What I want to focus on today is the amazing possibilities contained within a single gallon of raw milk. What really precipitated our experimentation was actually one of the disadvantages of raw milk. Since raw milk has not been pasteurized it has a shorter shelf-life than store bought milk. Seven to ten days is generally a good range to count on provided you keep the milk as cold as possible from the moment of milking. Our milk provider distributes milk by the gallon. Since neither of us drink copious amounts of plain milk, we needed to find other methods to consume or preserve our precious resource before the week was up. We have been making yogurt regularly for over a year now and we have no problem devouring a quart of the stuff each week. The only difference in making raw milk yogurt is that you do not heat the milk above the ideal culture temp (110 degrees) in order to preserve the beneficial properties of the milk. You may heat it to the point of pasteurization if you wish to extend the life and/or reculture the next batch, you will simply lose some of the benefits (and risks) of raw milk. Lisa Lynn of the Self Sufficient HomeAcre blog recently made a great post about Making Raw Yogurt.
|A ball of mozzarella ready for the freezer or pizza!|
|Ricotta draining in a soft cheese basket|
At this point we had a quart of milk, yogurt, mozzarella, ricotta and whey, but we weren't finished yet. We just so happen to be experimenting in fermenting our own sour kraut. It turns out that whey makes an excellent starter by encouraging the growth of good lactobacillious bacteria which is key to successful fermentation. You can learn all about fermented products and procedures at the Wild Fermentation website. Whey also makes a great substitute for the liquid in bread recipes since it boosts the protein content and helps it form a nice brown crust. We also used left over whey to soak and cook beans, which makes them more digestible and adds great flavor. We saved the bean cooking liquid in the freezer to make soup stock later on. There are even more uses for whey listed on the Prairie Homestead website
|Whey, the bi-product of cheese making.|
|Using whey as a fermentation starter for sour kraut.|
So just to recap here. With a single gallon of milk in one week we made: 1 quart of yogurt, 1/3lb of Mozzarella cheese, 1 cup of ricotta cheese, started a batch of sour kraut, made three loaves of bread, used a quart of whey to cook beans and make soup stock and we still had a quart of milk leftover for daily use! Pretty cool, right?
|Just a few uses of raw milk from left to right: whey, ricotta, mozzarella, yogurt, bread and sour kraut.|
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