A week of dairy begins with the Rutland farmers market, every Saturday, when we switch out our empty 1/2 gallon jars for jars of fresh, whole , local, grass fed milk…from Larson farm in wells vermont. On average we get about 4 gallons a week (give or take…)
We drink at least a few gallons of raw milk a week, but also have been making our own yogurt, butter, kefir, and mozzerella. I have wanted to try to figure out the difference between what we spend for our raw milk, and what these products would cost if we bought them!
First, the how to: mozzerella
Really, really, not that hard….but you do need, in advance, both citric acid, and rennet, and a thermometer.
1)First, measure out 1 gallon of milk and pour into pot.
2)Then dissolve 1.5 tsp of citric acid into 1 cup of warm water, and pour into the milk.
3) Begin heating milk on stove until it reaches 90 degrees. Stil very gently, until milk curdles and solidifies…..about 30 gentle stirs.
4) Then dissolve 1/4 tsp rennet into 1/4 cup water, pour into milk solution, and continue to stir gently. Cover, and let sit for 5 minutes.
5) Uncover, and cut the curds, in crisscross pattern with sharp knife.
6) Strain curds from liquid (whey), and drain well.
7) Put curds into pot with fresh water to cover the curds, and heat to 190 degrees..stirring gently.
8)then strain curds again, place on cutting board, and slowly stretch and fold curds into a nice round ball. (The curds will be hot, it is helpful to keep a bowl of ice cold water to continuously dip your hands to fool them off..)If you would like to salt your cheese, now is the time…sprinkle salt on cheese as you stretch and fold, forming into a nice round ball of mozzerella.
And voila! 1 lb of mozzerella cheese!
Really, really easy, I promise!
Below, Marc stretching mozzerella.
Now, butter….butter is easy! I usually wait till Sunday….after the milk has had a chance to separate. Then I strain the cream off the top of 5 of the 1/2 gallon jars (1 cup from each = 5 cups cream) then I just whip the cream in our kitchen aid mixer….untill it separates into butter, about 10 minutes. 5 cups made a bit over 1 lb of butter..
Below, as the butter solidifies…and forms a clump, it us done!
Once the butter separates, you strain and then rinse it in cold, cold water while forming into a ball.
Kefir, is easy…
The hardest part of kefir is finding the starter…(gem cultures online) but after that, we pour 1/2 gallon raw milk into a clean jar, then add the kefir grains .. Let sit covered, in a warm place (we put it on top of the pellet stove..)until thickened, about 24 hours…strain grains out, enjoy like yogurt!
Yogurt! We start with 1 gallon of fresh milk
1) Heat until 190 degrees
2) cool until 110 degrees
3) add 1 cup yogurt starter (we used Cabot, but after your initial purchase, you can reuse your own yogurt to start the next batch..)
4) keep warm (about 100 degrees, we use our oven overnight at 100 degrees) from 4-8 hours..
5) then refrigerate. Or if you like thicker yogurt, strain and refrigerate . The liquid strained of is whey, wonderful in smoothies, (or, our favorite way to drink it, mixed half and half with fresh apple cider….)
And my favorite part, farm math!
It cost us 36$ for organic, grass fed, and local:
1 gallon yogurt
1/2 gallon kefir (cultured milk drink)
1 lb mozzerella
1 lb butter
1.5 gallons fresh, raw milk
(Plus, as a byproduct of cheese and yogurt making…about 3 cups whey, & 3 cups buttermilk)
If purchased at our local health good store, this would have cost us about 67$ !
Plus, this week, we all learned some new skills! Also, our dairy only came from miles away, saving fossil fuels, and the world was spared all that excessive packaging. 😀.
Plus we have met the cows, they are happy, healthy, well cared for, and grass fed, as cows should be!