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Milking It

We got through a lot of milk here at Saffron and Honey. While we aren't yet milking our goats, we frequently pick up a gallon or two of fresh, raw milk from The Milkhouse, a local farm near my in-laws. They also sell to Sheepscot General, a small local store quite near us, but we still buy directly to the source if we happen to be visiting family.

As a side note, we known raw milk is a touchy subject for some people. Some people we know are horrified by the idea of drinking unpasteurized milk, and others who swear by it as a cure for every possible ill. For us, it's a necessary purchase. Once the USA began going primary to ultra-pasteurized milk, store bought milk began making Sherri quite sick, while raw milk continues to have no unpleasant tummy effects. So we aren't here to judge those who love it or hates it, just saying that we use it.

Raw milk is pretty dense, which can be positive or not, depending on your tastes. Even "whole" milk in the store has had much of the heavy cream removed. A glass of raw truly whole milk can often take the place of a meal if you are in a hurry (though I in no way suggest this as a regular habit!). It will fill you up and stick with you thanks to a combination of natural fats and sugars. We happen to like the favor and mouth-feel that does with it.

However, sometimes it's a bit much, even for us. Especially for Henry, who isn't really a big milk drinker, it can feel so rich that it's overwhelming. Or we just get tired of milk for a little while. This is when it gets run through our snazzy new milk separator to make a less heavy milk - there are settings for variations on low fat milk or "whole" - and it can be used for other things. Sherri enjoys making cottage cheese when the temperature is right (it doesn't always let right if it's too hot or cold). Yogurt is a big hit with Henry, and he prefers it to milk on his granola.

Neither of these items really require the cream, so our new trick is to store it and make our own butter - one less thing to buy from the grocery store. We are still playing with the settings on the separator to try for buttermilk. We use a lot of buttermilk in cooking here, and it would be nice to make that ourselves too. However, the cream has been so thick as soon as it comes out of the machine, there is little to no buttermilk to be had during the churning! It just thickens right up to creamy, fatty goodness right away. This is the most buttermilk we've ever gotten off a batch of butter so far!

Yup, about two tablespoons of liquid from a gallon of milk. The last batch we made ended up being a softer butter, so it was more spreadable, but had even less buttermilk in it. Hopefully once we get the setting rights, we can stop buying our buttermilk too!

Since goat milk doesn't separate the same way goat's milk does, we will keep buying cow's milk from our neighbors even once the goats are milking regularly. Goat's milk is also delicious, and will hopefully give us some great cheese, but there is a reason you don't see goat's milk butter.

And while we wait, we also have a honey whipped cream recipe we want to try...

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