We’ve Got Cream Cheese!

This time in Thailand for us is all about experimentation. There’s roominess here – we have affordable childcare, flexible work schedules and are living on a few beautiful acres of orchard not our own. There’s less accountability and less personal investment than we want to have in the future, but for now, we’re hoping to use this time for a bit of trial and error.

So on that note, I found a small farm in our area that delivers raw milk. We don’t typically drink cows milk and haven’t for many years. So why would I want 5 gallons of raw milk delivered to our door?

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Well, a few reasons.

1. Almond, rice, or coconut milk have been our go-to’s for cereal and baking but in the future we’d like to avoid the processing and packaging and raise our own or trade for local milk. I like that it is real food straight from a natural local source and wanted to see what I could do with it.

2. Raw milk is a very versatile ingredient! And I was shocked to find out that raw milk doesn’t spoil like pasteurized milk. We still buy and use cheese, yogurt and butter in our meals so I want to see what I can make instead of buy.

3. It’s very affordable. $4.30 for 5L. The cheapest rice milk equivalent we’ve found is $6.50 for the same amount and comes in 1L non-recyclable tetra packs. I’m not sure how healthy it is. Cheese, butter and yogurt are all luxuries here at Western prices.

I did a lot of research beforehand and I really appreciated this article by Food Renegade. It helped my brain and worries to look at the actual statistics and comparisons of illness incidents vs. benefits of raw milk consumption, even though I know I grew up surrounded by healthy farmers and families drinking raw milk. Although our baby girl is strictly sticking to her mama’s milk for now, for the grown ups I’m excited to do some experimentation. I started with the simplest of projects.

1. Yogurt
2. Cream Cheese
3. Butter

So far my main success is in making cream cheese. It’s so simple it’s almost funny. Literally, you take soured raw milk leave it out in a jar for 24 hours or more and then strain it through cheesecloth! It works that easily and is delicious on crackers.

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Yogurt has been a bit tricky. I used the rice cooker as a double boiler because we don’t have a large oven here and I succeeded in creating a yogurt-like texture but there is no sourness to it. It just tastes like thick milk. I ended up making a great pasta sauce with the botched yogurt but it was odd. I haven’t tried again yet.

For my one attempt at making butter, I had a hard time skimming the cream off the top of the milk and I think I got too much milk along with the cream because I had the blender running for so long until I thought it might burn out and the cream would not break! I kept waiting for the magical moment when it would start to clump together but it just didn’t happen. I hate to solve problems with products but I may need to invest in something like the turkey baster that I heard would help because in our house, cream cheese is a luxury, but butter is a staple.

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