Saturday, January 26, 2013

Part 3 Yogurt

So far, I have fresh milk and cream, now onto yogurt.  I make yogurt 1 gallon at a time.  The process is fairly simple.  I take one gallon of milk and place it in a soup cooker and heat it up to somewhere between 170-180 degrees. 
I do not do this for pasteurization purposes, this is done for consistency.  When I first started making yogurt, I was reading everything I could about the process and how different people made yogurt and the types of yogurt that can be made.  Yes I'm geeky that way, but from what I learned with a layman's understanding, the heating process breaks down the milk proteins that the yogurt culture feeds on.  This reaction causes the yogurt to be of consistent texture and mouth feel.  This  maybe right, maybe wrong, but I know it works after making several gallons of yogurt.  After the milk reaches the desired temperature, I let it cool to about 100-110 degrees.    I then stir in two jars of yogurt from a previous batch (shown below) and stir it in thoroughly (shown at right).

After the milk and yogurt culture is thoroughly mixed, I ladle it into half pint jars and add a ring a lid.

The jars are then placed back into the soup cooker for four hours at 110 degrees.  This allows the culture to grow and eat the milk proteins and curdle the milk into yogurt.  I relate the whole process to cooking a turkey.  A lot of prep then wait around til it's done.  The payoff.  I usually end up with 19 jars of yogurt that I guess run around 7 oz.  Store bought organic yogurt was 99 cents for a 6 oz serving.  Take away the two starter yogurts and that's a $16.83 I didn't spend at the grocery store.  You may be asking can I trust the soup cooker temp to be accurate, see below for the detailed scale of black marker settings on the thermostat.  The 88 degree mark is for the mozzarella to come.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The true cost of going organic Part 2

As promised, I would include the many great things you can get from fresh raw organic milk.  Today it is cream.  Rich delightful cream to make butter, sour cream, and ice cream!  Ice cream is my personal favorite, but you'll have to keep coming back for that story.  To harvest the cream I use a couple of old one gallon sun tea containers that were setting around my parents house doing nothing.  Those lazy bums were not going to get away with just taking up space in their household when they could be put to good work in my household producing delicious cream.  Here is a picture of them full of fresh raw milk.

These two workers have a very stressful job of hanging out in the fridge and having their innards poured out of them from the bottom while the cream floats to the top.  After a day or two The milk and cream start to separate.  If you look real close you can see a line that separates the cream and milk.  I ladle this cream off and put it into jars.   As you can see, or maybe not see from the two gallons of milk above, I ended up with about 4 cups of cream.  The tall jar is a pint and a half the short jar is a pint.This cream was ladled off after...maybe 12 hours and is what I would consider light cream.  Now for the payoff.  As it was figured before on Milk Part 1, There was already a savings on the milk, so everything we get is additional savings.  16 oz non-organic cream at the grocery store  was $2.99.  Wow I have two of those for a savings of $5.98.  I just paid for a gallon of fresh South Pork Ranch Milk! 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The true cost of going organic Part 1

I just visited my favorite dairy farmer here in the Land of Lincoln, , who just went viral with her cost of producing organic milk. So why am I here you may ask, for better or worse, one half of this farming pair inspired me to start a blog, which has been hit and miss since I started.  Good thing it doesn't have a subscription price, otherwise my readers would feel cheated and worse yet this becomes a job.  Back to the inspiration part for this blog, I have been meaning to answer the many questions from friends and neighbors of how we can afford to buy organic in our household.  Once again with the unsolicited help of my favorite blogger writing about the cost of producing organic milk, I was inspired to complete this task and share it here.  It's more cost effective to buy organic direct from the farm(ers) than buying form the store. 

So here goes the first installment of the true cost of producing dairy products in your home.  I load up the car, some people call it half a car, it's a sub-compact, with my reusable three gallon plastic jugs. These can be found at many of the local grocery store's water dispensing machines. The cost of these per gallon goes down with each trip I make, but my current cost guess is about 50 cents per gallon, Here is a picture of the one I use.

 I have three of these and buy 9 gallons of fresh raw organic milk from at the incredible low price of $6.00 per gallon each trip.   How do I know this? When I run out of fresh raw organic milk I have to go to the grocery store to buy milk.  The milk we buy is $4.99 a half gallon.  The math is fairly simple, $4.99 x 2 = $9.98/gallon.  $6.00 sounds pretty good, but you may ask, what about the transportation costs?  As I mentioned before I drive a small car which gets 31 mpg.  A round trip road trip to South Pork is 195 miles/31mpg or 6.29 gallons of gas.  I paid $3.15/gallon in Chatsworth or $19.81.  9 gallons of milk $54.00+transportation $19.81 + jug cost of $4.50  equals $78.31 or $8.70 per gallon, still better than the $10 per gallon at the store and this doesn't include all the other products I will make with those 9 gallons I purchased.  I'll go through those another day.  Then people ask me about the value of my time.  All I can say is that when my favorite dairy farmer in Illinois asks me how my wife and family are doing beyond just being cordial I respond with...priceless!