How do you use fresh milk in the kitchen? Owning a milk cow is such a rewarding experience. Farm-Fresh milk every day is the reward of diligent work on the homestead. Self-sufficiency gives you peace of mind. You know exactly where your milk comes from. In addition, you have a faithful, gentle cow companion.
However, you can often feel overwhelmed with all the milk your cow is producing. Your refrigerator is overflowing with pitchers of milk, jars of cream, buttermilk, and other various stages of milk. I am going to help you establish a kitchen milk routine to keep your kitchen a smooth-running milking machine.
4 Elements of a Kitchen Milk Routine
There are 4 elements to establishing a kitchen milk routine. Starting with the right tools in the barn and in the kitchen, establishing a daily kitchen routine, and learning new skills to make dairy products in your kitchen to utilize your farm-fresh milk.
Barn milking Equipment
The first step to an effective milk routine is the right equipment in the barn. If you have the setup and the budget, a bucket milker is makes milking so much easier than milking by hand. If not, milking by hand is difficult, time-consuming, but definitely an option.
Once you have milked the cow, a strainer, milk can, and filters are also necessary. However, there are frugal DIY options such as a kitchen funnel, cheesecloth or old t-shirt, and quart jars. You can read more about milking a cow in two posts: 5 Questions to Ask Before Keeping a Family Milk Cow and Owning a Family Milk Cow – Is it Worth the Commitment?
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Kitchen Milk Tools
The next step is to use a kitchen ladle, canning funnel, and quart jar (I prefer wide-mouth for easy clean up) to skim the cream from the milk. Using the ladle, I gentle scoop down about 2 inches and capture the cream. I pour it into my quart jar with the funnel on top to prevent spilling. I continue this process until I have skimmed a quart of cream. I stir the remaining cream down into the pitcher.
I cover the quart jar of cream and label it with the date. I put in the refrigerator behind the other jars of cream. That way, the oldest cream is in the front of the refrigerator. I also return the pitcher of milk to the refrigerator.
Establish a kitchen milk routine
In order to establish a kitchen milk routine, you need to brainstorm the ways you currently use your milk and ways you would like to use your milk. For example, I have 5 growing children that drink a lot of milk, probably a gallon every other or every 3 days. Since I follow Trim Healthy Mama, I do not drink milk. However, I do consume a lot of dairy products such as heavy cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, cream cheese, butter, and kefir.
However, if you are new to making your own fresh dairy products, you can feel overwhelmed. My advice is to master one dairy product at a time. I have given you a list of simple to more difficult dairy products.
Separate the Cream from the Milk
As mentioned above, the first step to utilizing your milk is to separate the cream from the milk. Sure, you can stir the cream down each time you drink milk. However, we have a Jersey cow and her butterfat content is super high. If we were to drink her milk unskimmed, it would leave a thick film of cream in your mouth. Yuck! Holsteins and other breeds have less butterfat content and can be drunk straight. Since you do not have a homogenizer, you will need to stir the milk each time you drink it to mix the cream because the cream naturally rises to the top.
Learn how to make milk products
The key to effectively and efficiently developing a farm-fresh milk routine is to avoid overwhelm. How do you avoid overwhelm? Taking it slow and not trying to learn how to make every dairy product all at once. Learn and master one product at a time. Here is a list of dairy products you can make in your kitchen starting with the easiest getting harder as the list goes on.
How to make whipped cream
Making whipped cream is probably the easiest milk product to make. Just put in the blender and turn it on. The trick is listening for the change in sound and stopping the blender before it turns into butter. It takes some experience to know exactly when to stop. However, the nice thing is that if you don’t stop in time, you can just make butter instead.
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp vanilla optional
- Sweetener of choice to taste
- Put the heavy cream ( and vanilla and sweetener, if using) into a high-powered blender such as a Vitamix.
- Turn on LOW and quickly increase the speed to about 7.
- Watch carefully, and you will SEE when it stops sloshing around as a liquid at the same time you HEAR the change in the noise the blender is making.
- After only about 10 seconds, it’s done! Stop then, or you’ll have butter!
How to Make Butter
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1 tsp salt
- Place cream into the Vitamix container (or other high powered blender) and secure lid.
- Turn machine on and slowly increase speed to High.
- Blend until the mixture is thick and you hear a change in the sound of the machine.
- Stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the container with a spatula to bring ingredients into the center of the container
- Turn machine on and blend for 5 seconds, stop and scrape sides again.
- Repeat this process several times until you see the mixture start to flow easier and fluid appears.
- Blend for a few more seconds until solid butter sets up in center of container on top of blades.
- Place butter in a fine strainer to drain. (Save liquid. This is buttermilk)
- Work butter with a spatula to remove as much liquid as possible.
- Remove butter to a bowl and add salt to taste
- Store in an airtight container.
How to Make ButterMilk
If you make butter, you have just made buttermilk. Traditionally, buttermilk is the byproduct of making butter. When milk was churned, the solids would separate from the liquid. The solids became butter and the resulting liquid came to be known as buttermilk. The reason for its name: it’s the milk leftover after making butter.
One of my favorite recipes to make is Grandma’s Oatmeal Pancakes using the buttermilk from making butter.
Grandma’s Oatmeal Pancakes
- 1.5 Cups White flour All white or wheat is fine
- 1.5 Cups Wheat flour I use fresh ground
- 3 Cups Butter milk Regular milk is fine
- 3 Whole Eggs
- 1/3 Cup Brown sugar Honey can be subbed
- 2 Tsp Baking soda
- 2 Cups oats Quick or old fashioned
- 1/3 Cup Butter, melted Coconut oil can be subbed
- Mix all ingredients in a mixer. I use a kitchen Aid Professional 6 (which I love!)
- Pour 1/4 cup batter on a hot griddle. Sprinkle add ins, if using.*
- Cook until bubbles form, flip, and remove from griddle when golden brown.
- *The add ins are endless. My children love chocolate chips. I prefer blueberries. I have also thinly sliced apples during apple season and added a tsp. of cinnamon to the batter.
How to make yogurt
One of my favorite ways to use milk is to make yogurt. It is so frugal and so easy. I make yogurt once or twice a week. It makes a great breakfast, snack, or dessert. Making yogurt in the Instant Pot is so simple. It is the easiest way to make yogurt because you do not have to monitor the temperature. You can find a wonderful tutorial about how to make yogurt in the Instant Pot here.
Here are Two Recipes using Homemade Yogurt
Yogurt, Oats, and Berry Bowl – Trim Healthy Mama (E)
- 3/4 Cup Yogurt, Plain
- 1/2 cup Berries blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, fresh or frozen
- 1/2 cup Oats old-fashioned
- 1 donk stevia or another on-plan sweetener, to taste
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl
- Stir until blended
Overly Easy Overnight Oats
- 1/2 Cup Oats
- 1/2 Cup Yogurt, Greek style Homemade is fine
- 1 Tbsp Chia seeds
- 1/2 Cup Milk, almond or regular
- 1/2 Tsp Vanilla extract
- Sweetener to taste
- 3/4 Cup Berries or other fruit Frozen is fine
- Add ingredients in order listed starting with oats to a pint mason jar. Stir ingredients together.
- Cover Jar
- Shake jar. It is ok if ingredients do not mix completely.
- Store jar in refrigerator overnight
- In the morning, stir contents of jar with a spoon and enjoy!
How to make Kefir
Kefir is similar to yogurt in that it is a fermented recipe. However, the process is different. Kefir is gaining popularity with good reason. It is very healthy, but it can be expensive. You can make it at home almost for free. You will just need to buy the initial kefir grains.
- 1 Quart Raw Milk
- 1 Tbsp Kefir Grains
- Put your kefir grains into a clean glass quart jar.
- Add milk
- Cover jar with a cloth to keep fruit flies and other objects out of your jar. Secure the cloth with a rubber band.
- Leave the jar out at room temperature for about 24 hours.
- Check the kefir after 24 hours. It should be thicker than milk, but not as thick as yogurt. If you don’t think it’s done, leave it out for another 12 to 24 hours until it appears finished. The cooler your kitchen, the longer it will take.
- When your kefir is finished, pour it into a strainer to strain. I use a small plastic strainer set inside a canning funnel over a quart jar.
- Gently stir the kefir to move through the strainer. When you’re finished, all your finished kefir will be in the jar while your grains will be left in the strainer.
- Put the grains into a new jar and add more milk to start a new batch of kefir.
- Store the strained kefir in the fridge.
I hope you take the time to learn how to make whipped cream, butter, buttermilk, yogurt, and kefir. I also hope you try each one of these recipes. These are the simple and basic dairy products you can make in your kitchen to utilize your fresh milk. Stay tuned for future recipes for more adventurous, complex dairy products to make with your farm-fresh milk.
What about you? How do you use your farm-fresh milk in the kitchen? How do you prevent getting overwhelmed with all the milk? What dairy product would you like to make next? Let me know in the comments.