My children run over to collect a bucket of milk, and the Dairy Dance begins. The sequence of the steps depend on my mood, but the dance is choreographed to use every last drop of the milky goodness. My Elastic Mom philosophy of USE IT, DON'T LOSE IT is all about milking every lost drop from my resources. This time it is literally milking the milk.
We are blessed with buckets of creamy unpasteurized, unhomogenized jersey milk. When a fresh bucket arrives, I stand it in the fridge for a few hours to allow the cream to rise to the top. Them I skim off the CREAM to use for butter, whipped cream or ice-cream.
Butter is so easy to make, even without a churn. It took me a year of farm living to even give it a try. Now I wonder why i waited so long.
Here's how I make BUTTER:
1. Beat the cream in a food processor until it forms tiny yellow globules floating in a whitish fluid, buttermilk.
2. Press the globules together with a wooden spoon, and pour off the buttermilk. A bit of ice in the bowl helps the butter to stay in a lump.
3. Work the butter on a wooden board with a wooden spoon. Press out every last drop of buttermilk which can make it go rancid. Rinse repeatedly under a running cold tap.
4. Add a pinch of salt. Then press into a dish and refrigerate your butter.
As for the BUTTERMILK, I USE IT within a day. I doesn't keep well. It is delicious in baked goods, such as buttermilk rusks, flapjacks, bread and whatever you like.
Then there is ice-cream. My generous husband gave me an ice-cream machine for my birthday.
Here's how I make ICE-CREAM:
1. In the morning - Make an egg custard on the stovetop with milk and/or cream.
2. Stir the cooled custard into some fresh cream along with pureed fruit or your favourite flavouring.
3. Chill the mixture all day.
4. Pour the well chilled mixture into the ice-cream machine, and run it for around half an hour while you are eating dinner. Serve the soft ice-cream immediately and hope there is enough leftover to keep some in the freezer.
If you don't have an ice-cream machine, then freeze the mixture, beating the crystals down every so often while it is solidifying.
Now that just about completes the the cream part of the dance. If it happens to go sour before I can use it, then it goes into my baking, or into a pasta sauce. I make sure not to LOSE IT.
Next it's the MILK. I use it in white sauce, porridge, puddings, smoothies, and in baking too. But the best of all is when my husband makes me a creamy cuppachino with that morning's milk. Hot and frothy foam, sprinkled with cocoa, floating on delicious espresso... mmmm
I make yoghurt with the milk too. It is also really so easy to make, and I wonder why I found the concept rather daunting.
1. Heat the required amount of milk to just below boiling point.
2. Cool the milk to blood temperature. Test it on your wrist, like a baby's bottle.
3. Pour the warm milk into a clean jar, or jars, over a dollop of live yoghurt, from a previous batch, or from the shops to get you going.
4. Keep the jar warm overnight. I have a small warmer, but you could use an insulated box wrapped in towels, or a thermos flask. I have even heard of using a crock pot on its lowest setting.
5. Chill and serve with honey, fresh fruit, or your flavouring of choice.
Then there's my 'CREAM CHEESE':
1. Simply suspend some yoghurt in muslin / cheesecloth / hessian / clean tea towel over a bowl.
2. Leave it for a good few hours. The contents of your 'bag' become the 'cream cheese', and the WHEY collects in the bowl underneath.
WHEY is protein-rich and good for us, and so to USE IT, and not LOSE IT, it goes into soups, breads or sauces.
And those are the basic steps of my dairy dance. It is a dance of thankfulness for food on our table, and happy satisfied tummies and taste buds.