In our Cultured Dairy and Basic Cheese eCourse (included with any membership), you can learn to make your own buttermilk, sour cream, cultured butter, yogurt, various cheeses and more. Even if you’re not taking the class, I hope this blog series will help and encourage you!
The topic of today’s post: my best 6 reasons for eating cultured dairy and cultured cheese. I brainstormed this list in about 30 seconds the other day — and here they are.
1. Gives Probiotics
Depending on what the cultured dairy food is, you’ll consume a range of beneficial bacteria and/or yeast. Kefir, arguably the leader, can contain up to 50-something beneficial strains! Those organisms colonize your gut, keeping pathogens in check and guarding against illness.
2. Improves Digestion
The beneficial organisms colonize your gut and help you get more nutrients from your food. The process of souring (or fermentation) breaks down casein, or milk protein. If the milk or cream was pasteurized in the beginning, culturing restores many of the enzymes that were destroyed. Those enzymes help the body absorb calcium and other minerals. Of particular interest is lactase, the enzyme which breaks down lactose, or milk sugar. Many people who are lactose-intolerant can likely eat cultured dairy, such as yogurt, without ill effects.
3. Adds Vitamins
Vitamin B and vitamin C content increases during the culturing or souring of dairy foods. Not much more to say about this! We can all use a good share of these each day.
4. Sours, Rather Than Spoils
When you start with raw milk*, cultured dairy sours over time, rather than spoils. You see, beneficial organisms are naturally present in the raw milk at the beginning, or more are added in the form of a mother culture. In either case, they colonize the milk and hold putrefying organisms in check. Over time, and under the right conditions (cool storage usually), this aging serves to increase the beneficial organism population and increase lactic acid — both of which are natural means of preservation. The “bad guys” don’t want to live in this acidic environment with lots of “good guys” around! And whether or not you care for it, this aging time also develops flavor. From an aged cheese, to a super-sour kefir, it’s all normal behavior with cultured dairy.
*There may be cultured dairy foods using pasteurized milk that last a long time — such as aged cheeses.
5. Tastes Great
So your family doesn’t care for sauerkraut. Yet. Well, with all the cultured dairy foods out there — cultured butter, buttermilk, sour cream, cheddar cheese, feta cheese, yogurt, kefir, piima, to name a few — your picky eater is bound to find something he/she likes! Let them eat it, and get all the immune and digestive system benefits it offers, including probiotics, vitamins, and enzymes.
6. Embraces God’s Design
Now the Bible doesn’t tell us that much about how to prepare our food, dairy included. But, God’s word does tell us how highly milk is regarded.
“And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey.” –Exodus 3:8
In that refrigerator-less, non-industrial promised land “flowing with milk and honey,” excess milk would have spontaneously soured and preserved itself. How did those beneficial organisms get in the milk in the beginning? God put them there.
Thanks be to Him that traditional peoples figured out how to make delicious fermented foods based on natural processes. They encouraged certain tasty strains to perpetuate — like the ones that make kefir, yogurt, and others, too. They fed their families fermented dairy foods, and passed the practices down generation to generation. And here we are today, getting uncivilized and learning from the age-old wisdom that fits hand-in-glove with God’s design.
Let’s Get Going!
So, there you have it. My best 6 reasons to get more cultured dairy in your life ASAP. I’ll be happy to help you! On February 1, we begin the Cultured Dairy and Basic Cheese eCourse. Through video and print, we will cover many cultured dairy topics, including: sour cream, buttermilk, butter, kefir, yogurt, soft cheese, cottage cheese, cheddar cheese, Middle Eastern fresh cheese, feta cheese, queso fresco cheese, mozarella cheese, and more! More details are here.
We begin on February 1, 2011. Consider yourself invited! Any membership at the eCourse gives access to this brand-new class and all its lessons; membership plans start out as little as $13 per month. You can start any time as we don’t close the doors, so if February isn’t the right time — just keep the idea on the back-burner.
What reasons would you add to this list? What’s your favorite cultured dairy food — either homemade or a good source?