Wednesday, August 31, 2011

YOGURT ! ! !

So, yogurt.... I have always had trouble getting the girls to eat the stuff I made.

I use to make it with goat milk as that was what we had. It doesn't get as thick as when you make it with cows milk. And I added a "cheating tool" powdered milk.
I heated up 5C of milk, to 180F then turned off the heat and let it cool to about 110F (yea I do know that at this point I have pasteurized my milk and I'm not as healthy anymore, but oh well) I then added 1/3C powdered milk and whisked it in.

Then I took a 6oz container of plain yogurt (from the store) check on the back that it lists lots of live cultures. I gently stirred it with a spoon (Holli's advice) and then gently stirred it in the milk. I poured the milk into a quart canning jar and put a lid on it, and the rest fit into a pint size jar.
Elm brought in our cooler and I set the two jars in there, and added about 6 quarts of really hot tap water, and left it till in the morning.

And it was perfect! Thick, Thick. Thick.
I added abt 1 tsp of vanilla and 2 Tbsp of raw organic cane sugar (the tablespoons you find in your silverware drawer). It was just right, flavour wise, but the stirring to add the sugar and vanilla turned more runny.

Next batch I make, I will add sugar and vanilla to the milk slurry when I put it in the cooler, so all we have to do is scoop out the yumminess. The pint jar won't be flavoured, as it is my starter for my next batch (yes I will be making a bigger batch. Did you see what the girls left in that container? I had a portion, and they tried to finish all the rest of it).

Mozzarella and a Cheesepress

Here is my Mozzarella!!!! It grated beautifully, and had a nice melt to it.

This even after I tried to mess it up, you see I thought I was making fresh, soft mozzarella. So I tried to do the whole stretching thing and for some reason it just wasn't working... I finally had the DUH! moment.

Then as I was cleaning up and moving the VERY WARM whey from one side of the sink over to the other sides drain board, the bottom of my container hit the divider thingie and I poured VERY WARM whey out over my hand.

I hurried and put it in cool water, but this was right before I had to go milk. I had to take a few breaks while milking so that I could stick my hand into the dogs water bucket.... don't worry i sanitized my hands before continuing to milk.
Not the funnest night.

Was it worth all the trouble? YEP! it's nice and dry and grates really nicely.
I found this recipe on the Junket page. I didn't have any citric acid so I used just a tab over 1/3C lemon juice.

We'll be making a BIG batch tomorrow night as a family activity. Then we'll be taking it in to Oma and Opa's in a couple of days.

I'm going to try out the cheese press Elm just got finished building for me. I've got the bestest Hubby ever!!!!

Isn't she a beauty?

I also have a bigger mold that I got from my brother. It'll be using it for some bigger batches of cheese.

I've been reading up on cheeses. And I will be making some Havarti.... it only takes between 5-14 weeks to age, where as the cheddar is 6 months and the Parmesan is 9 months. I'll be making those too. but I can't wait that long before eating some of my cheese.

Cottage Cheese

I ventured into cheese making. Elm really likes cottage cheese, so I thought to show him how much I love him, I'd made him some. He usually likes to eat it on hot summer days, you know when it's just TO HOT to eat anything warm.

Here's the joke -today is the first day we've had in a really long time that’s been gray and rainy, with BEAUTIFUL rumblings coming from the sky.

But I finished my first batch of cottage cheese this morning, and he had some for dinner, with peaches on the side.

It tastes divine. Elm liked it, he did say it was a bit different…. Well yeah, HOMEMADE :o)

I did some searching online for cheese recipes using Junket Rennet tables (as that was all I had on hand, my cheese order from Cheesemaking is in the mail as I type) I found this site Junket Desserts. Scroll down the page and you’ll find this recipe for cottage cheese.



1/4 Junket Rennet Tablet
1/2 cup water
1 gallon skim milk

1/4 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cream

1. Dissolve Rennet Tablet in water by crushing. Set aside. In a large saucepan, heat skim milk to 70º F. Stir in buttermilk and Rennet Tablet solution, mixing well. Cover with towel and let stand at room temperature 12 to 18 hours until firm curd forms. To test for a firm curd, remove a milk sample at a point near the edge of the saucepan with a spoon. The curd is read
y to cut when the coagulated milk sample holds its shape and the edges are sharply defined.

2. Cut curd into 1/2-inch long pieces using a long knife. Heat curd slowly over hot water until temperature reaches 110ºF. Hold curd at that temperature for 20 to 30 minutes, stirring at 5-minute intervals to heat curd uniformly. Pour mixture onto the fine cheesecloth in a colander and drain off whey.

3. After whey has drained 2 to 3 minutes, lift curd in cheesecloth and immerse in pan of cold water 1 to 2 minutes, stirring and pressing with a spoon. Then immerse in ice water 1 to 2 minutes. Drain the curd until it is free from whey and place in a large bowl.

Add salt and cream and mix thoroughly. Chill.

I added sea salt and some of our cream (saving it for butter and ice cream)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Kefir Blueberry Cream Cheese

I have been making Kefir lately, just learning how to do it. I have tried it with goats milk -smooth yogurty texture. Low pasteurized Holstein milk -smooth yogurty texture. Raw skimmed Jersey milk -grainy, cultured buttermilk like texture.
So what to do with my Kefir now that we have our Matilde? I took out the grains and then hung the Kefir in a cheese cloth.
I then added honey, a bit of sea salt and some blueberries (all I had was some fruit naturals, which I drained and used). Mixed it up and put it on a toasted bagel.
Can you say Yum?!!?
So very easy and so very good.
If you tried it, let me know what you think.
Rhiannon LOVED her piece of bagel.... she only left one bite.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

This is the Way We Wash Our Clothes

I have a kingsize comforter, that won't fit in my washing machine. And well, it's been needing a good wash for ages. I kept thinking I needed to find a laundry mat with an industrial size washing machine. Then yesterday the light bulb went on FINALLY!
That's what we have a bathtub for. The girls we're pretending they were Cinderella, and singing as they worked.

Oh and I had a few people wondering what a clothespin apron was. Well, here it is. Short little apron with a big pocket for your clothespins. As we supposedly shouldn't leave them on the line year round, but take them off the line between uses. And it makes it much easier if I collect them as I take things off the line..... no more hunting around for a pin off the other line, leaving the clothes hanging -not pinned- desperately hoping a wind gust won't blow it off while I'm distracted.
I find I enjoy laundry a lot more now that I have this nifty apron.
Oh happy day!

Homemade Pasta

I thought yesterday, that I would make some pasta.

The recipe I found online was quite simple:

1C flour
2 eggs

make a well in the flour and add eggs, using fingers stir the center, taking more and more flour with. As it combines you might need to add a bit more flour as you knead (just so it doesn't stick to EVERYTHING).

It will look lumpy, keep kneading... you want it to look all smooth.
Let the dough rest for abt 10 min. then roll out as thinly as you can.

The pasta will get about 5 times bigger as you cook them. (in lots of well salted water, abt 2 min).

I used a can of spaghetti sauce that was in the pantry and my fresh goats cheese I had made (filled with spices and herbs)

Everybody enjoyed it... I would like to try to find a pasta roller at some point though. They turned out quite thick :o)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Milking time

Milking Time

Elm gets a turn too

Just thought we'd share our family milking session. We had a lot of fun. Everybody got to milk and Arilyn got a ride on Matilde on the way back to the pen.

A Cow and a funfilled day!


We made a trip yesterday to pick up our new addition to the farm. A Jersey milk cow. We are letting her roam around... not that she goes very far.
I headed in to the dr office for a blood draw. Dear Hubby told me when I got home that she's been looking for him, she was standing outside the garage window mooing at him.

This is her looking in the bay windows in the family room as I'm sitting here working on the computer.

She seemed kind of sad this morning in the pen, so we let her out. DH was excited about the fact that he
probably won't have to mow the lawn anymore. Now we just have to hose the "spots" on the lawn.... free fertilizer.

Here she is on her way down towards the house.

When I got home (and had to carry two sleeping girls in the house) she came over to the car to see who came home. She blocked the way to the house, so I had to walk around the other side of the car.
Gotta Love my Moo!!

Here's our fist gallon of milk we got last night from her.
Arilyn is showing you just how much cream we got on the top.

Rhiannon wanted curls, so I rolled up her hair this morning.

We've been busy today. It's laundry day as well, and I'm going to make home made pasta for dinner..... Oh and don't forget the fudge brownies.
So off I go.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Farm Life

I've got to say, I really enjoy this kind of lifestyle. Having grown up on the fifth floor of an apartment building, I always dreamed of living far enough "out" that I could have some animals. Oh I dreamed of a cow, some chickens, couple of pigs, 3 sheep (1black and 2 white) oh and a donkey. I wanted the "petting zoo".
Now that it's become an reality, I love it!
Okay, so I have goats in stead of sheep, a llama instead of my donkey (I'm still dreaming about that one) geese, ducks and turkey instead of the pigs (I will be adding those). And we have bees.
Oh and the cow you ask? Well, she will be joining our farm this week.

My hubby's rooster.

We've planted fruit trees, nut trees and berry bushes (will be adding more of those).
We got in the structure for a good raised bed garden this year (even if it needs some tweaking) and now know how to get in "the big garden" so we now just what to do next year.

Broccoli from our garden

our second tomato out of our garden.

We are trying to grow as much of our own as possible and have decided to try to stay away from prepackaged foods when ever possible.
We'll be making our own butter... SOON :o) and yogurts and soft cheeses (and when I get up the nerve and buy some cultures, I'll be trying my hand at making hard cheeses).

I have a loving husband, who works so very hard for our well being. And two wonderful little girls that are always exploring and getting into mischief :o)
Life is Good.