It’s early spring, and the cows are coming to the end of their pregnancies here on the farm. That means that their milk production has been slowly waning over the past few weeks, and on Monday John stopped milking altogether. It’s a nice break for the cows and the farmers, a little respite before the calving begins and milking starts up again. In the weeks leading up to the cows drying off, we stopped the milk-truck pick-up, and began saving milk out to use for butter and yogurt.
Edge and I have been separating the milk and making butter, and Ben has helped with making yogurt from the skimmed milk. Even though we won’t have milk to drink until early May, we will have farm fresh butter and yogurt.
Making butter and yogurt is simple, and all you need is milk (and some culture for the yogurt).
For butter: Separate cream; whip or beat at room temperature until the cream separates into buttermilk and butter; drain off buttermilk (this can be saved for pancakes and other treats); run the butter under cold water and knead it as you would bread to get the remaining buttermilk out–clear water should squeeze out of the butter when you are done; add salt as desired; put into butter molds or form it yourself; eat! Since we used raw milk for our butter, we are storing it in the freezer, where it will keep until we are ready to use it.
For yogurt: heat milk to 180 degrees F; let cool to around 110 degrees F; scoop a small amount of milk into a bowl and add the culture (you can also use yogurt as your culture–3 Tbs to one gallon of milk) to the bowl; thoroughly mix culture and milk and add this mixture back into the rest of the milk; pour milk w/culture into jars; store jars in an insulated box, a cooler with warm water, or any other device to help regulate the temperature, and store for around 6 hours; remove yogurt and put into fridge; when yogurt is cooled, take a spoon, scoop some out and enjoy!
Unfortunately, because of dairy processing laws, we cannot sell our butter or yogurt, but we encourage you to make some at home. To get hands-on instruction, check out one of Rural Vermont’s Raw Milk Processing Workshops. Happy eating!