What To Do With Milk and Cream

A reader named Christy e-mailed Savvy Housekeeping with a question:

My family has recently moved out to the country and we have new neighbors with dairy cows and they have offered us raw cow’s milk and the cream off the top. I am very interested in feeding my children organic food these days and with all the new resources we have found in this small country town I would love some recipes for making things with the cream and milk. Can you help??

Christy, I tell you, if I had a supply of fresh cream and milk, I would be all over it. I would get into butter churning, making cheese, the whole thing. The main reason I don’t do those things is that with the price of milk, I’m not sure it’s cost-effective to make my own. (A gallon of milk costs about $3.50, and so does a pound of mozzarella on sale.) But a free, fresh supply of milk and cream? That’s dairy gold, my friend.
Although I’m not to sure about pasteurization and raw milk and all that, here are some things you can make with milk/cream in general:
* Whip cream: The first thing that springs to mind is whip cream, which you make by adding about 1/3 cup of sugar for every pint or so of cream and beating it in your mixer until it stiffens. You can use whip cream as a topping for desserts, folded into mousse, and a host of other delicious options.
* Butter: Or you can omit the sugar and keep on churning the cream until you make butter. You can freeze butter for storage, spread it on toast, and use it in practically every kind of cooking situation. You can even add fresh herbs and make flavored butter.
* Cheese: Of course, I would make cottage cheese with the milk, but I would try some other cheeses too. Ricotta and Mozzarella are fairly easy to make. However, you do have to get some extra ingredients, like citric acid and rennet to make cheese. You can buy them at a specialty store or invest in a cheesemaking kit. While that sounds difficult, I have watched people make cheese, and it’s really pretty simple and fun.
* Buttermilk: Then there’s buttermilk. It looks like it is a simple matter of adding lemon juice or cream of tarter to milk and letting it curdle. And what is a good Southern biscuit without buttermilk?
* Sour cream: After you do that, you can take the buttermilk, combine it with the milk, and make yourself some sour cream, which can be used in all kinds of baking, not to mention Mexican food.
* Creme fraiche: Or you can make the vastly superior creme fraiche by combining unsweetened whip cream and buttermilk together. Creme fraiche can be used in soups, over fresh berries, or spread on a nice piece of french bread.
* Yogurt: And finally, you can try your hand at making yogurt. I don’t know much about yogurt, but it’s a practical and healthy thing to have around. On top of serving it with berries/granola/etc for breakfast, you can cook with yogurt. Lots of Indian cooking uses yogurt, for example.
Hope that helps you Christy. Good luck!

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