Wednesday, January 20, 2010

A Real Food Failure

My first attempt at making cream cheese and whey from raw cow's milk did not go so well. I'll spell out my journey and maybe someone out there can tell me where I went wrong! I used the recipe from the book Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon.

Everything started fine. Sam and I placed a half gallon jar of raw milk on the counter and started the wait.

After three days of sitting on the counter, the cream is very separate from the milk, but I'm still unsure whether it's ready or not, so I wait another day. The recipe does say "1-4 days" after all, so I continue to wait.

After a full 4 days have passed, I decide to go ahead and attempt processing my cream cheese and whey. I got my large strainer and lined it with a clean and relatively thin dish towel. I tried really hard to only use glass containers to collect the whey, but I didn't have anything that would hold all of it. So, I ended up using a plastic pitcher in the end.

This is what was passing through the strainer.

I removed the strainer and tied the corners of the dishtowel to a wooden utensil and let the dishtowel hang until nothing else was dripping.

This is what I ended up with: a whole lot of liquid and very little cream cheese. The recipe said that I should've ended with about 5 cups of whey and 2 cups of cream cheese.

This picture's not great, but it might give you a better idea of the consistency of my "cream cheese."

I fear that I just ended up letting my milk spoil on the counter and then proceeded in separating the soured milk from the cream. The end result doesn't exactly stink, but it also doesn't smell real tasty either!

Does anyone have an idea on what I did wrong? I'd really like to start soaking oats and making fermented ketchup, but I need whey to do those things.

It's a constant learning process, but I'm stubborn enough to keep on trying!

Also, if you'd like to see posts of real food successes, then I suggest that you visit this site:


  1. :o)
    What you are trying to do, is make clabbered milk.
    You leave it on the counter, sealed, until the whey seperates from the curds.
    Then line a colander with a light dishcloth, and pour the milk into it.
    After it has drained out most of the whey, you can lay the cloth over the top, and use a small plate and a jar filled with water and covered, to press out the rest of the whey, until you get the texture of cheese you want.
    Your whey will be good in the fridge for many weeks.

  2. Oh, and your whey will be yellow.
    Just mix everythign back together, and let it sit till it seperates.
    It will not spoil.

  3. Just wanted to say, hi and that I had fun peeking at your blog.
    I grew up near Lawrence Kansas, and now live in Alaska.
    We seem to have the same values in life as well.
    Looking foreward to getting to know you more.
    Paula is our regular blog, as opposed to my new food blog.

  4. I make cream cheese from farm yogurt - just dump yogurt into towel-lined strainer for a number of hours, depending on how thick you want it.
    HAve never tried to do it straight from milk!

  5. Try using flour sack towels to strain its super fine and works miraculously.

    Or try making cream cheese with yogurt first. Much simpler. Simply put a strainer over a bowl. Line with cheesecloth. Pour yogurt into cheese cloth. Cover it all with plastic. Leave to drip at least 12hrs in the fridge or longer for thicker consistency. When done take out cloth and scoop out cheese and season. The bowl under the strainer should have your whey. Best of luck

  6. I had the same scenario. I kept the whey and used it in my recipes. I tried to let the cream cheese age but ended up throwing it out. Now I make cottage cheese with kefir and use the whey from that. It smells better to me.

  7. yogurt is definitely easier (and personally I think tastier. from clabbered milk, I'll add acid and salt first for "cheese" but for cream cheese, its tastier from yogurt.)

    it's pretty obvious when the milk has clabbered, because it will be divided about in half with a clear layer (whey and an opaque layer.)

    (also, you can soak your grains with a spoonful of yogurt, buttermilk, or even vinegar or lemon juice in the meantime.

  8. I've made whey with my homemade yogurt. I'm actually draining some right now. I'm looking forward to your posts about soaked grains and fermented foods. I tried to make some soaked grain muffins this morning, they did not rise at all and had to throw them out.

    I have Nourishing Traditions checked out from the library right now. Wow, what alot of info. I'll probably have to buy it.

    I really wish we could get raw milk. My friend buys it, and it costs her $9 a gallon!!