Milk Handling

You need a stainless steel or food-grade plastic container to milk into, and quart, half-gallon, or gallon jars to store milk in; Bag Balm for treating teat and udder chapping and nicks; and cheesecloth or another system to strain the milk. There are other possible items but they're optional. Stainless steel is expensive but it lasts a lifetime.

Steel Items Use For Kitchen Clipart

Cleaning Home-Use Milk Utensils: Quick-cooling the milk and using clean utensils can vastly improve milk flavor.

1. Prerinse with lukewarm water as soon as possible after their use. Lukewarm is important because cold water forms solid, hard-to-clean-off butterfat, and hot water coagulates milk protein and makes it stick to things.

2. Wash with an alkaline soap: 1 t. washing soda dissolved per quart of water, or homemade soap, or "dairy detergent." Don't use regular detergent.

3. A scrub brush helps.

4. Then rinse.

5. Give a final scald with boiling-hot water.

6. Air dry on a rack upside down because if you wipe them with a cloth, you're just rubbing bacteria back onto them.

7. Before you take your milk bucket out in the morning, you could rinse it out with boiling water from your tea kettle.

Straining the Milk: You'll have less to strain out if the udder is washed before milking—or at least wiped off to get rid of dried mud and manure that might fall into the milk. Your next chance to prevent contamination is at the straining, when you bring the milk into your house. Straining helps to get rid of hair, dirt, and so on, which cause off-flavors and a high bacteria count. Milk with a high bacteria count will sour fast. You'll help avoid strong-tasting goat's milk if you strain and refrigerate right after milking. Strainers. A regular commercial milk strainer looks like a big metal bowl with holes in the bottom. A ring fits in the bottom to hold down a paper filter disk. The gunk is trapped on the disk, which is thrown away after the straining. For a homemade strainer, pour your freshly milked milk through 4 thicknesses of dish towel, clean diaper, or cheesecloth laid over a large strainer. This won't catch soluble impurities. They settle as a kind of "dust" in the bottom of your jar and do no harm I know of. Or you can buy that specially designed milk strainer and use throwaway strainer pads. But there's no throwaway involved if you strain through cloth. Rinse and boil the cloth afterwards to clean it. That's my preferred system.

cream Separation: See the section on cream. In this case you separate after straining but before bottling. Raw or Pasteurized? Raw milk does not taste like pasteurized milk from the store. The more raw milk ages, the more pronounced the difference becomes. If you're going to pasteurize, do this after straining (and separating if you choose), and before cooling. Pasteurizing. Pasteurization is a germ-killing process achieved by the temperature you heat the milk to and the length of time you keep it there. The higher the temperature, the shorter the time. You can pasteurize cream, milk, or any combination thereof. There are pros and cons to this decision.

If you're selling milk, you usually are required to pasteurize. But if your animals are tested against tuberculosis and brucellosis and clear, pasteurization isn't needed for healthy home milk and just makes more work and more stuff you have to wash for no reason. I like the taste of raw milk. The process does destroy a goat milk enzyme, which causes it to eventually develop that goaty flavor. But if you're getting plenty of milk twice a day there's no need to have it fresh-tasting longer. Pasteurization doesn't hurt the food value of milk except it decreases vitamin C and thiamin—but milk doesn't have much of those anyway. NOTE: Boiling milk or over-sterilization harms the nutritional value of milk.

Machine Pasteurization. If you're doubtful about the health of your milk source (pasteurization will kill TB germs and won't affect flavor much if done right), or just want to pasteurize anyway, the easiest route is to buy a home milk-pasteurizer, which will pasteurize up to 2 gal. milk at a time, for $225 from New England Cheesemaking Supply (413-628-3808; www.cheesemaking.com). Flash System. Set a pan (only glass or quality stainless steel) inside another with water between them, doubleboiler style—because milk burns so easily Put the milk into the top pan, cover, and heat to 161°E Hold at that temperature for 15-20 seconds, then cool. Don't let the temperature get higher than 165°F, and don't keep it up there more than 20 seconds or you risk a cooked taste. Judge the temperature using a floating dairy thermometer. (Another system is to heat the milk quickly in an open-topped container, stirring constantly with a stainless steel spoon.) Then cool the milk fast as possible by setting it in ice water or under cool running water. Stir constantly until it gets down to 60°F, then once in a while until it gets down to 50°F Slow System. Create a double boiler as above. Heat milk to 140-150°F and hold it at that temperature for 30 minutes. Stir once in a while with a sterile, stainless steel spoon. Cool as above.

Bottling. Pour the milk into clean, scalded, jars or bottles, and cool it. Cover with lids.

Cooling. You milk the animal, take the milk into the house, strain it, and cool it—all in quick sequence. That's because warm milk is perfect food for bacteria, and so you want to get it cooled as fast as possible. Fast cooling avoids off-odors from bacterial growth. You can put it into prechilled quart glass jars, and put them in the coldest part of the fridge. But milk will cool even faster if it's sitting under running cold water, or in a pan of ice water with more ice added as needed. Your basic goal is to cool it down to 40°F within 1 hour. If you pour milk into a jar that's at room temperature and just set it in the fridge it won't get that cool that fast. It won't be bad to drink, but it will be more likely to develop an off-flavor if cooled too slowly Fresh milk keeps best if stored around 34°F Fresh or Aged Milk? On the farm you should drink both goat's milk and cow's milk fresh. When you've got it coming every 12 hours there's no reason to use milk over 24 hours old for plain table milk. You can use older milk for baking, cheese-making, etc.

preserving Milk: Sometimes you will have more milk; spring and summer are peak months for milk, as well as eggs. Late winter may find you really short of milk. Cheese-making is a way to preserve milk from your surplus times for your lean times. See the section on cheese storage for how to shelf-store or dry cheese. Other ways are to can it or freeze it. Or have enough milkers that you always have plenty—and when you have too much you can raise an extra calf, colt, pig, flock of chickens, etc., with it. Canning Milk. Strain your fresh milk and cool it. Then pour it into clean jars to within V2 inch of the jar top. Put on your lids firmly Process in a pressure cooker for 10 minutes at 10 lb. of pressure or 60 minutes in a water bath canner.

Freezing Milk. Pour fresh (as soon as cooled and before the cream has a chance to rise!) milk into straight-sided, lidded containers, quart or half-gallon size, or into food-grade plastic bags. It keeps well for 6 months or more. Don't thaw and then refreeze milk.

Continue reading here: Foods Made from Milk

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