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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Butter Making

Up until recently we have been making unsalted sweet butter from our surplus cream. Sweet meaning it is not cultured or salted. It is kept in the freezer and a batch defrosted as needed. Small inexpensive plastic containers are best and if care is taken not to damage them they can be re-used many many times and if damaged recycled. Occasionally we come across freezable glass containers which we buy as well but they always have plastic lids. Each container has a scrap of paper taped on with the date.

Some months ago we tried a cultured butter from a small butter maker in Victoria. This led onto culturing our cream and trying to make the same flavour. The recipe is in the Cheeselinks book and the starter was one we keep for cheese making (B Flora). Being raw cream it did need some experimentation to ascertain the best culturing time. A lot depends on the cream harvested that day and the ambient temperature. Fairly easy to decide when to churn just by tasting. If you want to be technical pH should be 4.6 and the temperature at 8 degrees Celsius.

Once an acceptable flavour or the technical measurements are met the churning is done. It is a lot quicker with cultured cream. Our churn is a cheap food processor using the plastic mixing blade. The speed is set to just below half and it all happens quite quickly after that.

This is all done in what we call the La Cave when making wine so supposedly it should be called the the Dairy Room when making butter. On the other hand it is also where keep the bulk food supplies so therefore the Pantry. And the Onions, Garlic, Nuts and Turmeric are in drying racks so therefore the drying room. The main reason for doing it out there is because it can be a noisy operation when the food processor is doing multiple batches.

We collect our 20 litres of milk every 3-5 days. Each time it is settled in a 25 litre stainless steel pot overnight in the spare refrigerator. The cream rises to the top and is skimmed off. If Camembert or one of the creamy blues is on the cards then some milk is drained off for other usage and the cream added back to make a double and sometimes triple cream Camembert or a very rich soft creamy blue cheese. Every now and then some of it goes towards making some ice cream.

We use raw milk in tea and coffee and for the cats and dogs. We found over the last decade that the raw milk keeps better than the bought stuff. The longest period was 10 days before there was an obvious souring and the milk would curdle in hot tea. The important thing is to chill it as quickly as possible after collection. The Somatic Cell Count also effects its keeping qualities. Raw milk cheeses tend to ripen quicker than pasteurised and have more complex flavours and sensory attributes due to the indigenous micro flora. Our supplier posts the laboratory tests for Somatic Cell Count and Total Platelet Count in the vat room every 2nd day. Knowing the quality of the milk provides the confidence to use it as we do.
Inexpensive and aging Food Processor

Home Made Butter Paddles from Recycled Pallets Dressed with Olive Oil

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