I was recently let in on a little secret, and I now have a source for fresh, raw whole milk! It’s only a short drive through the countryside from my home to the dairy. We pulled up bottles in hand, turned the handle and fresh milk started flowing faster than I could blink and before I knew it I had a gallon and a half of milk! We put our money in the cabinet, and went merrily on our way back home, after waving good-bye to the Holsteins in the field.
It was an exciting moment as we slipped away with our contraband milk. My friends have started making cheeses – aged cheddar and colby, and quick mozzarella. I made yogurt and rice pudding. Its nice knowing that I’m directly supporting a third generation dairy farmer. I think the slightly illegal aspect of the whole deal gave a nice tang to my yogurt, and sweetened the pudding just enough! Although, it’s not necessarily legal to sell un-pasteurized, un-homogenized milk for human consumption in NC (only for pet food) there are still some folks out there who realize the ridiculous-ness of that and just keep right on selling it. I’m grateful for you folks. Thats milk the way it should be.
Milk that is un-tampered with is chock-full of all sorts of beneficial bacteria, fats and enzymes. The pasteurization process destroys the good bacteria, and homogenization and skimming removes the fats that are vital for our bodies to break down the proteins and nutrients in the milk. Not to say that you can’t ever get sick from raw milk, but you’re just as likely to get sick from produce from the grocery store these days as you are from raw milk. If the farmer milks properly, there is little risk of other possibly harmful bacteria being introduced to the milk. Herein lies the beauty of buying directly from a farmer, you can personally ask them how they handle their milk, what they feed the cows, and see the facilities. You can see how the cows live – out on pasture, or cooped up in a dirt lot all day. And this personal relationship helps create a sense of accountability for the farmer to live up to expectations of his/her customers, as well as foster a willingness for the customer to pay a fair price to the farmer for what they produce.
So I’ve got two recipes today that are great for when you have lots of milk! Well one’s not so much a recipe as a process. But here ya go!
Rice Pudding (adapted from Bon Appetit March 2009)
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup basmati rice (all I had was brown)
1/4 tsp. salt
3 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream (since my milk was un-homogenized and the cream naturally separated out I just added a 4th cup of milk)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla bean, split lengthwise (or 1 tsp vanilla extract added at the end)
1 or 1/2 cinnamon stick (depending on what you like)
pinch of nutmeg
1. Bring water, rice and salt to a boil on medium-high heat in a thick-bottomed sauce pan. Reduce to low cover, and let simmer until water is absorbed.
2. Add milk, cream and sugar. Scrape in seeds from vanilla bean; add bean, cinnamon stick, and nutmeg.
3. Increase heat to medium; cook uncovered until rice is tender and mixture thickens – about 35 minutes. Stir frequently, to keep from scorching, especially toward the end. Let cool, and then keep refrigerated.
Alright, so this isn’t much of a recipe but its nice to know that yogurt can be made easily in your own home. One less thing to buy, and you always know exactly what ingredients go into it because you added them – unlike some brands from the grocery store with countless unpronounceable ingredients.
I was lucky enough to inherit a yogurt incubator from my darlin’s mother. Thank you Susan! I’m still trying to figure out how to get the consistency right, mine keeps turning out a bit grainy and not very firm. But it’s doing the job and once I add blueberry sauce, or vanilla, honey and granola I can’t tell one bit.
Bring 1 quart of milk to boiling point or 180 degrees F. Then let cool down to 108-112 degrees F.
Incubate 4 to 4 1/2 hours, or until yogurt has reached desired thickness.