We tried raw cow's milk for the first time last week! If you can find a reputable distributor for raw milk in your state, I highly recommend it. Raw cow or goat's milk has countless healthy benefits, however, when the milk is pasteurized and homogenized most of the healthful enzymes and vitamins are destroyed. Pasteurization began many years ago when there were cases of bacteria-related illness and death linked to consumption of tainted milk. As a result, pasteurization began and has continued ever since. As long as the farmer is taking good care of the animals and allowing them to graze on green grass, raw milk presents no harm to us and is actually very beneficial to our health. Note: only 2 deaths total have occurred from consumption of raw milk since 1998, where an estimated 140 deaths per year occur and are linked to dairy consumption (wwwnc.cdc.gov).
Both my husband and I love the raw cow's milk, and find very little difference in taste from the pasteurized milk we have drank for years. We both actually like it much more. If you are still uncomfortable with buying raw milk, Green Bean Delivery (www.greanbeandelivery.com), where I have started buying a good deal of produce and some groceries, and comes straight to your door, sells a low-temperature pasteurized, non-homogenized milk. This is a great alternative to anyone who cannot buy raw milk in their state or is not ready for completely raw milk.
Anyway, from my leftover raw milk, I adapted the recipe from "Nourishing Traditions" to make whey and cream cheese. Whey is packed full of vitamins and cultures that are great for your stomach and your body. Whey can be added to many dishes. I will post one next week where I add it in, so you can get an idea!
Whey & Cream Cheese
What you will need:
raw or non-homogonized milk
cheesecloth or dish towel
1. You can use fresh milk for this or milk that has just turned sour. I wouldn't recommend using milk that has been sour more than a few days, but it's up to you. My raw milk had just turned sour, so I used whatever I had left in my jar.
2. Place the milk on the counter for 2-4 days, or until the solids pull away from the liquid (see picture). I waited about 4 days.
3. Now, using a glass bowl or pitcher and a dish towel or cheesecloth, pour the milk into the dish towl draped over the bowl. The liquid (Whey) will drain out of the towel into the bowl. Leave the mixture like this on the counter for several hours so all the liquid can drain out of the cream cheese.
4. As this process was adapted from "Nourishing Traditions," I will tell you they recommended using a fine strainer in between the dish towel and bowl. They also suggested tying the dish towel to a wooden spoon to allow for more whey to strain out of the cream cheese. It is up to you, but I did not need these extra steps. It may have been because I waited the full 4 days for them to separate.
5. You can store the whey in a mason jar in the refrigerator for up to 4 months. The cream cheese is supposed to keep for about 1 month in the refrigerator in a covered container. I added a little sea salt to the cream cheese and ate it with some crackers. It would be great with some herbs. Note: This cream cheese is going to be different from what you buy at the store. Mine tasted a little bit like an aged cheese, but it was great!