Monday, August 30, 2010

The land of milk...

Eventually I will only be milking Bonnie when I need milk, which is once or twice a week.  Until the calf is able to take all her milk, though, I'm milking every morning.  I end up with a little over a gallon each time.  
I could pour it down the sink, but I want to make some butter, since I have to milk anyhow.  So I'm skimming off the cream.  As I was about to pour the skimmed excess milk down the drain, I remembered how I used to make cottage cheese and decided to try it again.  
Now, the way my mom and grandma taught me was just to heat the clabbered milk very slowly over a low burner until curds formed.  Recipes I've found on the Internet is a little different and a lot more complicated:



Pasteurizing and Setting the Milk Raw skim milk must be pasteurized by bringing it to 145oF and holding at that temperature for 30 minutes. Pasteurization can be accomplished by placing the milk in a microwaveable container and heating with the temperature probe in place. Another way to pasteurize is to place the skim milk in a double boiler and bring to temperature. Pasteurized skim milk should then be cooled to 70 to 75oF. Next, inoculate the skim milk with 1 1/2 cups (5% level) of buttermilk or sour cream, used as "starter" if you want the curd to set within five hours. Use only 1/2 cup if you want to set the curd over night. In this case it is most convenient to add the starter in the afternoon so that the curd will be formed and ready to be cut by the following morning.
Cutting the Curd The proper time for cutting the curd is determined by the condition of the curd. If the curd breaks cleanly away from the sides of the vessel when depressed slightly with a spoon, the proper cut time has been reached. The curd should then be cut (not broken) into cubes approximately 3/8 inch in each dimension. Do this by cutting horizontally with a spatula or knife, then rolling the strands gently over so that they may be cut crosswise. At this time the whey will be expelled from the curd. Dry cheese will result if curds are cut too small.
Heating the Curd Heat or cook the curd by placing the vessel containing the cut curd in a larger vessel containing water at a temperature of 140oF. The curd should be stirred gently with a large spoon while bringing the temperature to 120 to 125oF. Hold at this temperature for about half an hour, stirring gently from time to time. One of the common mistakes in making home-made cottage cheese is heating at too high a temperature and for too long. High temperature causes the pieces of curd to contract, squeezing out too much whey and making the cheese too dry. To determine when the cooking is done, place about 1 tablespoon of curds in ice water for 3 minutes, then squeeze them in the palm of the hand. A rubbery texture indicates that cooking should be ended.
Draining the Whey Pour or drain off the whey. Wash the curd (with about the same amount of ice water as there was whey) by filling the kettle with ice water and pouring it off 3 times. This will wash a good deal of the acid from the cheese so that it will not taste so sour, and at the same time it will cool the cheese to about 70oF. The last water may be drained away either by placing the cheese in a small cheesecloth bag or on a piece of cheesecloth spread on a rack or colander. Draining may be hastened by changing the position of the cheese in the bag or on the cheesecloth.
Working, Seasoning, and Creaming the Cheese After nearly all the water has been drained away, or at least stopped running in a steady stream, the cheese should be removed to a clean dish and worked to an even texture with a spoon. Salt may be added to suit the taste. Usually salt at a level of 1% of the weight of the curd and cream is appropriate (about a half ounce or 1 tablespoon). About 1½ cups of half and half cream (approx 12% fat) or light cream (approx 20% fat) will improve the taste of the cheese a great deal, although it is not necessary. If light cream is added at this level (about 1/3 the weight of the curd) a creamed cottage cheese of about 4% fat content will be produced. For a low-fat cottage cheese add 1½ cups of pasteurized/homogenized milk. The cottage cheese thickens after about 20 hours of refrigeration.  


Now, I happen to have a little cultured buttermilk in the refrigerator, so that's no problem.  But pasteurize my raw milk?  Grandma never did that.  Of course, she and my mom didn't use cultured buttermilk with their method, either.  
Decisions, decisions.

12 comments:

m.v. said...

my Mom uses kefir grains,to make kefir or remented milk, it's like buttermilk. this stuff is supposedly really good for you. she makes and drinks a cup every day.then once in a while she makes a whole gallon and turns it into farmer's cheese,similar to ricotta I guess. Years ago I got the grains from this guy in Australia http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefirpage.html .my Mom had them for probably 10 years now.

m.v. said...

that would be "fermented milk"

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

One thing I remember about cottage cheese sitting on the counter at my grandmothers was that it didn't look good at all when it was in the making but it sure did taste good when finished. You'll have to let us know how it goes.

Muhd Imran said...

Sounds like a painstaking process but DIY is the best satisfaction one can get. Awesome.

Have a good week ahead.

small farm girl said...

Do it like your grandma!!!!!

madcobug said...

I never tried making cottage cheese. The buttermilk we always used was when we got the butter out. Put the buttermilk in the fridge and use it drinking it or baking with it. I wish I had a half gallon right now. Yummy with cornbread and an onion or with sliced tomatoes. Did not pasteurize it. Helen

Marcia said...

I have some cottage cheese started right now! I do not pasteurize the milk - just heat it to 90 degrees add starter - that would be the buttermilk - and let it set 1 hr - then I add liquid rennet - you could use junket and let it set another hour then cut the curd into smallish pieces and heat to 100 - pour off most of the whey and add cold water to lower the temp to 85 - place curds in cheesecloth and let drain a couple of hours - break up curds and add cream if you wish - WAY yummy. Hey, you need a couple of pigs - we feed the extra milk to ours and they love it!

Donna said...

Marcia, we've raised pigs on milk. However, I do NOT intend to milk a cow just to feed pigs. I do NOT intend to be tied down to twice-a-day milking. Right now I have to milk every day because the calf can't take it all, but I'll be doing a happy dance once he can consume it all by himself.
I don't have rennet or junket on hand, or I would try that.

m.v. said...

how is it supposed to happen in "the wild" when there is no one to milk the cow

Barbara said...

Do it the way you were taught.

Hyperblogal said...

Save time just heat the cow.

Donna said...

Meesha, in the wild there are no cows bred to give 10 times the milk a calf needs. Mankind has messed with genetics here until cows milk themselves to death and you have milk fever and mastitis.