Friday, 24 May 2013

Butter? No. A mess? Yes.

This is a photo of a milk separator. You put the milk into the pan, you crank the handle, you open a spigot in the pan, and after a moment skimmed milk flows out of one tube to hopefully land in one handily placed bowl, and out of the other tube flows cream, again into a bowl. That's the theory anyway. 

I have a milk separator. It is the same as the one above, but white. I assembled it, guided by several YouTube videos as to how to do that, the instruction pamphlet being in French translated from Russian, so there wasn't a hope in hells chance of being able to use Google Translate to get it into understandable English. 

Time to make cream. Pour warmed goats milk into the pan. Crank handle. Spigot open. Milk flowing nicely, not through the tubes though, but from a small orifice in the casing. Stop cranking. Turn spigot off. Observe the flow. Yell for Lester. 

Boffin Lester dismantles unit. Prods and pokes about. Says he is not convinced that this bit of kit is going to work properly, but reassembles it according to how he thinks it should be assembled, which was the same as what I had done anyway. 

Warm milk up again. Milk in pan. Repeat result. More milk puddles on table, none in the bowls. Dogs now interested in drips running on to the floor. 

Unit dis-assembled again. Lester notices a piece of wire across the inside tube at the bottom of the centrifuge. Says it should fit on the corresponding insert piece on the body of the machine. 'No one on YouTube mentioned that', I said. 

Re-assemble machine. Warm milk up again. Repeat result. More milk puddles. Now mopping up with tea towels. There are a pile of them, all soaked through with milk. Getting cross about the waste of milk. Lester notices a hole on the centrifuge. Says that that is where the milk is coming from. Says that the centrifuge needs tightening up so that the little nobbly thing above it actually sits in the hole to block it up. No YouTubers mentioned that either. Centrifuge tightened. Hole blocked. Unit put back together. 

Milk warmed up again. Into pan. Lester now in charge of cranking. Revs up. And Yes!! We have milk coming from the tube. And Yes!!! Cream coming from out of the other. 
Lester says, "That doesn't look like cream, it looks like milk. I'm still not convinced about this machine. I going back to the computer. Got work to do". So off he goes. 

I observe the wondrous mess that has been created. Already on the table I have the leavings of yesterday's cheese making effort to clear up, the large bowl of whey, the cheese cloth in the colander, etc......(I made six small pots of chevre soft cheese from a mesophyllic starter from one gallon of milk, and it was yummy). There are also half dozen jars of goats milk fermenting into pot cheese, a fascinating process to watch as the milk separates itself into curds and whey. Next to learn about is how to make ricotta cheese from the whey (the watery liquid left after the milk has formed into the white curd clumps), and so far my cheese making efforts are getting better as my experience increases. 

It is not hard to make goats cheese. My first effort (Apple cider vinegar into two litres of goats milk to make curds and whey) was not as good as this last effort, but that is the nature of gaining experience, that one gets better as one progresses providing one keeps practising and does not give up. 

However, butter and cream remain elusive because we can't seem to work out how to get the separator to work so it does its job. We have put enough oil into its body, because the splashes on the little plastic window says we have. We do tighten up the centrifuge enough because it doesn't leak waterfalls of milk where it shouldn't. We do have a dribble of milk from the cream tube, and yes, the rest of the milk does go through the other one. 

However, the bit of 'cream' in the small bowl is not far off the consistency of the milk in the big bowl. However, there seems to be a frothy thickness on the surface of the milk in that bowl, which does look like cream. However, since the contents of the small bowl is cream, because YT vids say it is, I thought I would have a go at making butter with it in my food processor, which can be used to make butter from cream because YT vids says you can. I couldn't. No matter what food processor gadget I tried, (the whisk, the knife, the liquidiser) the 'cream' remained as it was. I stopped this experiment when the body of the food processor started getting hot. I didn't want to blow it up. It is too handy a gadget to have in the kitchen. 

Lester says that it would be easier to skim the cream off. He said that he had looked on the Internet and found that piece of info. Said that it would be less hassle because it would mean less mess, this being said while he stood and observed the mess on the table. 

Onwards then. I shall not be defeated. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, I am one of those people who refuse to give up. Presented with a challenge, I tackle it head on. Lester is the same. Neither of us lets things go. I suppose that is what got us here to France, that accepting of a challenge which came our way via the Universe. Call it madness (a lot of people thought us daft when we said we were going to live in a ruin), call it stubbornness, call it whatever you like, but we don't give up, although we sometimes falter.

I am faltering with that cream separator. Tried again this morning, this time with the morning milk. Less cream this time. Ended up by skimming the froth of cream from the big bowl of supposedly skimmed milk with an ice cream spoon. Had a go at seeing if I could make butter with that. No, I couldn't. 

.....not to worry, there is always tomorrow's milk to have a go at, and another mess on my table to look forward to. 

Blessings to you. 



SueC said...

Hi Vera
Hope things get butter soon!

Vera said...

Hi Sue, oh that made me laugh! And thank you for that because laughter is so good for the soul.

Ohiofarmgirl said...

I call it determination! Good for you! Sometimes you can get cream by letting the goatmilk stand the fridge for a day or so. I only did this once and it wasn't enough to really bother with - but a friend gets plenty of cream from her goatie. You'll get it worked out.

Denise said...

Made me laugh, too! What a s'cream'!!

Crumbs, Vera, I am glad the cheese making at least is going well.

Vera said...

Ohiofarmgirl:, thanks for that info. Will have a go at leaving the milk for a day or so, but my feeling is that our goats milk is not going to carry sufficient cream for making butter. But I will carry on having a go!

Denise, Hi, and hope you are well. The cheese making is indeed going well, and I am very enthused about the making of it. Tastes good as well!

rusty duck said...

Sleep well, it will work in the morning.
If not, throw it in the river.

Horst in Edmonton said...

Hi Vera, I should have mentioned this much sooner, Goats milk does not separate easily. The milk has some kind of ensime in it that makes it very difficult to separate the cream from the milk. That's why the cheese makers love it for making cheese. Goats milk is very different from cows milk. Cows milk separates very easily by just letting it sit for a few hours.

Vera said...

Jessica, thank you! Will do just that if the flippin thing refuses to work!

Horst, bless you for your help on this. I am finding that making cheese from our goats milk is easy, so it's the high cream content that makes it so. I think I shall put the cream separator away until our cow starts giving us milk and carry on making yoghurt and cheese for the time being. Making butter will just have to wait. Thanks again for the info.

Kev Alviti said...

It's annoying when things don't work like they're supposed to. The cheese sounds great though. I love goats cheese.

Vera said...

Ken, perhaps you will eventually get goats too one day?

Kev Alviti said...

maybe but I have to leave for work at 6.30 now so I'm not sure I' feel like milking a goat before I left as well! Do you milk yours by hand or with a machine?

Vera said...

We are milking two goats at the moment, and it takes about half an hour. It is done by hand. There are gadgets on the market (the Henry Milker for instance) which should but the milking time down, but then there are the few minutes needed to strain the milk and get it into the fridge. Doesn't take long, but would be take precious minutes if you are needing to get to work. Then there is 'what to do with the milk'! It will only stay in its first stage for a day or so, then will move into its second stage, which is sour milk, from then it will keep developing into curds and whey if left long enough. But it does not 'spoil' like shop bought milk does because it is remains in its raw state throughout. We don't pasteurize it. Is the work worth it? Yes, of course it is! I keep having to tell myself that when I see the jars of milk in the fridge waiting to be done something with!