Did you know how many products you can make from milk? Well, there are approximately 11 products you can make from milk. You can make:
Cheese (and when you make cheese you get whey as a byproduct)
And there are more that I probably didn’t list here. So how many of those products we can make from the milk that is being sold in the grocery stores? Well with pasteurized and homogenized milk, you can probably make most of these with questionable results, but with many of the milk out there now being ultra pasteurized, you will probably not have any luck making any of these products. Trust me, I tried to make butter and it was something so tasteless and colorless that I thought I did something wrong. But how can I screw up butter, it is over whipped whipped cream! So I checked the package of the butter from the store in case I am missing something and there it was, cream and natural flavoring. “Natural Flavoring”! What is that? Well that is for another discussion, but to my surprise butter that we consume was not just heavy cream, it had something else that I need to go and research because natural flavoring doesn’t occur in the nature I know.
In my research into milk, yes! I researched milk, I found how much processing goes into milk. It is so much that most milk is now fortified with added viatamins. So processing strips out nutrition and to compensate for that, we add it back in synthetically after we process it! Isn’t that a waste of money….. Well, think about it. If I need to increase the shelf life of this product and then so fondly call it “Shelf Stable Milk”, this will allow me to keep it on the shelves longer and increase the likelihood that I will sell most of my stock before the expiration date. And since this processing renders the milk completely inactive so that the consumer can’t make any of the above products, I can sell those products and reap all those profits and nutrition be damned.
What is lost on most people is that milk is alive with bacteria, enzymes and is a complete source of nutrition. It is those properties that make milk very good for us. The bacteria and enzymes will allow us to digest milk and breakdown its fat. During processing, you will lose all that goodness and you are left with a high-fat and nutrition difficient product. But hey, if you don’t want the fat, I will process it some more and I will create even more products by providing 2%, 1% and skim milks for people to buy.
And don’t get me started on homoginization! So why can’t we have milk that has been moderately pasturized to kill the so called “bad bacteria” and still leave us with the enzymes and live good bacteria that we need for our health? Apparently fresh milk from <fill in animal name> is evil and is a detriment to our health. Mind you, people have been drinking fresh milk from the various domesticated animals for centuries. So the government will raid a small farmer trying to make a living by selling milk from his cows at gunpoint, yet drug trade is rampant in our society. Don’t underestimate the milk lobby as funny as this may sound!
So what do you do? There are many options out there for you. Check you state laws; do they allow you to participate in cow sharing programs? Do they allow the sale of raw milk with strict regulation? Now I live in Maryland and apparently you need to go underground and deal behind the scenes to get the ever elusive contraband milk. But be careful you have to ensure the source. Is the farmer testing his cows for diseases? Is he clean, are the cows pasture raised? When I embarked on my journey for better milk, I tried to go to a farm in Virginia that provided a cow sharing program and your share will entitle you to a gallon of milk. Unfortunately I live in Maryland and the farmer was very leery and was uncomfortable because he couldn’t cross the state line with his milk. Can you believe we are talking about milk here! So I found a group that has a coop that gets their milk from a farmer in Pennsylvania, but he doesn’t test his cows and you are not sure if he is clean and there were legal agreements that you had to sign stating that you will not snitch on anyone in the coop if you are caught by the authorities. Yes, we are still talking about milk here! I continued to do more research while frantically trying to find a way to change the milk that I am using.
I said while I am searching, I will buy only pasteurized homogenized milk, none of that ultra pasteurized stuff and to my surprise, it was very hard to come by and that includes organic. Then I found out about this milk that is moderately pasteurized and not homogenized! Yes, that would work! So where do they sell it? Whole foods sells it and Mom’s organic market sells it and they sell from local farms. I was in heaven. I bought my first bottle and my daughter finished a 1/2 gallon in 2 days. Not only is it moderately pasteurized (161 degrees), but it is not homogenized and is milk from pastured cows with no use of hormones and antibiotics. Well, it is not the unprocessed that I was hoping for, but it is the next best thing. Until the laws of the state of MD are eased so that at least farmers can use cow sharing programs, this will be the milk for me. I can use this milk to make all the products that I need to produce. I now make my own butter and buttermilk and I am looking forward to making even more products with my glorious milk. On that note, here is a good recipe to make your own butter.
1 Gallon of moderately pasteurized or raw heavy cream
1/3 cup of cultured buttermilk (make sure that it doesn’t have any gums or stabilizers)
A hand or stand mixer
• Stir the cultured buttermilk into the cream and ensure that all of the buttermilk is incorporated evenly in the cream
• Leave covered at room temperature for 18 hours
• Place back in the fridge for another 12 hours
• Using a mixer (stand or hand mixer) whip the cream past the whipped cream stage. In about 10-15 minutes the cream will turn yellow and then it will start to pebble and then the buttermilk and the butter will separate.
• Drain the buttermilk (make sure you keep this for a recipe that calls for buttermilk)
• Place the butter in a cheese cloth and wrap and run under cold water until the water draining is clear.
• With a wooden spoon work the butter for a few minutes and then shape and place in the fridge or the freezer.
Trust me; you won’t ever buy butter at the store ever again.
Until next time, it is not too late to live better and unprocessed