. It is sooooo good! It also has an enticing creamy tinge of color and is very smooth tasting. This culture can be used over and over so I'm saving a little for my next batch.
This brief experience with fresh milk makes me wish our goats were milk goats! I could really envision myself enjoying making my own healthy and tasty cheeses and dairy goods. I also intend to make sour cream and cultured buttermilk from starters from the cheese supply company.
As you might remember, I went through a period of eating a vegan diet last year. Well, I feel good about using this milk as opposed to milk that has traveled across the country to be mixed with other milk and heated and slapped into an inert state. This farm is small and the cattle graze on grass and alfalfa. It feels more wholesome.