The door bell rings around five in the morning. A tall guy with brownish complexion would stand in front of the door holding a glass bottle. It contained freshly extracted milk from his farm. He would do that everyday. He was one of the best milkman I remember from my childhood. No, I didn’t have any crush for him but I did have a crush towards the thick creamy milk he brought. Amma used to collect the milk in a stainless steel milk pot and return the bottle to him. After shutting the door, she would head towards the kitchen and boil milk as thought it was a ritual.
My little sister and I grew up drinking raw milk until we stepped out of the home. And I don’t remember falling sick because of drinking raw milk. When I came to this country I was bewildered looking at the choice of milk available in the grocery store. With TH’s help I settled down on 2% milk and then switched to Organic fat free milk. An year ago, I bumped into a box of unrefrigerated milk carton in the office pantry. The fact that milk can stay outside the refrigerator in a specially packed carton scared me. It didn’t sound right. Immediately I googled to know more about UHT (Ultra High Pasteurized) milk. The articles I read made me throw up literally. For a month I was hunting to find a store that sells raw milk and finally I found a coop that delivers milk weekly right in front of the door. Since then we have been drinking raw milk every day. Before using, I boil the milk and let it cool. Then I store it in the refrigerator. As it cools the cream starts floating on the top. Fret not, it is the nature’s way of skimming fat from milk. The layer of cream/malai gives me goosebumps and makes me extremely happy. And the joy of collecting fresh cream to make butter and ghee is unexplainable.
This is what I get from 4-5 gallons of raw milk
1 kg fresh cream which inturn yields
1. 750 gm of butter
2. 31 oz / 1 quart butter milk
3. 11 oz Ghee
4. And we get to eat home made yogurt/curd.
Doesn’t it justify the extra $$ I spend to buy raw milk, huh?
How to collect Cream?
- Boil raw milk on a medium flame. Keep stirring milk with a spatula which helps to retain its nutrition value. When milk starts rolling and raises, simmer and boil for another 3 minutes. Allow milk to cool completely and then stash it in the refrigerator. You will already see a thin layer of cream aka malai floating on the top. Let it be. When you wake up next day, open your refrigerator and pull out milk. Viola, you will see a thick layer of cream floating on top.
- Using a perforated spatula slowly scoop out the cream and store it in another container. If you find it hard to scoop it without milk use a strainer. This way you can ensure that you are collecting only the cream.
- Since I make yogurt/curd at home, I even collect cream that is formed on top of curd/yogurt. Amma says that the cream obtained from yogurt is much better for making ghee. So I always make it a point to collect cream from curd. So how do you do it? It is very simple. After boiling milk allow it to cool until it is lukewarm. Add yogurt starter, stir and allow it to ferment for 4-6 hrs during summer and around 8 hours during winter. When the curd is set, you will see a thick yellow cream layer on top. Skim it gently and store it in the same container as in the previous step.
- You can use fresh cream as is in your curries, soups and even make fresh homemade icecream . Whisk it for smoother texture.