One of the best things about living off the beaten path is the access to real food. I love the fact that I never have to put eggs on my grocery list and that rather than having frozen pizza as our fall back plan we have delicious egg scramble with sausage, garlic, eggs and cheese on those lazy days when grocery shopping just isn’t worth it. And even if I don’t have something available on my farm it is likely that one of my neighbors do.
This past week, I was gathering ingredients for my Christmas recipes (lasagna, cookies, whip cream, pie) and finishing up my last minute Christmas shopping, so I decided to swing by our local raw milk dairy, Meadowwood. Although I didn’t get to actually meet the farmers because they were busy cleaning stalls, doing their evening milking and feeding the animals, I did get a small glimpse of the farm and the oh so cute Jersey cows. Once inside their little self serve store I found a big refrigerator full of raw milk and cream for their retail and milk share customers. Not only do they have cow milk but they also now carry raw goat milk from a goat dairy just south of us. They also offer pastured pork sausage (which I used in my lasagna) and the sign in the shop mentioned they would soon be processing their Christmas turkeys. After a few minutes of trying to figure out how to email my payment using Square Cash (which is an awesome way to accept debit cards if you decide to use the honor system on your farm) I left with a half gallon of raw milk, 8 oz. of raw cream and package of organic pastured pork Italian sausage. YUM!
Ross and I ended up drinking half the milk and giving the rest as a Christmas present to my brother who has been badgering me for raw milk since we bought our goats. The sausage went into my delicious Christmas lasagna dinner and while I had big plans to make whipped cream for a homemade apple pie, I ended up getting sick over Christmas and practically lost my motivation to live let alone attempt a pie. The cream was set to expire the day after Christmas so Ross and I decided to make cultured butter instead. Making butter was a first for me so naturally I did some research on YouTube and the world wide web, but like most of our projects we just dove head first into it and emprovised from there. The result was a whole lot of fun and some pretty dang good butter. Below are the steps we used which just go to show there’s more than one way to skin a cat (which is a super weird and gruesome saying).
1) Culture the Cream: We decided to make cultured butter because we figured why not try something different? We set the cream out for about 18 hours at room temperature with a cloth over the top. Ross was convinced there was a good chance we would die from eating rotten cream but my research told me otherwise and in the end he decided to trust me and give it a go.
2) Shake the Cream: For about five minutes Ross and I took turns vigorously shaking the cream. But Ross isn’t known for his patience, especially when it comes to handwork so he came up with a more mechanized way of churning butter.
3) Use power tools to churn the butter : Ross attached a wide drill bit (that I washed and sanitized) to his cordless screw gun and churned the butter using good ole power tools. It was much faster and pretty fun to watch. It was crazy to see how it went from cream to butter almost instantly.
4) Wash the butter: We then separated the butter from the buttermilk, placed the butter in a bowl in the sink and ran it under very cold water until the water ran clear.
5) Salt the Butter: I am slightly addicted to salt so I added salt to the butter, but this step is completely optional. I think the salt definitely brings out the creamy flavor.
6) Store the Butter: I recently scored at my local thrift store and bought myself an antique butter bell crock. Before refrigeration families would store their butter in these crocks to keep it from soiling. Somehow, someone, somewhere figured out that if you fill the crock with water and then place the butter in a bowl upside down in the crock it will last longer without spoiling. I had my doubts but I figured who am I to question the genius of generations before me? Turns out those pioneers knew a thing or two because guess what…it works great! The butter doesn’t get wet and doesn’t fall out and so I have high hopes that it will keep my butter spreadable and fresh long enough for Ross and I to eat every last drop!
Thank you Meadowwood for the delicious cream, we will most definitely be return customers! For everyone in the Enumclaw area I highly recommend you swing by Meadowwood dairy. They are open every day from 11-7pm because cows don’t take weekends off so neither do farmers! And for those of you who are not near Enumclaw, if you live in a state that allows farmers to sell raw milk I would highly suggest finding one and trying your hand at making raw butter. If you are not fortunate enough to live in a state that allows farmers to sell raw milk (BUMMER) I guess you either have to get a cow of your own or start writing letters to your elected officials!