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On the 8th Day, the Farmer Created Cream

Posted By Suzanne McMinn On May 27, 2010 @ 1:05 am In Cheesemaking,The Farmhouse Table | 20 Comments

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.


See All My Recipes


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