Free Video: Divvying Up The Morning Milk

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Every morning, I’ve got big choices to make: what to do with the 2-1/2 to 3+ gallons of raw Jersey milk I bring in from the barn. With limited refrigerator space, most of the milk’s gotta be turned into something almost right away.

I feel for the people who have 10s of gallons each day! I think I might go crazy. Just the yield from one milking of a first-time milker is as much as I want to handle. :)

Anyway, last week I turned on the video camera while splitting up one morning’s milk — so I could show you what I did with it. Not every day is the same, but I’d say this one was fairly typical. I also talked a little bit about my barn routine that saves me time and mess in the kitchen.

By the way, in the video when I said “wide mouth filter” I really meant “wide mouth funnel”.

From that day’s almost 3 gallons of milk, I:

  • set 1 gallon to clabber — spontaneously sour
  • set the creamiest 1 gallon to make Middle Eastern cheese
  • set 1/2 gallon to make kefir
  • put 6 cups in the fridge for drinking

If I was making feta or cheddar cheese, I would have used 2 gallons or more. Middle Eastern cheese is hard to handle using lots of milk, which is why I kept the amount to only 1 gallon.

Some days I don’t or can’t make cheese at all! But then the milk really piles up in the fridge and I have to make cheese for three or four days straight to catch up.

You can view video demonstrations and download print tutorials on how to make all these cultured dairy foods in the Cultured Dairy & Basic Cheese eCourse. I’m adding the Middle Eastern cheese method tomorrow!

If you’re in a similar position — perhaps with gallons of milk to designate for various purposes each day — please share how you divvy up your milk each day! I’m super curious.

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I shared this post with Simple Lives Thursday.

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Comments

  1. says

    Thanks for this video, Wardee. Our cow will freshen in July and I’m gearing up for lots of milk!
    Quick question: is that a 5 gallon bucket, and where did you find the cool lid for it? Still haven’t found a milking bucket I really love, yet!
    Thanks for this great video! :)

    • says

      Jill — I can definitely help with that! My bucket is a 13 quart, and I got it and the lid at Homesteader Supply. Jerri, the owner, is awesome and carries really high quality stuff. I also got the gold filter from her as well as other cheesemaking supplies. She’s got a range of sizes of the same type of bucket. It is EXCELLENT quality. I got the 13 quart because it is not too big to use with goats but still big enough to use for a Jersey cow (typically lower yields than modern cows, as I’m sure you know). Congrats on your upcoming cow freshening!

  2. says

    These posts always make me wish I had a cow! I have ten kids and if I had a cow I would not have to limit the kids quite so much on milk drinking. They LOVE milk! But I live in the city and I am not even allowed goats or chickens. Too bad. I think we need to petition for it.

    But I love seeing how you handle things like this. I can live vicariously through your videos.

    • says

      Ah, Melissa. I feel for you! There are so many people in the same boat and it is a shame that some local governments are so restrictive to traditional living. I have heard of cities allowing goats and chickens after petitions, so maybe there’s hope — at least for smaller animals someday.

  3. Pam Groom says

    Thanks for this glimpse into your kitchen. It reminds me of learning about how milk was handled during the time of Lyndon B Johnson. We went to a “living history” kind of farm called LBJ Farm In Texas. It was the original home/farm of Lyndon B Johnson growing up. In the kitchen, the costumed historian had milk in 3-4 stages laid out for us to see. New milk was consumed as desired fresh and the leftovers were let to clabber and incorporated into cornbread (I believe) the next day. Day 3 and 4 milk clabbered longer was fried in a pan like cheese and eaten to complement whatever else was being consumed. There was no fancy culturing and milk that went too far was fed to the chickens. It was fascinating to see how they worked without refrigeration! The historian also said that lunch was the main meal of the day so that leftovers could be consumed the same day for dinner to prevent waste.
    Pam

    • says

      Pam — Thanks for sharing all that. I’m really interested in the frying of clabbered cheese — though it would kill all the good guys, I’m curious how it would taste. I love hearing how people handled all the milk without refrigeration. And how they ate well without keeping a fridge full of leftovers.

  4. RobinP says

    We get over 10 gallons a day from our two Jersey girls. Honestly, some days (like yesterday) I feel like I’m going to pull my hair out. I have a sink, counter top and separate fridge in the basement so I bring the milk in to strain and put the milk in there. We have several cow share owners so I label any milk that goes to them each day. But we still have about 50 or so gallons a week that is for ME to do something with. I skim a lot for butter and ice cream and the skim goes into a bucket for either the chickens or the pigs or to be diluted and poured on pasture/garden, etc. In addition to butter and ice cream, I make occasional kefir, cottage cheese, mozzarella. I really want to try other cheeses this year while we’re drowning in milk but I haven’t found the time. Your feta will be my next cheese, I think, Wardee.

    • says

      Robin — I don’t know how you do it — but I think I’d like your volume for all the extra cream (I don’t get enough of that). Making the other cheeses will really help you out with those extra gallons. I hope you find the time. The cheeses in the class are awesome and easy. :)

  5. Stephanie says

    Sounds like lots of milk fun! We have goats so I’m not dealing with quite the quantity but I love the insight into how you split it up. Curious, what do you do with the clabber and do you just leave it overnight? Thanks!!!!!!!

    • says

      Stephanie – Basically you leave the milk at room temp for a few days and it will “clabber” or spontaneously sour. I mostly strain it for “cream cheese” but I also feed it as clabbered milk to the dog and chickens. It is very nutritious!

  6. Crystal Bahr says

    I can’t wait until we can have a cow! :) What do you do with clabbered milk? Is cheese-making difficult? I love cheddar cheese and all of us really like Mozzarella too. I’ve heard Mozzarella is really easy; I’ve just not had opportunity to try making it yet. I have made kefir and love it. It is pronounced kuh-fear (see http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/kefir for an audio). We had a goat for a while but were unable to milk her when she freshened. She just wasn’t tame enough and we didn’t have the proper tools (or skills) at the time to work with her properly. Then we moved… Now I *really* miss my 11 chickens, my nan and her two kids, my two cats, and our dog. We live in student apartments now and aren’t allowed any pets, let alone farm animals! I can’t wait for my husband to finish his graduate work! :O)

  7. Christy says

    I love this post. We currently are not getting any milk because we had to drive an hour to get it. Gas is getting to expensive for us to continue. We have found a goat share, but I am really going to miss the cows milk. I am hoping there will be a more local cow share when we are finished with the GAPS diet.

    Thank you so much for you post!

  8. says

    We are hoping to move to a farm in the next year or so and will get a cow then. (For now we just buy raw milk from our local farmer!) It’s good to see how much milk a cow produces and what you do with it. I think that I would do different things, based on my family’s tastes. We’d have a batch or two of ice cream everyday, yogurt (they prefer it to kefir), and butter. Plus fresh milk to drink. I’d probably clabber some too, for baking. I’d love to know more about cheese making. I only know how to make mozzarella so far. I’d definitely make that, because it is a favorite too, but I’d love to learn to make cheddar and Romano as those are other favorites here. Ah…despite the work, I can’t wait for farm life!

    • says

      Kate — I can tell you’re excited! It is alot of work but it is fun, too. Definitely rewarding. I loved hearing what you would do with all the milk. I love the “batch or two of ice cream everyday” especially. :)

  9. Janette McCune says

    Great video! We are just about to get our first family cow so any of this kind of information I am soaking up! Can I ask what you sanitize you jars/buckets/funnels/strainer with?

    Thanks!

  10. says

    Hi Wardee, warm loving hugs from Vermont, thank you for this video, I just love watching them, and seeing how much you have all grown in your homesteading and in The Lord, Miss you and think of you so often, I loved the popcorn vid with C., thanks for sending them to me, I live vicariously thru you! lot’s of love..Mona

  11. Barbara Grant says

    I noticed you scooped out your kefir grains with a metal spoon. I thought kefir was not supposed to come in contact with metal?

    • says

      Barbara — You’re right that is a rule — no metal. However, stainless steel is minimally reactive and with minimal contact my grains have no problems. Using a metal spoon is much easier than a wooden spoon. When I first started with kefir, I didn’t break any rules. Then I decided that I would break that one to get the grain more easily and I’ve had no issues for months and months (and months)! Good eye. :) I wondered if anyone would call me on that. ;)

  12. Sue Rine says

    Hi Wardee. Just thinking about using excess milk, I wonder whether you ever make custard? It doesn’t have the advantage of being a cultured food but is a good way to use large quantities of milk and to fill growing children economically. 8-) I never use exact measurements but here’s a rough idea…
    Gently heat a suitable quantity of milk for your family.
    When it is warm but not boiling, for each pint of milk, mix in a bowl – 1egg, 1/4 cup flour, up to 1/4 cup sugar or other sweetener to taste, 1tsp vanilla extract and enough extra milk to give a smooth, pourable mixture.
    Add mixture to the milk, while stirring to prevent lumps forming.
    Bring to a boil and cook until thickened, stirring continuously.
    Serve with fresh or stewed fruit, or over a baked pudding.

    • says

      Sue — That’s a nice idea! At this point, we have so much raw, cultured food that I’m not minding cooking some of it. Can I use whole-grain flour – or do you think I could substitute arrowroot powder?

      Since making this video, we weaned the calf and I’m now getting 4-1/2 to 5 gallons of milk a day. The cream is lovely. But I’m totally out of jars and the fridge has no room for tomorrow morning’s milk. Yesterday I had to use 5 gallons for cheese (two batches) in order to make room for today’s milk. Today we drank a ton and made ice cream and started 2 gallons kefir-ing, and started sour cream. Still, the fridge is full. So…. custard sounds great! :)

  13. Sue Rine says

    Yes you can use wholemeal flour and can also substitute arrowroot. The surplus cream can be used in baking too. In recipes with both milk and butter, (or other fat), just total the amount of milk and fat and use that amount of cream. That way you skip the butter-making stage and clear the fridge quickly! 8-) If you have the freezer space, Some of the baking can be frozen for use when the cow is dry…..Not exactly Off Off Grid though.

  14. says

    Hi Wardee!! I loved this video! I’ve been super busy in the last few months, so I haven’t been checking all my favourite blogs regularly. So here’s a brief, “Hello!”

  15. says

    Wardee, I so enjoy these videos! I love how neat your kitchen is too…I’m slowly paring down what I have on my counters, but it’s so hard when you’re an out-of-sight-out-of-mind kind of person (who wants to have things within easy reach) to not have stuff on the counters. I now feel inspired to declutter my counters today…and keep dreaming of the day I have my own cow to get delicious milk from…

  16. amy says

    Thanks for this Wardee! I always learn SO MUCH from you! I like the gold filter idea, much less mess than what I have used in the past, which is a tea towel (cut into smaller pieces). I want to try that. How do you sterilize your filter (& bucket)? I have always just washed ours real well – rinse in cool water, then slowly get it hotter, and use soap. I LOVE that bucket, ours is not so nice, look fwd to getting one like yours! :)

  17. says

    You know I’m on dial-up here. I was finally able to see your video. I can sure relate! Your milk pail looks like mine but I don’t have a lid. I liked your funnel/filter system. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that. I’m still figuring out what to do with all our milk. I’m getting 4 gallons a day. The yogurt maker is going almost steady. I’ve tried cottage cheese for the first time. And I made butter the other day that turned out really good!

    I push milk on just about everybody that comes my way. LOL My youngest son (18 yo) went to his friend’s house today. It’s his friend’s dad’s birthday. My son asked if he could take along some milk as a present. :lol: It’s nice to be able to share.

  18. Reba Cannon says

    When it is warm but not boiling, for each pint of milk, mix in a bowl – 1egg, 1/4 cup flour, up to 1/4 cup sugar or other sweetener to taste, 1tsp vanilla extract and enough extra milk to give a smooth, pourable mixture. Day 3 and 4 milk clabbered longer was fried in a pan like cheese and eaten to complement whatever else was being consumed.

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