Nourishing Traditions Book Review: Part VII – Cultured Dairy

We have finally made it through the introduction and now onto the cookbook portion of the book!  I was hoping to try some of these recipes, but I don’t have the cultures needed and wasn’t going to order them specifically just for trying it out.  We do our own crockpot yogurt, but haven’t yet tried any cultured butter (we make our own regular butter), cultured buttermilk or piima.  I’m game for a try, but it won’t be this week!

We have been doing the yogurt, but I think our crockpot is on its way out.  I have my mom’s old hand-me-down and I think it gets too hot.  I’ve noticed meals that are cooked on low are done way earlier then they should be…. All that to say I think it has been heating my milk too much and killing the yogurt cultures.  I also don’t keep our home very warm (low 60s) in the fall and winter, so it isn’t warm enough to get the cultures to grow either.  I’ve also given raw milk a try and it ends up being as thin as milk with a yogurt flavor.  It is good in smoothies, but not to eat for lunch… especially not for kids.

I’m still working on getting it perfected and finding another way to get it to work.  We eat a TON of yogurt, so I’d like to be able to start making it again. I do have a friend that has a [amazon_link id=”B0002AQCL4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]reptile pad[/amazon_link] that she places her yogurt on to keep it warm to culture.  I’ve thought of that as well, but I’m cheap and don’t want to spend any money on one!  I’m looking on freecycle and craigslist to see if I can get one for a good deal.  Also a [amazon_link id=”B0006856EQ” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]grow light[/amazon_link] or [amazon_link id=”B0001WV010″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]grow mat[/amazon_link] might work as well.

Like I said… I’m working on it and will keep you updated when I find a fix that is easy, low maintenance and works!

Cultured Dairy

Dairy, historically, has been stored and consumed as cultured or soured.  Only recently has the West started to eat and drink it uncultured.  The most common cultured products are yogurt, cheese, clabber or curds and whey.

Another option is Kefir which has gained popularity in the recent past.  Kefir originates from Russia and is a great way to consume dairy, especially for those who are lactose intolerant.  Milk kefir actually consumes the lactose and makes it much easier to digest.  It also has antibiotic properties and has a great tart flavor.

Milk kefir and water kefir are two different types of grains and culture two different types of mediums… water and milk!… imagine that!  We use water kefir grains to make our own summery light carbonated drinks which we call sodas!  They boys only know this type of soda, but are actually now preferring Kombucha. Anyway… I’m off on a tangent.

I haven’t tried milk kefir and don’t have the grains to do so.  I’m sure I could network and obtain some, but it hasn’t been a huge priority for me.  I’m just not sure how I would use it.  I don’t bake much anymore where I would use milk or buttermilk since we are grain free these days.  Otherwise I would definitely use it for baking.  Do you use it?  If so I’d love to know how you utilize it!  PLEASE let me know!

Sally Fallon also mentions Piima, which I’m not really sure what it is.  I know it is cultured and I know it adds enzymes back into the milk.  It is a bit more temperamental than kefir or yogurt and takes more monitoring and care to get it to culture correctly.  It can be used to make cream cheese, which I would definitely be interested in trying one day!

Fermentation of milk increases the vitamin B and C, increases enzymes, and breaks down casein which is a protein that is very hard for the body to digest.  Also 30-40% of the lactose is also broken down in the process.

Some of the recipes that are included in [amazon_link id=”0967089735″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]NT[/amazon_link] are piima milk, cultured buttermilk, crème fraiche (would like to try this one too!), yoghurt, kefir, cream cheese, and cultured milk smoothies.  All look amazing and I’m hoping to try them soon!  My highest priorities are the yoghurt, kefir, cream cheese, and crème fraiche.

I’d love to hear if you’ve tried any of these and what you’ve done with them and how you’ve used them!  I’ll take any pointers I can get!  This is a learning process for me too!

Read Part VIII

2 thoughts on “Nourishing Traditions Book Review: Part VII – Cultured Dairy

  1. I’ve been culturing piima for homemade formula for the little girl we recently adopted. The piima was hard to start up–very finicky during that process–but since I have got it going (8 months now), it has been very easy to culture. It does take longer on cold days than warm days, but it cultures great, and I also use it in smoothies sometimes for the rest of us as it tastes very much like a mild yogurt. I’ve also previously cultured a caspian sea yogurt, which was similar to the piima in terms of how it is cultured. Once you figure one out, it gets easier.

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  2. Wow! Great! Thanks for that info! That is really encouraging and I may have to give it a try! Have you tried making buttermilk or creme fraiche with it?

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