Friday, April 16, 2010

Milk Part 1

Every Saturday I do something illegal and dangerous.
I drive out to a local farm and purchase unpasteurized cow milk.

Ok so it isn't entirely illegal.- at least not in Oregon.
"Under Oregon state law, commercial dairies are prohibited from distributing raw milk. The only exception is for small operations with three cows or less, which are permitted to sell raw milk on-site but cannot advertise sales or ship off the premises."
The farm I go to is an exception. 
The dangerous part may be true.
There is a huge debate about raw vs pasteurized milk and health benefits vs. health risks.
Why would I risk my life or health to use raw milk?
CHEESE!
Which leads me to how this all started! My friend A and I wanted to make mozzarella cheese. We tried a few batches with store bought milk. We checked the label and steered clear of UHT or ultra Pasteurized products. We barely got curds. We tried powdered milk as recommended in the kit recipe with moderate success. We researched milk companies only to find more batches of failed cheese. You see milk that has been UHT processed is heated to 240-280 so it can sit on the supermarket shelf up to six months depending on the packaging ( this is for aseptic box style packaging)! This Ultra High Temperature processing breaks down the whey protein that is needed to form good curds for cheese making. Not all brands of milk label  UHT pasteurized even if they reach temperatures that break down the whey protein.
At this point I decided to get milk from the source! A quick trip to Google pulled up a list of raw milk "suppliers" in my area and I made a few calls. I was lucky to find a local dairy farm minutes from where I keep my horse. I met the milk maid, the cows, and toured the milking parlor. The milk parlor smelled of bleach and was spotless! A good sign. I signed a waiver saying the milk was only for animal/ pet consumption and bought my first gallon of raw milk.
To be honest I was a bit freaked out by the raw milk. But we had to have at least on successful batch of cheese and this was my last ditch effort.
There is no comparison to the cheese making process using raw milk vs. store bought. Within a few minutes of adding the acid and rennet we had the most beautiful curds we had yet to experience. The process was exactly as explained in the book so we knew we had been doing it right all along.
Now that I have been using raw milk for about 2 months I can not view store bought milk as real milk. From my raw milk I can
  • skim off the cream
  • make butter
  • make buttermilk
  • make cheese
  • make whipped cream
  • kefir
  • yogurt
For those of you who bake there is no comparison for flavor in puddings, custards, and baked goods when using  fresh milk/cream vs UHT.  processed milk/cream. 


    4 comments:

    Pam said...

    I grew up on a farm and we drank raw milk sometimes, don't think it ever hurt us! Your cheese sounds great!

    Kathleen said...

    Wow. Fresh milk sounds wonderful.

    Frieda said...

    I just had to hop on over and read about your cheese experience! Raw milk?!? Not sure where I can find it here, but I just found a goat farm around the corner...wish me luck!

    oregonsunshine said...

    This is why I'm hoping to switch my family over to raw goat milk after we get moved and settled in Atlanta. Well, converted to soap and cheese anyways, I hope. The milk will come later, I'm sure.