by Texas Homesteader
Recently we had a cow give birth to a calf. Although she gave us a fine, healthy heifer calf, she was having a difficult time with her calf emptying one of her teats.
Each day that one teat grew bigger and we’d hoped that the calf would eventually latch onto it like she was the others. (we’ve had that circumstance in the past and it’s always worked out fine)
But the teat began to get so full it was large & tight and too difficult for the calf to attempt to nurse it. So she just didn’t.
I was worried about the cow developing mastitis so I knew I needed to take action. I’ve never milked a cow before. Ever. Until now. Ain’t nothin’ to it, y’all! I feel like an official country woman now!
Milking My First Cow
With the first milking I didn’t attempt to capture the milk for our use, my goal was simply to strip the teat and hopefully allow the calf to take over from there.
But the next day that one teat was ballooned out again. Although our cattle are a beef breed and not a dairy breed I’d always wanted to try milking one of our cows to get fresh milk for us. Maybe now’s the time!
It took about 30 minutes for my clumsy amateur learning curve to get that one quad milked. But I captured almost a half gallon of fresh milk.
Now I wonder what I’ll do with it. Maybe I’ll make yogurt with it, or maybe butter. And since I’m making homemade bread for my handsome RancherMan I’m thinking homemade butter for that bread might qualify me for wife of the year. I’m just sayin… 😉
Asking For Advice
I’ve never tasted raw milk before and I wondered if it was an acquired taste or if you just chill it icy-cold and drink up. I’m assuming you refrigerate, wait until the cream rises, skim the cream, then just drink the milk cold.
I love milk but I typically drink Braum’s fat-free milk and I wonder if my taste buds should be wary of the difference… So I put the question out to our Facebook followers.
Ellie said: We put our raw jersey milk in a modified freezer in plastic bottles (for our dairy) or plastic pitchers to cool it down quick. For ourselves we skim off the cream and save it for butter and whipped cream, and drink skimmed milk. Jerseys have the most cream and it is a bit too rich to drink it with the milk. To us the jersey milk tastes sweeter than store milk (only reason we do our own cow milk…and because we can and we like the whole process…)
Lois said: We just chill, shake well, pour and drink. Skim as much of the cream off top that you can and then chill milk–make sure you shake it well before drinking to blend any cream you may of missed. Trust me once you get the ice cold taste to fresh milk you’ll wonder why you have not been drinking it this way all along.
Kelly said: It’s amazing! And so different from store bought skim. I wouldn’t call it an acquired taste, because it’s delicious from the start, but it’s much richer than skim. Our farmer chills ours for us before we pick it up, but we just shake it up and drink it straight. I only skim the cream off the top if I’m making ice cream. Which I highly recommend as well. We love, love, love our local, organic, raw milk.
Separating The Cream
I initially used a large fat separator pitcher to allow the cream to rise. Then I poured the skimmed milk into a large clean canning jar. (NOTE: I found a much easier way to separate the cream from that fresh milk! Check it out, y’all!)
I typically make homemade yogurt almost weekly. So by using this fresh milk for yogurt I’m also pasteurizing it as well since I heat my milk up to 180 degrees anyway.
I made a full batch of yogurt, placing a dollop of homemade jam in the bottom of each jar before pouring in the yogurt culture. It was delicious!
I also used the skimmed cream to make butter (I’ll be sure to share that soon!) and the resulting buttermilk byproduct of the butter was used to make my homemade KitchenAid Sandwich Bread. So none of this fresh goodness was wasted.
All in all although I didn’t drink the milk raw, I’m pretty happy about all the products we typically enjoy that I was able to make with this milk from our very own cow.
Maybe next time I’ll be brave enough to drink that milk raw. What about you – do you love the taste of raw milk?
Links In This Post:
- How To Separate Cream From Fresh Milk
- Easy Homemade Yogurt
- RancherMan’s Favorite KitchenAid Sandwich Bread
See All Our Recipes
Other Ranching Articles
- Successful Obedience Training For Our Ranch Dog
- What Working From Home REALLY Means (and what it DOESN’T)
- Ranching: A Good Life, But A HARD Life
- The Sad Side Of Ranching
- A Glimpse Into Our Texas Homestead
- How We Came To Our NE Texas Homestead
- A Pictorial Tour Of Our 1880’s Barn
- Weaning Day Done PROPERLY!
- Temporary Cattle Stocking For Flexibility
- How Much Is Your Reflection In The Mirror Worth?
- Building Life With Our Own Two Hands
- Why Bother With This ‘Homesteading’ Thing??!!
- Whispers Of Past Lives Lived On Our Land
- Milking My First Cow – Using Fresh Milk
- Easily Separating Cream From Raw Milk
See ALL Ranching Articles
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How cool! I would love trying to make some of my favorite recipes with fresh milk. Thanks for joining the Family Joy Link Party!
I was pretty excited too Samantha – it was my first time to use fresh milk. The yogurt turned out beautifully (and delicious!) ~TxH~
The first time we tried raw milk it tasted like grass. We didn’t care for it and were a little nervous to try it again. The next time we did, though, we were in love. We’ve gotten raw milk from a few different places and it tastes just like ‘regular’ milk, except like the freshest, most delicious and creamy milk you’ve ever had. When I buy store-bought, I get 2%, but when we get raw we drink it whole. The cream separates, we just give it a shake before serving. I encourage you to try it!
I must try just drinking it next time Susan, I’m so afraid I’ll not like the taste. Now I’ve milked her a couple of different times and each time all the milk went to good use such as for yogurt and butter, but I’m really curious to see if I’d like the taste of raw milk. ~TxH~
I loved your post! I’m so glad you are experiencing the joys of fresh cows milk! Thanks so much for sharing with us at the homesteader hop!
It was eye opening for me Jamie and a whole new experience I’d never encountered before. I loved being able to help the mama cow, I loved learning a new task and I especially loved putting all that fresh milk to good use! ~TxH~
We use a turkey baster to suck the cream off the top. It works really well and is super easy.
Thanks so much for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop. I hope we see you there again today! Pinning 🙂
The turkey baster’s a good tip Kelly, thanks! ~TxH~
I can’t wait to get back to having my own farm, complete with a Jersey cow to milk! I love the milk, raw & whole. There is NO better egg nog, bread pudding, yogurt, kefir, butter, and simple cheeses, than from fresh, raw, whole milk. It kept my 6 siblings and I healthy and well fed, back when we only had what we could raise or grow ourselves – or use those things to barter for. Just remember to shake the jug – unless you like nice thick rich cream a lot – like in your coffee.
I know milk is different from milk cows versus the beef breed I milked on this occasion, but DANG I loved it, Carla! And you’re so right about shaking that jug first. Although I was pretty successful at skimming almost all of the cream using a large gravy separator I don’t think there’s a way to get it all. But I hope to be able to sneak more milk at a later time from an established cow and use that fresh milk again.
I remember when my sister milked our cow when we were young. It was hysterical. What a great experience and so many ideas for the milk. Glad the calf is doing fine.
Thanks for sharing at Wake Up Wednesday,
I was so nervous Beverly, I’d never milked a cow before. It was super easy to do but I think the success is largely due to me taking the time to allow her to let her milk down. I have a newfound respect for those that hand-milk their own cows – easy to do but pretty time consuming. LOL ~TxH~
Loved this… it reminded me of visiting a farm as a little girl and milking a cow too! Thanks for sharing this with Share The Wealth Sunday
🙂 Lisa – I’d never milked a cow before so this was a first for me. ~TxH~
My first experience at milking a cow was in Montana. ( NOT FOR ME not again )
My first experience at bucking bales was in Montana. ( 740 acres NOT FOR ME stacking hay in a barn at 90 degrees is no fun )
My first experience at tasting Rocky Mt. Oysters was in Montana. ( Gross )
My first experience at riding a horse was in Montana. ( Fell Off ) it was bare back.
So it sounds to me like TMR is for sure a Better Cowgirl than I’ll ever be as a cowboy.
Yes I have tried fresh Cows milk before from the person that was teaching me how to milk a cow …
He squirted right in the face and some got into my mouth… NOT FOR ME !!!
Strange My wife is Japanese and when I wake her in the morning she wants hot milk before she goes to work. I’ll take coffee if you don’t mind.
LOL Greg. Some people love to paint landscapes (NOT FOR ME). Some people like to redecorate (NOT FOR ME) I’m sure you have your own strengths and interests that you love as much as I love this whole ranching thing. But there’s one place where we are both on the same mindset – coffee for me too!!
Wow!! Good for you!! I would be scared to milk it!! Thanks for Sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday!! Hope to see you again this week!! I Pin everything to My 2 Favorite Things Pinterest Board!
I always like drinking fresh milk! Great way to enjoy it too!
I hope to try drinking the raw milk in a few weeks when I milk our next dam for a couple of days. Lots of folks say it’s amazing. ~TxH~
We milk our two Jersey’s every day and there’s no going back. Be aware that any mechanism you use to ‘skim’ the milk at home other than a centrifugal cream separator, will give you milk of about 1.5-2% fat. The store milk has been put through a separator which spins every skerrick of cream out of the milk and it is truly ‘fat free’, or taste free or whatever you want to call it 😛 When we’re collecting cream for butter (or dessert or making sour cream) we skim after the milk bucket has been in the fridge for 48hrs and the cream is almost ‘set’ as a raft of heavy cream on the top. Then it’s saved in it’s own 5L ‘cream bucket’ until there’s enough then I make butter and stack it away in the freezer. I’ve milked Limousin and Charolais mamas who’ve blown a large conical ‘bottle teat’ and they have always been so patient with me.
Interesting CassizOz – thanks for sharing your experience. I was pleasantly surprised that this dam allowed me to walk her into the chute (the only confinement mechanism we have present here) and milk her. She seemed relieved that I was reducing the pressure on that teat and she stood patiently while I did so. I too noticed that there was going to be some of that cream in the milk itself even after I skimmed the cream from it, but it still worked well. I think the yogurt that I made had some of that cream remaining in it since it had a slightly different ‘feel’ on my tongue. It worked great though & I look forward to my next opportunity to sneak a bit of milk from our dams, which should happen in the next few weeks. ~TxH~
Here from Homemade Mondays– I’ve always wanted to try raw milk! Unfortunately, the only place around here you have to buy a share and I’d like to try it first, since the shares are on the pricey side. I’d love to hear what you think when you try it! I would imagine its a bit different- I drink whole milk that’s organic but I think it will still taste quite different!
I’ll be sure to share Embee. I took a sip of it when it chilled off and after I’d skimmed the cream. Although it tasted fine, I knew it would be a different taste than what I was used to so I decided to make yogurt with it instead since my yogurt is sweetened and flavored with homemade jam. I figured it would be a way for me to ease into the difference of taste before I just drank it, but I didn’t get another chance to milk the dam since her calf properly latched onto her afterward. I’ll be milking the next dam in the coming weeks and I want to try drinking the raw milk then. ~TxH~
When we are lucky enough to get raw milk from a local dairy, we collect it in a plastic 2 gallon container with a tap installed. We take it home, let it sit long enough for most of the fat to rise, use the tap to drain the milk from the bottom into bottles (i use glass bottles), this allows us to easily separate the cream layer. I have found the raw milk tastes great with or without the cream so we only separate it if we want to make something from cream itself.
Oh!! A tap installed. What a great idea Tara. I wonder if I could use one of those sun tea jars? If I could get one in glass it would be easier to clean. Hummm… Thanks for sharing your experiences. ~TxH~
Those sun tea jars work perfect. You can find something like that at Walmart, The Pioneer Woman has some fancy ones in her line.
OH Judith – great idea. I wonder if I can find one in the thrift store… Thanks for the tip! ~TxH~
I’m New York City born and bred, but during the one year I lived out of the city I often had fresh milk and eggs. Every time my ex helped the old farmer up the road, I would find a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs on the steps. So good! I would skim off the cream to whip or use in coffee or make butter, then drink the milk. I was pregnant at the time and desperately needed the milk or else I would crave ice cream!
Aaahhhhh…. The age-old and so-appreciated bartering method. That sounds great Kathleen. What a gift! ~TxH~
The cow and calf are beautiful. I milked a cow at my grandparent’s farm when I was young. There is definitely a trick to it. Good for you!
Thanks Lucy, we love the look of the Hereford breed and c’mon, calves are ALWAYS cute! 🙂 You’re right, there is a trick to milking a cow and I jumped online when I decided I needed to make a move & did some research to make sure I knew what I was doing. Like I said, I was a newbie so it took me probably longer than the veteran milkers take but I finally got it done and hope to be able to milk another of our dams for a day or so in the coming weeks when she calves and after the calf has nursed for a couple of days first. ~TxH~
Yeah for milking cows!!!
We have been milking for seven years now and there is no going back. I bring the milk in, strain, and put into an ice cold fridge. We drink full fat, raw milk. I make kefir, yogurt, pudding, ice cream and cheese. Skim milk is void of the necessary fat based vitamins. We don’t pasteurized because it kills all the good bacteria but not necessarily the bad. The good bacteria keeps the bad bacteria in check.
I have milked scottish highlanders, jerseys, and cross breeds. The meat breeds tend to have a more cow-y taste vs the jerseys. 🙂
I wondered about the milk breeds vs beef breads having a difference in milk taste Megan – thanks for confirming. I know milk breeds have heavier cream than a beef breed will. I also hear that their diet makes a difference in the taste of milk as well. Our Herefords are primarily grass-fed, supplemented with cattle cake only when conditions warrant for extra nutrition. I’m assuming milk breeds are probably supplemented more heavily and more regularly for their high-nutritional needs to produce milk, but I’ve never owned a milk-producing dairy animal so I’m just guessing. The yogurt, butter and bread I made using our Hereford’s milk was delicious, but I still plan to take the plunge and try drinking some of the raw milk next time. ~TxH~
We don’t have a cow but we get raw milk from our Amish neighbors. We let it sit in the fridge over night and then my husband came up with siphoning off the milk which leaves the cream in the jar. We use a piece of copper pipe and a exercise band that he cut. I put my milk on a flat bottom bowl and then my empty jar in the drawer so that it sits lower. stick the copper pipe into the milk with one end of the band snuggly on and then suck on the other end to get the milk flowing and stick it into the empty jar. I like to use the knob on the cabinet to hold up the extra band just so it doesn’t get in the way or pull out of the jar. Raw milk is great I never used to like milk, but I can drink this I pray I never have to go back to store bought. Raw milk doesn’t go bad like store bought does, bad store bought milk can kill you but raw milk can still be used for different things, though I haven’t been able to bring myself to drink it when it gets to old I do feed it to the chickens or pig or dog or cats. Hope this helps you try drinking it raw. I like it better after the cream is off, it sure doesn’t taste low fat, because it isn’t watery tasting.
Separating the milk from the cream was a big question to me too Angela, thanks for sharing the way y’all get it done. I’d have never thought of siphoning. We’re right there with ya though, we made sure none of that precious milk went to waste! The butter was made and enjoyed, the resulting buttermilk was measured into 1/2-cup increments and frozen into disks for me to thaw & use when I’m baking bread. And of course the yogurt was made immediately and I went through it a container at a time when I enjoyed it for my breakfast each morning. I did strain about 2.5 cups of my yogurt in cheesecloth until it was very thick and we used the resulting yogurt cheese in place of purchased cream cheese when my handsome made me homemade truffles for my birthday – it worked great! ~TxH~
You could get one of those ice beverage jars with a spigot on the bottom. You could dispense what you want for drinking and still open the top to scoop out the cream as needed. I remember the first time I milked a cow. I got smacked in the face with her tail, just like one of the Three Stooges!
I actually bought one of those spigot jars, Judith for the sole purpose of using it for fresh milk. This time there wasn’t near as much cream that floated to the top so I just mixed it all in when I made yogurt with the milk. I put a dollop of homemade blueberry jam in the bottom of each of my yogurt jars before I poured in the warm yogurt starter – delicious! I’m snickering over your Three Stooges moment – oh to be a fly on the wall. LOL ~TxH~