Monday, May 21, 2012

The Dairyman

Here on the farm we are raw milk drinkers. Goat's milk and cow's milk have been present in our kitchen for most of our family's history depending on the availability and the status of our own animal population.
Nothing compares to the sweetness and deliciousness of fresh raw cow's milk. I have read extensively about the many health benefits of natural milk with all its health building enzymes intact and am convinced that drinking raw milk as humans have all over the world since the beginning of history is the best way to consume this nutritious dairy product. Unfortunately because of the glut of misinformation, politics and fear-mongering, unless a person owns a jersey cow, it is getting harder and harder to obtain good, natural milk in America. (In France, they sell it in vending machines. But of course!)

Since our goats are not producing right now, I buy cow's milk for our family from a farm on the other side of the mountain at great expense with a heavy dose of time and effort to bring it here. But it is worth it. Tonight I had  some extra cream so decided to make butter with it. If you have never seen fresh, non-homogenized cow's milk, you may not know that the cream naturally rises to the top of the milk and is easy to separate by pouring it off. (Separating cream from goat's milk is not that easy.)

To make butter, I put the cream into a clean jar, let it come to room temperature and enlisted an eager helper who has energy to spare. It isn't necessary to have any special equipment to make butter like butter churns or paddle jars. A simple jar with a tight fitting lid is all that is needed. Well, you also need some muscle, stamina, patience and perseverance. And muscle and stamina. And did I say patience? This is where having eager kids with young muscles is beneficial...

Start shaking the cream.

And shaking....

Keep shaking! Shake some more!!

Don't stop... keep shaking! Shake, shake, shake!!

After many minutes,, days and days!....of shaking, shaking, shaking....something magical appears!

Butter! The fat has separated from the milk and floats in what is now buttermilk.
Look at the lovely yellow color that spring grass makes. Some contented cows made this butter.

The next thing to do is pour off the buttermilk and wash the butter. Washing the butter in cold water rinses all the buttermilk out of the fat and this will keep the butter fresher, longer. Pioneers used to store their butter for long periods in their ice house. There is an old saying that "butter commends the housewife, good cheese, the cow" because well-rinsed butter tastes sweet and fresh for a long time. A little salt added after the washing also helps to preserve the butter.

Peter had a good time making his first batch of butter.

 Mom! It's like......real butter!

His next question was- how do you make cheese? Can we make cheese?


  1. Peter can come to my house and make cheese. I'll learn him all I know.

    Also, it amuses me that it is the prerogative of a mother to say "I decided to make butter" when it was *you* who actually did it, but your progeny. :-)

    1. I think you meant to say "wasn't" and to that I can only say that he couldn't have assisted me and made it without me!

  2. Back in May during a raw milk debate on Ree's blog, I said that raw milk is healthy and opposition to it is political. You commented and I was curious to see who this person was who agreed with my comment! To be honest, it was an additional hook when I found that you are an Oregonian as well. I was born and raised in the Willamette Valley until I moved to California at (ahem) age 40! We are fortunate to be able to buy Organic Pastures Raw Milk at health food stores, very expensive but worth it. I just wanted to say that I am in awe of people like you and Ree who accomplish so much! Evidently I am just plain lazy, excuse me now, I think I will go take a nap!

    1. Well thank you for visiting and thanks for your comment. We really are swimming against the tide with our endorsement of raw milk, aren't we? How did humankind ever survive all these millenia? Also, I think if you listed all the things that you do, you would find out you aren't very lazy and it would sound like a lot. :-)


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