Are you a milk drinker? I have to confess – I wasn’t much of one growing up – in fact, if we had cold cereal, it was with soy milk, and we never drank milk by the glass. I commend my mother for doing what she thought was best for us at the time, but recent studies have shown us what a poor and even dangerous substitute soy products are, and just how essential good, raw milk is to a nourishing diet.
I was excited when we moved to our new place this summer to have a nieghbor ‘introduce’ me to her milk supply – the bulk tank at the nearest Mennonite Dairy Farm. We had lost our raw milk supply last year when the Amish family we had bought it from had sold their cows. It can be tricky to find a raw milk supply in some states because of regulations. But this family is kind enough to let us draw milk from their bulk tank before the milk tanker comes, and thus I once again have a good supply of yummy, farm fresh, unpasteurized milk.
Why am I so excited about this? Why do I fill my trunk with glass milk jugs once a week and spend my morning fetching up to 10 gallons of milk and delivering it to family and friends around the neighborhood? Because I am convinced of the benefits of raw milk, and love the chance to provide it for my family and friends. Here are just a few reasons to avoid store bought, pasteurized milk…
• Pasteurization’s benefits have been highly exagerated. The modern milking machine and stainless steel tank, along with efficient packaging and distributions make pasteurization totally unnecessary for the purposes of sanitation. It is no guarantee of cleanliness. All outbreaks of salmonella from contaminated milk in recent decades have occurred in pasteurized milk.
• Heat alters milk’s amino acids lysine and tyrosine, making the whole complex of proteins less available; it promotes rancidity of unsaturated fatty acids and destruction of vitamins.
• Pasteurization destroys all the enzymes in milk – enzymes that help the body assimilate all body building factors, including calcium.
• Pasteurization destroys helpful organisms, leaving the finished product devoid of any protective mechanism should undesirable bacteria inadvertently contaminate the supply. Raw milk in time turns pleasantly sour, while pasteurized milk, lacking beneficial bacteria, will putrefy.
(the above information is taken from “Nourishing Traditions” by Sally Fallon)
I hope this isn’t information overload for you all – I just wanted to make sure I gave you a bit of foundation before I moved on to the practical recipes and ideas I have to share. If you question any of this or want to study it further, again, I recommend the Real Milk site, full of information and research.
I regularly get 2-4 gallons of milk for our little family each week. “What do we do with all of it”, you may ask?! Well, first,
• We drink it by the glass – at nearly every meal! A habit that was unfamiliar but not hard to form at all! Just think – instead of diluting your stomache’s digestive juices by gulping down water at meals, you are aiding digestion by drinking an enzyme-rich beverage that goes good with everything!
• I skim the milk and save the cream for cooking and for Jeremy’s coffee. I never have to buy 1/2 and 1/2 anymore – and it saves a couple dollars each week in the grocery envelope! And I have all the cream I want for rich, yummy soups!
• I make my own yogurt – this is so much cheaper than buying the only comparable thing on the market – Stonyfield Organic Whole Milk Yogurt, which is about $4 per 32oz container. I can make a gallon of yogurt in a few minutes for less than $3 per batch. Check out my recipe here.
• I make Whey. This is absolutely the easiest thing to do with your milk, and has so many healthy uses and benefits!
I spend $2 a gallon on raw milk, about $6-8 a week. I figure I’m saving twice that in our food budget by turning a few gallons of it into nutritious by-products. In the new year I hope to perfect my mozzarella cheese techniques, and begin experimenting with harder cheeses, as well as making my own sour cream!
2 Quarts raw milk
Place milk in a clean glass container and allow it to stand at room temperature 1-4 days until it separates. Line a colander over a large bowl with a clean dish towel or very find cheesecloth. Pour in separated milk and let stand at room temperature for several hours. The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the colander. Tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze. Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out. When the bag stops dripping, the cheese is ready. Store whey in a mason jar and cream cheese in a covered glass container. Refrigerated, the cream cheese keeps for about 1 month, and the whey for about 6 months. (recipe from Nourishing Traditions)
The first time I made whey, I put a little sign on the jar, just in case Jeremy thought I had left the milk out on accident – “Whey in Progress – Leave on Counter!”☺ I finish straining my cheese overnight in the fridge so it does not keep souring and will be as sweet as possible. I use the whey in place of yogurt now in all of my grain soaking recipes and lacto fermenting experiments. And the
“cream cheese is far superior to the commercial variety, which is produced by putting milk under high pressure and not by the beneficial action of lactic-acid produced bacteria.” Nourishing Traditions
If you do not have a source for raw milk, but still want to try making whey, you can use yogurt! You know that liquid that sometimes separates in a jar of yogurt? That’s whey, too! You can strain it just like the soured milk, and you will get the whey and the cheese. Thought it won’t have all the raw goodness in it, you will get the benefits of lacto fermentation and can use it in all the same recipes.
Next week I plan on sharing some of my favorite Whey and Cream Cheese Recipes, so find yourself some raw milk this week and get it souring!
Meanwhile, check out these recipes from the archives that use raw milk, whey, or cream cheese…