sour, butter or scalded milk?
columns in It's All Trew have been dedicated to milking cows, separating milk
and carrying the remainder to the hogs.
We churned butter, ate cornbread
and milk, and sold cream on Saturday afternoon. A recent Alanreed
coffee shop discussion explored many other processes used in milk production.
See how many "milk terms" you recognize and if we are correct in our descriptions
of Texas Milk Production Co., Marshall
|No doubt the milk
from a cow provided the owners with a wholesome, delicious liquid food in a continuous,
dependable fashion. The byproducts not consumed by the family could be sold to
provide much-needed income.
These byproducts were generally cream and
butter. To obtain them was easy: Just separate milk mechanically or by letting
it set for 12 hours. Sell the cream or make butter by churning cream. What could
be more simple? However, at this point, processing milk becomes a bit more complicated
and many lesser-known terms come into play.
milk, skim milk, sour milk, buttermilk, scalded milk For
instance, fresh or "sweet milk" left sitting will separate into cream and skim
milk. Skim or sweet milk left sitting will turn into sour milk. Cream churned
into butter leaves a tasty delicacy called buttermilk. I don't know what buttermilk
turns into because we drank it all down before it could turn into any other form,
especially if mother made some fresh cornbread.
At some point, sour milk
becomes curdled or somewhat solid. Is this clabber yet? Charles Goodnight loved
good clabber. Somehow eating clabber doesn't sound appetizing. It may just be
the ugly word. Where does "curds and whey" of literary fame come into the milk
What the heck is whey, anyway? When does milk reach the point
it can be made into cheese? My mother made cottage cheese because I remember the
greyhounds lying under the clothesline catching the drips from hanging bags of
cottage cheese. Were the drips whey, sour milk or what?
call for sour milk, and if not available, vinegar can be added to make milk sour.
Does "sourdough" and sour milk have a connection? Another recipe ingredient sometimes
needed is "scalded milk."
What is the purpose of scalded milk? Why is
it different in nature from non-scalded milk? Is this an effort to kill the good
or bad bacteria that processes milk naturally? Is scalded milk different from
the heated milk we fed our babies trying to make it pure? If we heated milk enough
to kill germs did, we not kill the "good bacteria" too?
As you can see
from my questions all this is "whey" over my head. That "sour-smelling" cockleburr-filled
tail up aside my face might have "curdled" my brain. I'm sure the answers can
be "churned out" and there are probably more milk terms to be "separated" from
If you know of more milk terms, and can straighten me
out about the milk processes above, let me know at the address below and I'll
pass this knowledge on to our readers.
© Delbert Trew
March 19, 2004 column
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