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Oh the Things You Can Do With Dairy!

A photo of MalisaA friend of mine started milking 1 dairy cow and soon was swimming in milk. She called to see if I wanted to “play with it.” I love to experiment with food so I said sure and to drop off 2 gallons. I used 1 gallon for general use and made a soft cheese with the other. I have seen the cheese I made called many different names. A couple weeks ago it was called farmer’s cheese on the Rachel Ray Show and I have also seen it called Queso Blanco. I just call it vinegar cheese since all you have to do is to heat the milk up to 180 degrees, add a cup of vinegar, turn the heat off, let it rest for 10 mins and strain. It is a very soft flavored cheese I like to use in lasagna. I have also made patties with it, rolled them in bread crumbs and eggs and fried them in a little bacon grease.  I used to make the cheese in my food processing class when I taught high school agriculture.

It all went well so the next week I told her I would try another 2 gallons to experiment with. She dropped off 5 gallons. I decided to
try making a hard cheese a couple different ways. I found some Junket tables at the grocery store and got to work. I used buttermilk for my starter. My first run did not set curd. My second run turned into buttermilk. The pigs ate well that week. I have vowed not to share any recipes until I get a successful run of cheese.

I was not going to be deterred the next week and asked for another 5 gallons. She brought over 15 gallons. I now was swimming in milk. I went on-line and ordered true rennet tables from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company. I had the express mailed. I had the next 2 runs form well but tasted awful. I gave up on hard cheese and made yogurt successfully and did another run of vinegar cheese. To make yogurt, you will need 1 qt pasteurized milk, 1/3 cup powdered milk, 2 to 4 tablespoons sweetener (optional; I used honey) and ¼ cup fresh plain yogurt for starter. Mix milk with powdered milk and sweetener and heat to 200 degrees for 10 minutes for soft yogurt and 20 for a firmer yogurt. Maintaining temperature is very critical. I ended up with a run of honey flavored cheese product one time due to allowing the temperature to reach 207 degrees. Yuck!  Rapidly cool heated milk to a temperature of 115-118 degrees. Take out a cup of milk and add yogurt to it. Mix gently. Add yogurt to milk mixture. Put yogurt in clean warm containers (I used pint jars) and incubate at 110 degrees (+ or – 5 degrees). Never exceed 115 degrees. There are incubators designed for yogurt making but I used my 18 qt turkey roaster. I added water under the removable metal tray, replaced the tray and lid and kept the temperature dial low enough to maintain 110 degree temperature. It does need a lot of babysitting though. Incubation time runs from 4 to 7 hours. Mine took about 5 hours to cure. I stored mine in the fridge and used it to make smoothies and ate it with granola. I will have share my granola recipe sometime, it is awesome!! My yogurt recipe came from The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Country Living by Abigail Gehring. I have many great homesteading books. I will try to post a homesteading book review blog in the future. I find each one has its own merits and often find myself using a little from each one.

I made butter once, but haven’t done it in quantity. I put some cream in a pint jar and shook it until it turned into butter. I once did
the activity with the school summer program, but used baby food jars.  Using pints, my arm about fell off but it worked.

I have also made ice cream. My ice cream recipe calls for 2 cups half & half, 2 cups heavy whipping cream, ½ sugar (more or less to taste), 1 teaspoon vanilla and pinch of salt. I like to use my coffee syrups for flavoring. I use less sugar when I do. My husband’s favorite flavor is toasted marshmallow. I enjoy strawberry with a couple fresh strawberries on top.  I did well making ice cream until broke my ice cream maker. I guess I know what I will be scrounging rummage sales for this summer. I love hunting for a bargain.  

I want to experiment with making milk soap but I’m having a tough time finding lye. I may have to order it on-line. My husband was to try and make it at home first using wood ash. I have found local sources for glycerol soaps but I need lye to make dairy soaps. I have an oatmeal, milk and honey recipe for soap I really want to try. I found it at http://chickensintheroad.com.  

I am also planning on trying hard cheese again. Wish me luck!!

nebraska dave
3/23/2013 3:01:23 PM

Malisa, you are having too much fun with milk. When we were getting about 20 gallons of milk a day, we separated the cream off the milk to sell at the creamery and fed the skim milk to the hogs. Those hogs grew the faster of any that were ever raised on the farm. They squealed and licked the trough clean. Have a great milk processing day.