I'm amazed at how good tasting homemade butter is. Even when David makes chocolate chip cookies, you can smell the butter in them as they bake. As Jim commented at lunch today -- the more you eat the butter, the more you want to eat it. And we are learning moderation in everything!
I started out making an easy cheese, which was just heating the raw milk and then adding vinegar to make what I guess is called Queso Blanco. This weekend I decided to try the 30 Minute Mozzarella recipe.
I don't have any photos of the process, but it's very simple and tastes very good. I like it best when eaten warm, but we've also grated it and had it on pizza. I think one gallon of raw milk (not including the cream we've skimmed off the top) makes about 12 to 15 ounces of Mozzarella cheese. On Sat. I actually made 5 recipes, so that took care of one day's milk!
I now have the ingredients to make things like cream cheese and sour cream, but it takes quite a bit of cream and we need to keep up a supply of butter, so I haven't tried those recipes yet.
Yesterday I used the actual buttermilk from making butter for the liquid portion of my whole wheat bread recipe, and that is very good as well. Little by little I am learning to use as much of the milk as I can. For the time being we are storing what I don't use of the whey in a barrel that will be frozen and used for our pigs when we get them in the spring.
I have also learned that recipes don't always tell the whole story.
I've been using Ricki Carroll's book, Home Cheese Making, and sometimes I really don't understand what she is trying to convey in her recipes. Finally after making about 4 recipes of the 30 Minute Mozzarella from the book I had an "aha!" moment, when I quit stirring and just watched what happened to the milk before it was heated to 100 degrees and time to take it off the stove to scoop out the curd. Then I understood what Ricki Carrol was trying to explain in the recipe.
To me, cheese making is not an exact science. When I started to make a batch of Mozzarella yesterday afternoon I was thinking of the Queso Blanco recipe and heated the milk too quickly and did some other things incorrectly -- and it turned out to be the best tasting of the bunch. I am constantly learning new things.
Last night I finished up a batch of Mysost. I've done quite a few batches of this type of cheese, but after I added the cream I sat down for a couple of minutes to check email messages and almost burned the ingredients in the pan. It must have been the cream that turned dark brown and formed chunks. I was upset with myself, since the stuff was cooking for a good part of the day on the back burner. I quickly strained the chunks out of the whey, cleaned up the pan, and placed it back on the burner. Thankfully the Mysost was salvaged, but it made me realize I haven't arrived yet and need to pay more attention to what I am doing.
For anyone that reads our sons' blogs this will be old information, but I'll tell you about our newest member of the Bartlett Farm.
Last week one of our younger goats kidded. It was another one of those very cold evenings, so we ended up bringing her into the house to warm up. We were up almost all night with her, taking turns holding her up to the blower on the wood stove to get her body temperature up.
Instead of using the syringe all the time, Jonathan and Jim got her to drink the freshly milked colostrum from a bowl.