Sunday, February 9, 2014

Exploring the Uses of Raw Milk

As I mentioned previously in Obtaining Raw Milk via a Herd Share, we joined a herd share about a month ago. Since then we have been enjoying the many uses of raw milk, as Andrea has experimented with making various products that we previously had to buy.

When raw milk is allowed to settle, the cream separates and rises to the top. This can either be skimmed off, and used in place of heavy whipping cream, or mixed back into the milk by shaking it. The lady who runs the herd shares indicated that some of her customers like the richer taste of the milk without removing the cream, but we've found sufficient uses for the cream that we've been removing it so far.

The first thing that Andrea made from the cream was an Alfredo sauce, which we had with some homemade pasta. The sauce was delicious, but homemade sauce is not something we have regularly, so I can't really judge how much of a role the fresh creamed played in the way it turned out.

Next Andrea decided to make some butter from the cream. I had no idea how simple it was to make homemade butter, especially if an electric stand mixer is used. The first taste of the homemade butter was on fresh from the oven homemade bread, which was an incredible combination. We gave up margarine long ago, and like to use locally produced butter whenever possible. I think homemade is better than even the locally produced stuff, though, but I'm likely biased. I've been told that making homemade butter from store-bought heavy cream is also quite tasty, and preferable to store-bought butter.

Andrea has also began experimenting with cheese-making. She has made ricotta a couple of times, which we've used in calzones, a baked pasta dish with alfredo sauce, and most recently cheese filled ravioli. The last batch that was used in the ravioli had a bit of an off taste, which she attributed to the vinegar that was used. More experimentation is needed, which just means more tasty foods to eat.

She has also made homemade mozzarella, which is nothing like the shredded pizza cheese most people are accustom to. We like to buy fresh mozzarella, so were able to compare the homemade version to that. The homemade cheese was easily as good as the store-bought fresh cheese, and can't even be compared to the pre-shredded stuff that you find in most grocery stores. The homemade mozzarella was tasty to eat by itself, and wonderful in calzones.

Andrea hopes to experiment more with cheese-making in the future. She also plans to experiment with either making yogurt or kefir, which I'll integrate into my morning smoothies. We typically have about half a gallon of milk left over each week for experimenting with, so she should have ample opportunity to try out everything she wants.

Raw milk is not required for making dairy products. There are, however, advantages to using raw milk instead of pasteurized. Of course there are risks as well. There is much disagreement over the seriousness of those risks. I urge everyone to do his/her own research and decide whether or not to try raw milk, whether for drinking, cooking, or making cheese, butter, etc.


  1. Thanks for your post. I recently posted on your first "herdshare" post. I am curious if you know the breed of cows your milk is coming from. I have read some interesting articles about milk proteins in A1 vs A2 breeds.

    1. The milk comes from Jersey cows. I don't know anything more than, that, unfortunately, though.