In the last post (Living on the edge…) I mentioned that I buy fresh (raw) milk at a small farm for my family. I take off most of the cream to make butter. This leaves buttermilk. And buttermilk is not where cheese comes from, right?
Have you ever actually poured buttermilk in a glass and sipped it? Me either. I can’t bring myself to try it. It just sounds bad. My father drank buttermilk. He swore it was good. He also said that about headcheese. Lots of people seem to like headcheese, but it kind of canceled his vote with me, you know?
But back to buttermilk. It doesn’t look good. It doesn’t smell good. After extracting the butter (and this is the current crop- luscious!) I end up with a big batch of buttermilk. I can use it for fried chicken ( I’ll explain that another day with photos). We don’t use up much this way since we don’t have fried chicken every week. Hypothetically I use it for salad dressing too, but in reality we use very little salad dressing. My kids like things “nekked”. So all this buttermilk sits in the freezer.
The Buttermilk Calamity: Tonight I took out just a bit to thaw. It helps to put a little in with the cream before you start shaking the butter out. I put that little bit into the microwave (cause I didn’t have my thinking cap on) and set it to thaw for about 3 minutes (see what I mean). So when I noticed that it was boiling I took it out. Then I realized that it had separated. What was buttermilk, now looked like “curds and whey”. It kind of looked bad. Like really bad.
It didn’t smell bad. It smelled somehow familiar, and really, really good! I grabbed a fork and tasted a little of the curd (yeah- I’m like that). It was cheese! An accidental cheese. And It was great! I also had the hubby taste it (he tried not to- the wuss!). After I lovingly encouraged him (to stop being a baby) he tasted it. He agreed- it’s like some sort of mild, buttery fresh mozzarella flavor. I then googled “heat buttermilk make cheese” and discovered that there are many recipes for “farmer’s cheese”. They all seem to be mainly milk, buttermilk and salt (occasionally vinegar). Here is a link to a video of Matt and Ted Lee making Buttermilk Fresh Cheese on the Martha Stewart show. Don’t worry, Martha and I have an understanding. Like: when there are links all over the video allowing you to share it, I understand that it’s probably okay to share. So here it is. Courtesy of Matt and Ted, via Martha. BTW, Matt and Ted have a truly brilliant cookbook: The Lee Bros. Simple Fresh Southern.
So, if you have a Buttermilk calamity of your own (well, it could happen!) remember that it’s not a total waste. Grab some crackers, put your feet up and enjoy a cheese break! .