What I Have Learned about Raw Milk, with Recipes

Willow looked on the heavy (whipping) cream container yesterday. Do you know they put mono- and diglycerides in it? Also polysorbate 80. Good lord!

Real Cream

Ok, I did a little research, and now Ii know that’s because real cream won’t easily whip and hold its peak unless it’s very chilled; and some individual cows – even from heavy cream cow breeds like jerseys – don’t produce milk with enough butter fat to make a good whipped cream. the chemicals fix those little problems. I get it. It works for the dairy industry and the supermarket chains.

But I’m not getting any more commercially prepared heavy whipping cream. Looks like I’ll have to separate my own from the raw, non-homogenized milk I buy from a nearby dairy – because coffee (or black tea, for that matter) is not ready for drinking until it has a dash – or a dollop – of cream in it.

Pasteurization of milk only became necessary in the mid-19th century, as a result of the rise of commercial, city-based dairy operations in which cows were kept in crowded, dirty conditions and fed all-grain diets rather than having access to free range grass. The combination produced nutritionally-inferior milk and the risk of infection due to milking cows who had feces stuck to, and dripping from, their hind quarters. Can anyone say “duh”? Again, it works for the commercial producers and chain stores, but pasteurizing milk kills the enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and micronutrients that have nourished the human body for millennia, and without which our bodies suffer from weaker bones, poorer joint function, more stomach ailments, weaker organs, and osteoporosis.

Separating Out the Cream

The best method for separating out the cream that I’ve read so far: pour the fresh milk into a container that has a spout at the bottom – like an iced tea jar. Let it set 24 hours to separate, then draw off the milk from the bottom. If you see a layer of yellow cream, draw that off separately – it’s half-and-half. What remains, the very top, white layer, is heavy cream.

Making Real Whipped Cream, Butter, and Buttermilk

Make sure the cream is well chilled, then whip it for toppings. Continue to whip it (or put it in a clean jar and have a child shake it for 15 minutes) for butter.

If you put the well-chilled butter in a bowl and press it, you’ll press out a milky water. That’s buttermilk.

Curds and Whey

I know from experience that if you leave raw, non-homogenized milk on a counter for 24 hours or so, it will separate into curds and whey. Whey keeps practically forever in mason jars in the refrigerator and is a great starter for sauerkraut or other fermentations. It’s also really refreshing to drink – a bit lemony at full strength, imo – and nutritious. Whey is recommended for upset stomachs: a tablespoon in a glass of warm water in the morning. It restores the enzymes and bacteria that aid digestion and promote healthy bowels.

Real Cream Cheese

The curds can be drained through a cheesecloth to produce cream cheese. My experimental batch was a bit crumbly, but I suspect the creamy nature of commercially produced cream cheese is due to the added stabilizers (carob bean, xanathan, and/or guar gums – none of which are particularly harmful) that I don’t want, or has to do with the cream content – or is due to my inexperience. More experimentation is called for.

Why Fermented Milk is Better

Slightly fermented milk, and products, provide additional nutrients over non-fermented milk – notably, the enzymes fermentation releases from milk protein (casein) that help build and keep healthy bodies. Fermentation also breaks down lactose, making fermented milks, like yoghurt, edible for people who are truly lactose intolerant – as opposed to allergic to milk protein (casein). Fermentation breaks down lactose into lactic acid, and produces the enzyme lactase, which helps digest lactose in the intestine, reducing lactose reactions.

People who are not lactose intolerant, but allergic to milk protein, may be able to eat homemade cream cheese and drink heavy cream because they contain very little milk protein.

Single Cream, Double Cream

In England, cream connoisseurs used to distinguish between “single cream” and “double cream.” Single cream is created by pouring fresh, raw milk into pans not more than 4″ deep, placing it in a refrigerator and letting it separate for 12 hours. The resulting cream is then skimmed off the top.

Double cream comes from separating for 24 hours. I’ll have to try the differences. I suspect the single cream may be what we would call light cream, and the double may be our heavy cream.

Pasteurized Milk is Dead

You cannot ferment pasteurized milk. The enzymes have been killed by the heat. All you’ll get for letting commercial milk sit on your counter is putrifying milk. It is not healthy for your body; it’s a toxin, and smells like it. For me, that says everything about how nutritionally dead and unusable is commercial milk.


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