Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Adventures with Sour Milk

Ricotta Cheese

My daughter doesn't drink her whole milk fast enough. I noticed the other day that it had gone sour. It didn't smell bad, so I set it in the back of the fridge trying to think of something to do with it.

When milk is old, it does one of two things from my experience: bad bacteria wins the battle inside the jug and makes the milk go rotten or the good bacteria wins out and makes the milk go sour - two very different things. When it goes sour you can use it like you would buttermilk or some recipes even call for sour milk. When it goes rotten, well you just have to throw it out.

I haven't had a lot of milk go sour, so my experience with it was pretty limited. I had been planning on making yogurt, so yesterday, feeling oh, so resourceful, I set out making yogurt in my crockpot. Everything was going well until the milk started hitting 120º. I took off the lid and noticed the milk was separating??? I didn't remember that from last time, so I did some research and realized that that should not be happening. I was pretty ticked. A whole half gallon of grass-fed cows milk was separated into curds and whey. Now what was I going to do with it? Well, since it looked and smelled an awful lot like cheese, I thought, what the heck? And strung it in a cheesecloth bag over the sink. An hour later, I pulled it down, salted it, stirred it around and, heck! It looked and tasted exactly like ricotta! All I can figure how that happened is that the sourness stood in for the lemon juice you usually add to the milk to make ricotta. Lesson Learned #1: Sour milk does not make yogurt.

I didn't have dinner plans yet, so I whipped up a batch of lasagna. When I told my husband what happened he looked suspiciously at the lasagna. "Is it safe to eat?" haha! Lesson Learned #2: Don't reveal mistakes until after dinner is over. In reality, it tasted great and that's what he's got for lunch at work today. :-)

Well, I still wanted yogurt, especially since we were running out. So, at 3 pm I started again with fresh milk. Once it had reached 180º and had cooled down to 116º I wrapped that ceramic baby up in a towel and stuck it in my oven still warm from baking lasagna with the oven light on and then I realized my mistake. I had to let the yogurt incubate for 6 hours which would calculate to be.... 1 in the morning!?! Oh, MAN! Lesson Learned #3: Don't start your yogurt in the afternoon unless you're a night owl.

So, yes, I set my alarm clock and got up at 1 am to check on my precious yogurt. It had set beautifully. (My first time trying last year, the yogurt had been runny, but good.) Happy with my success, I stuck it right in the fridge and went to bed. This morning my kids and I got up and I went to taste-test my yogurt in the fridge. It looked gorgeous and with a bumpy mound higher in the middle like something had grown in there - which it had. I took a spoon to it for a taste and it was sour! Still good, but one of the more sour yogurts I've had. We were going to need a lot of jam to counteract that sour flavor. Lesson Learned #4: Taste test along the way. The longer yogurt sits, the more sour it gets!

It's a little ironic, isn't it? I started off with sour milk and ended with sour yogurt. Ha! *sigh* Such is life! At least my son enjoyed his yogurt this morning - with plenty of blueberry lime jam. Can't get that flavor at the store, can ya? ;-)

4 comments:

Casey said...

hahahah awesome, I read your blog outloud to pete cuz it was so funny. Curds and whey hahahah Hey I want the blueberry lime jam recipe! Pulease! :D

HollyHox said...

What an adventure you've had! I love that you are always trying new things--it helps me feel like I should be braver in the kitchen :) I couldn't remember if you've talked about making mozzarella cheese on your blog or not. That's my next adventure!

Sisterbrenda said...

Glad to read you got to use it and wow you didn't give up... Hope everything is yummy! Be Blessed

chickadeeworkshop said...

Wow, look how much you learned that you will NOT forget! Great story and keep up the adventures.

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