On the 8th Day, the Farmer Created Cream


Okay, maybe this isn’t an earth-shattering breakthrough in dairy science, but accidentally stumbling onto the ability to control how much light cream versus how much heavy cream I get out of my milk has been pretty exciting to me. I haven’t seen this information anywhere in a clear set of instructions for the specific purpose of controlling the cream, so I feel duty-bound to share this important advancement in the pursuit of fat.

After we first got our cow, I felt like I was in light cream overload. I use light cream as coffee creamer, and sometimes in baking, but I had way too much of it–and way too little heavy cream, which I was wanting for fresh homemade butter.

I wrote here about how I pasteurize my milk, and how I discovered that I was mimicking the process of creating clotted cream.

And then! Oh, yes, THEN! I stumbled onto another, even greater, discovery. ALERT THE MEDIA.

Here’s how it happened:

The process of pasteurization involves heating, then quick-chilling (icing), fresh milk. The milk is then allowed to sit chilled for a period of time (generally 24 hours) before skimming the cream. This very closely resembles the process of creating clotted cream except for the quick-chilling, and by pasteurizing my milk, I got some clotted cream every day. Only I still mostly got light cream.

Until one day I ran out of ice. I didn’t know what to do about that, so I did the only thing I could do at the time–I set the pot of heated milk in a sinkful of cold water sans ice. This didn’t do a whole lot to chill the milk down very quickly and I finally just poured the milk into my big bowl and stuck it in the fridge without properly chilling it first.

The next day when I skimmed that bowl, I realized I had significantly more clotted cream than usual.

So the day after that, I didn’t chill my milk at all after pasteurizing–I just poured it into my big bowl and stuck it right in the fridge.

When I skimmed it the next day, I had even more clotted cream. In fact, I HAD ALL CLOTTED CREAM. I had no light cream at all!

By ceasing and desisting quick-chilling/icing my pasteurized milk in a sinkful of ice water before refrigerating and letting the cream rise, I have gone from about a pint of light cream plus a cup of clotted cream per day to 3/4 quart clotted cream per day. (This is off about a gallon and a half of milk a day.)

I was in clotted cream heaven! I was making 3/4 quart of clotted cream a day! Clotted cream for everyone! I had clotted cream coming out my ears. I was making butter every night. (If you don’t know what clotted cream is, it’s a little hard to describe if you’ve never had it–it’s not whipped cream. Clotted cream isn’t whipped. It’s naturally thick. It’s sort of like a cross between whipped cream and butter, and it’s sweet just as it is. It’s the heaviest of heavy cream. You can turn it into butter or whipped cream in a snap, or just eat it as a decadent treat topped on biscuits, muffins, pies, pancakes, etc.)

And then one day I woke up and realized I’d finally run through my light cream backlog and had no cream for my coffee. And I was tired of making butter every day. But that’s okay! I can control my cream!

I iced down the next day’s fresh milk haul–very, very thoroughly–before refrigerating. When it was skimmed, I had 3/4 quart of light cream and NO HEAVY CREAM AT ALL.

I felt like the Wizard of Oz! A genie from a bottle! The GOD OF CREAM!!!!

And so, there you have it, my great discovery. Which, probably, everybody already knows but somebody had to write it down. The real farmers are too busy.

Now that I’ve stocked up on light cream for coffee again, Beulah Petunia and I are back in clotted cream production.

French toast, made with English Muffin Bread, stuffed with clotted cream (instead of cream cheese), topped with strawberries and more clotted cream.

That is every bit as outrageously delicious as it looks.

You can find my Stuffed French Toast recipe here and my English Muffin Bread recipe here.

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  1. Sheila Z says:

    You and Beulah Petunia are the Masters of the Cream Universe.

  2. Melissa says:

    That looks and sounds so good. I am just wondering , how is it that you stay so thin? That French toast is so rich looking, my kids would love it. Thanks for the recipe. I am going to print that post so when we get a cow we will know what to do!
    Have a great night!

  3. Rose H says:

    Suzanne, living in the UK I know only TOO well what clotted cream is 😆 I’m SO jealous! :whip:

  4. CindyP says:

    You are the master of many things! Thank you!!!!!

    And that last picture is just too much to handle right now….. :hungry:

  5. Barbee' says:

    Well, reading this is like seeing a light bulb turning on over your head. How amazing. Farmers probably knew this for decades, maybe hundreds of years, but we never knew of it. Aren’t you the smart one to figure it out all by your little self. Congratulations! :snoopy:

  6. Joycee says:

    We had scones and clotted cream for brunch Christmas Day and it was heavenly! I had to buy mine at a local “gourmet” market…

  7. SuzzyQ says:

    I know how you can eat all that delicious food you create and stay thin: you work like a dog, cow and horse put together. That’s what farming is all about and in my book, you ARE a REAL farmer! You’re probably burning calories at light speed. You go, girl!!

  8. glenda says:

    Suzanne, I always let my milk cool in a large bowl overnight before I skimmed cream. Of course I didn’t pasteurize so I didn’t have the clotted cream. You could just keep making butter and freeze it to have when you turn Beulah dry.

    I keep thinking about that clotted cream………..

    Willow (my cow) is retired for two months….I do miss her milk.

  9. Susan at Charm of the Carolines says:

    I want to come eat breakfast at your house!!!


  10. monica says:

    The most beneficial inventions and discoveries are found usually by accident. Oh to have a cow!!!!! :cowsleep:

  11. ruth says:

    I suspect that this will total at the end of the month about a 10-15 pound gain… oh clotted cream how I lovvvvvvvve you! :hungry:

  12. ML says:

    Yay!! There’s nothing like discovering something for yourself. Way to go! Lovely pic of the french toast, yum!

  13. Ulrike says:

    I’ll be over for breakfast tomorrow. I hope you don’t mind.

  14. MousE says:

    Oh my… I’d get so fat, but I’m certainly not as active as you, Suzanne! Congrats on finding the secrets of cream!

  15. Sandra Daniels says:

    OH my! I am so happy you discovered this and shared it with the rest of us! I have 2 cows in waiting and am getting so ready for fresh milk, cream, ice cream, butter that I can hardly stand it! My (almost) 7 year old keeps telling me to “be patient” with Oreo and Waggie, but every day I wait and…no calf.

  16. Robin says:

    Oh my gosh. You have Super-Powers. This is why I love your site.

  17. mommy7 says:

    I am like Glenda and never pasteurize my milk. I too wondered how to get more cream and stumbled onto a similar finding like yours. If you leave milk to sit cooled for about 5 days you get more cream than you do if you skim it the day following milking. Also if you make butter you can clarify it( which is to boil all the water off and cook milk solids then strain) and it will keep for up to a year on the shelf. I have done it and love it! Just make sure not to introduce water into your clarified butter, it will cause it to spoil. I always use a clean spoon when getting some out and so far no spoiled butter. Oh, I almost forgot to mention that clarified butter can be made from soured cream( you know the stuff you thought was too bad to turn into good butter). With six kids we sometimes forgot to make butter and our cream would sour, but now I just clarify it and it is as good as new!
    I am on bed rest right now with my 7th baby, but as soon as I am free I plan to start milking again. Then I can’t wait to try making clotted cream! Thanks for the post and so many others that I am drawing ideas from. Funny thing is I found your site a year ago, but until now I was too busy on the farm to read it! Guess the silver lining to bed rest is reading your discoveries and gathering new ideas. 😀

  18. Jenny says:

    Question, I have daily fresh milk from my two jersey cows.I make my own butter but after reading this post I am n confused!😕 I get my cream by skimming the milk after the milk has set for a day or more. Is this considered light cream and would I have a better butter yield by clotting the cream? Help!!

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      You would have more butter if you have more heavy cream. What this post describes is how you can get more heavy cream by not quick-chilling the milk, which would be true whether you heat it to pasteurize it (as I was doing here) or just straight from the cow.

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