Thursday, February 28, 2013

You Should Know #7...The "Romance" of Milking

It's been almost 6 months since our Jersey cow Tilly, gave birth to Maggie Moo. It's been exactly 5-1/2 months since we started milking Tilly. And it's been about the same amount of time that I've been pondering what to do with all that milk.
Will work for molasses-covered oats.  Moo.
 I'll have you know, I am still clueless.
See, there are only so many things one can do with fresh cow's milk. Oh, there are blogs out there that will tell us that you can make, bake, cook, can, knead, dehydrate, rehydrate, soak, scrub, and bathe in it, but I've found that they are only telling you that so you'll try it first. And then maybe, just maybe, you'll let them know whether it works or not.
Here's what you should know about the romantic side of milking...
1. A cow has mood swings, much like a human woman. Any attempt to touch any part of her anatomy during this time could result in a swift kick to the kneecap. Or the face if you're dumb enough to have it under the cow. Or, so I've heard... She can also hold on to her milk if the mood so strikes her. It's best to come prepared. A triple-shot grande Caramel Macchiatto scoop of sweet grain ought to do. 
2. If you only bring 2 empty gallon jars up to the barn, chances are, the cow will give you exactly 3.33 gallons of milk that day. Which results in someone carrying down a 40 lb. milking machine from the barn, in the rain, on an empty stomach, with only 1 cup of coffee under her belt yoga pants. And because of her weakened condition, she'll probably forget the filter up at the barn after she's made the trek back down to the house.
3. 3 gallons of milk/day x 7 days/week  = a million or so gallons of milk in the fridge. I mean fridges. As in 4 of them. Ratchet straps and bungee cords are a farmer's friend. Because there's always a way to squeeze just one more gallon into an already full refrigerator.
4. One can never have too much Mozzarella. Until the last little spot in the freezer is full anyway. Then one comes up with tricky little ways to incorporate the excess cheese into a meal. Or dessert. Mozzarella Ice Cream anyone?
5. Ambitious husbands who get sick of Mozzarella, are quite adept at building cheese presses. Nothing says, "hint, hint" like a 50 lb. press. Complete with a bathroom scale. Hey, it works, and I've quit obsessing over my weight. I call that a "win, win."
6. Just because you now have a cheese press, doesn't mean that your first, second, or third attempt at making cheese will work. The good news with that is that you can now remove the ratchet strap from one of the refrigerators. The bad news is that you've crushed the entire family's dreams of having anything that's not Mozzarella.
7. When you have a catastrophic cheese-making experience, you will always revert back to what you know. Mozzarella. Because your self-esteem needs a little bit of a boost. And the family knows this, so they pretend to be pleased that you've found a way to use Mozzie in a cake.
8. Sometimes, the cheese making actually turns into something good. Like Farmer's Cheddar.
But then you read the fine print under the recipe; Farmer's Cheddar has to age.
For 30 days.
And for 30 days you worry that it will be rotten, sour, or positively inedible. 
So, you make another batch of Mozzarella, because you can.
9. In order to age the Farmer's Cheddar, it has to be painted with wax. This appeals to my artistic side. I feel like I can sculpt a masterpiece that rivals Michelangelo.
Well, maybe Donatello. Or Raphael. Or Leonardo. In a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle sort of way.
10. 2 gallons of milk = 2 pounds of cheese. It also equals about 20 gallons 1.95 gallons of leftover whey. Now, leftover whey is great for growing piggies into pork chops, but what to do with all that whey once the piggies have moved to the freezer? 'bout some homemade whey ricotta?
Stay tuned....☺