2/25/2009

Princess & the Holsteins




These Holstein playmates are only a month older than Princess who is 1/2 Standard 1/2 Miniature Jersey. Notice the big difference in height.

2/23/2009

More About Clabber, Cultured Buttermilk, Curds & Whey

I received the following excellent comment from a blog reader and thought I would take this post to elaborate:

"I think you're wrong about clabber being the same as buttermilk. Buttermilk is the liquid left over from making butter out of cultured cream. Clabber is the curds formed when whole milk is left out for 24 or more hours. Curds and whey - the curds are the clabber."


You are absolutely right. Cultured buttermilk is the liquid left when one makes butter from cultured cream. Ironically, most recipes I have found for making cultured butter require adding a bit of cultured buttermilk to the cream to get the required bacteria started. (Personally, I don't like butter made from cultured cream and make my butter from sweet cream.)

To differentiate between the two types of buttermilk, the milk left over after making butter from sweet cream is called buttermilk. The liquid left after making cultured butter is cultured buttermilk. The buttermilk that one buys in the grocery store is cultured buttermilk.

To address the second part of this.........yes, clabber is made when raw (unpasteurized) milk is left at room temperature and forms a solid mass as good bacteria begins to do it's job. The curd will seperate from the whey and you have curds and whey!

Now, here is the fun part! It took me a while to put all of this together but when I did, it was such a revelation for me. From Faunkhauser's Cheese page I have taken the following recipe for making home-made buttermilk:

MAKING CULTURED BUTTERMILK FROM SCRATCH
Allow a cup of filtered fresh raw milk to sit covered at room temperature until it has clabbered (usually several days).
Place 1/4 cup of the clabbered milk in a pint mason jar, add a cupof fresh milk (does not have to be raw at this point), cover, shake to mix, allow to sit at room temperature until clabbered.
Repeat this transfer of sub-culturing several more times until the milk dependably clabbers in 24 hours. Taste a small amount to confirm that it is tart, thickened, and has no off flavors. It should taste tart not bitter, for instance.
To then make a quart of buttermilk with this culture, add 6 ounces of the buttermilk to a quart jar, fill with fresh milk, cover, shake to mix, allow to sit at room temperature until clabbered.
Refrigerate.


http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/BUTTERMILK.HTM


I seem to have ideal conditions in my house for making clabber and can clabber raw milk in 24-48 hours. The clabber I make has good taste with no off flavors. Should one experiment and find that their beginning clabber has a bitter or "off" taste or if it takes longer than 24-48 hours to clabber, then I would suggest using Faunkhauser's method above. What Faunkhauser describes is simply taking a bit of your clabber and using it to start another batch until you get the desired taste.

Once you have the taste you are looking for in your clabber/buttermilk then you can use that in the place of mesophilic culture to make cheese.

I will say that cheese making is first of all a science and then an art. If you are looking to duplicate your cheese exactly each time you make it, then you are better off to go with a commercial mesophilic culture.

For myself, I enjoy knowing that I can make my own starter and not have to rely on a cheese making supply store.




2/21/2009

A dedication to Alissa











There's a hero
If you look inside your heart
You don't have to be afraid
Of what you are

There's an answer
If you reach into your soul
And the sorrow that you know
Will melt away

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

It's a long road
When you face the world alone
No one reaches out a hand
For you to hold

You can find love
If you search within yourself
And the emptiness you felt
Will disappear

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you

Lord knows
Dreams are hard to follow
But don't let anyone
Tear them away

Hold on
There will be tomorrow
In time
You'll find the way

And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you


I love you, Alissa! There is a hero inside of you.

Mom

2/17/2009

Dixie and Calves Find a New Home


Dixie, the Jersey, is a sweet, sweet girl. She has been nursing her own calf and three others for me a total of three months since she freshened. She is also a sweetheart in the stanchion.


I believe it was a "God-thing" when last Friday Mike was getting some hay for an established hay buyer that live right down the road from us. She and Mike were talking and she was interested in getting another Jersey. She had owned Jerseys in the past and loved them dearly but had to give them up because of some bumps she encountered on the road of life. The time was right for her to replace her Jerseys and she was interested in seeing my girls. She was also interested in the two steer calves that we had for sale. Mike and I talked about it and I felt that this was meant to be and that this lady would give Dixie a wonderful home. So, we settled on a price for Dixie and the two calves and Monday we delivered them to their new home.


In case I needed any confirmation that it was the right thing to do, my feelings were validated when the lady impulsively threw her arms around my neck, gave me the biggest hug, and said, "Thank you. Thank you Tammy for my Jersey".


Of course I cried when I left them there, but I know they have a wonderful home and they live just down the road from the farm. I will be able to visit them anytime.


So with five of my animals (one cow, two heifers, and two steers) going to new homes in a matter of three days, I am left feeling the "empty nest". Mike is worried about how I am going to fill it up again!

2/14/2009

It's Hard to Let Them Go




I must be the craziest person in the world. I love animals but I just can't keep them all. I have to sell some of them from time to time. I try to find the very best homes for them, but I still can't help but feel tremendously sad when I see them go. I take care of them every day and love on them. I won't even go anywhere because I am worried that someone else won't take care of them like I would.
Today, Scarlette and Sugar left for their new home in West Virginia. I know that they will be loved and well taken care of, but I can't help but be sad. It was all I could do to keep from crying when they went down the road in that trailer!
I have more of my babies leaving Monday, but I will save the details until then.

2/10/2009

Spencer & Willie


Willie is what I call the last male puppy from the last litter that Hope had. Willie is going to Missouri to live as soon as he can get a ride. In the mean time, here he is with his best buddy, Spencer!

2/09/2009

Miracle Butter


Some of you may remember that my cow, Butter Cupp, went down a while back. We never did find out what was wrong with her, but we suspect an injury of some sort. After lifting her with a hip lift and slowly nursing her back to health, she has been going strong every since. We were not even able to milk her for a few days because we could not get her up. She did not develop mastitis and has gone from almost nothing back to 3-4 gallons a day. She really is a miracle girl. Today, just topped everything. I had the vet out for a routine type visit and while he was here, I had him palpate Butter. I assumed that being short bred when she went down, that she probably lost the calf. However, the Vet confirmed today that she is about three months pregnant!
Also, my little heifer Nelly was confirmed pregnant and she is about four months along!
Time to start thinking of baby names!
(Picture of Butter and her BFF Dixie taken last summer.)

Memories of Shaved Heads, Black Olives & Boiled Eggs

It's funny the memories that come at the strangest times and the overwhelming grief ensued.

Shaved heads.

Fuzzy, closely shaved heads.

Josh always wore his hair short and I loved to rub his head. "Awe, Mom, do you have to rub my head?""Yes," I would reply. I HAVE to rub your fuzzy head. He would roll his eyes but smile. I would smile. I miss rubbing that fuzzy head.

Ripe Olives.

He called them "thumbs". When he was little, he would place them carefully on each finger and then eat them off, one at a time. He didn't know they were called "olives", he simply called them "thumbs". As a teenager, he would still do this trick and I would roll my eyes and he would smile.

Boiled eggs.

Josh didn't liked them deviled, but loved them boiled and whole. Every plate of eggs I made, I left a few whole in the center just for Josh. I made deviled eggs this weekend, but there was no one here to eat the whole ones.

I miss you, buddy. I miss you so much!

2/05/2009

Locally Grown Lasagna

We had Lasagna for supper tonight and it was such a great feeling knowing that most of it was made from scratch and home-grown! The hamburger was from our own beef herd and I made the sauce from tomatoes I had canned this past summer. I included three types of cheese that I made from the milk from our Jersey cows..........cottage cheese, ricotta and Derby. I also made some home-made bread using our milk, butter and honey from the bees on our farm. Delicious!
.

2/04/2009

Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese/ Queso Blanco








Recipe makes about four cups of cheese.

Ingredients:

One gallon of milk (whole or skim)
1/2 cup vinegar (white or apple cider)

~In large pot,heat the milk until foam forms around the edges and the milk is steaming, almost to boiling. (If you don't heat the milk sufficiently, the curds will wad up and resemble mozzarella.)

~Remove from heat, pour in the vinegar and stir until the curds separate from the whey.

~Drain curds in a colander.

~You may use the curds as they are, whip them in a blender to make them smooth (adding a little of the whey back to get the right consistency), or shape into a ball to serve as table cheese.

~I like to salt my curds. Ricotta also freezes well. You can add herbs/spices to your liking to make a nice cracker spread from the Ricotta cheese.

Edited 4/24/2010: It recently came to my attention that in spite of the fact that this recipe was listed as "Whole Milk Ricotta" and that I have been calling it Ricotta for over a year now, it is actually Queso Blanco. I have also read where folks use lemon juice instead of vinegar to make this cheese.

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