Magical Milk


A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, when I had young boys in the house, we used to buy raw milk from a local farmer. It came in gallon jars and cost one dollar. The stuff was ambrosia.

One dollar.

Wrap your head around that for a moment.

Since then, raw milk has become embroiled in a political … well, I don’t even know what to call it anymore. Let me just say this…a lot of really strange things are done in the name of ‘public safety’ that don’t have ANYTHING to do with ‘public safety’.

End Rant/

Now I have to tell you a secret about milk. It’s a magical substance. All those lovely things we like… cottage cheese, hard cheese, and butter that come from factories, can be made at home…. IF…. you can get your hands on some nice raw milk. Once it’s pasteurized and homogenized, your options drop sharply, though to be honest don’t go away completely, because even the store stuff makes good yogurt.


I recently bought a farm share to be able to buy raw milk from a local farm girl. Totally above board according to the state of Crazyfornia. At some point in the near future, I hope to go out to her farm and meet the cow. [Or cows, as I think there will be another one. Or that’s the plan.] Field Trip!  :-)

I will be getting a half gallon a week [since there are no more ravenous growing boy cubs in the house, this will be more than sufficient].

After a day or so sitting quietly in the refrigerator, the cream rose to the top of the jar, which I skimmed off and saved. When it was a week old, I decided to try my hand at an old skill I used to practice regularly.

Butter making.

I only had a cup of cream left, because I could not resist adding some to My Chai tea every morning. But it was enough for the experiment. In the future, I’ll save my cream. I was a little giddy and got carried away with the luxury of fresh cream in the house.

All I did was let the bottle of cream sit out and get to room temperature. Then I sat down and shook the bottle for about 10 minutes. Not crazy shaking, just leisurely… plip, plop, plip, plop. And there’s a song you sing while you are shaking your cream:

“Come butter come, come butter come. Johnny’s in the cane break, waiting for his journey cake. Come butter come, come butter come.”

Now, that’s the way I learned it. There are many variations on that theme.

Here is what it looked like right after pouring off the buttermilk.


Next time you shake your head and frown at the price of butter, please note proportions. It’s a rare and lovely thing, butter….

But before you can even think of using this, it must be washed in cold water to get as much of the buttermilk out as possible, because if you don’t, it will spoil quicker.

So, under running water, you scrape it and wash it.


Till the water runs clear.


Then you have to rub it around to get the little pockets of water out as best you can. . .


In the old days, I had a nice unfinished wooden bowl and a wooden paddle that I used which worked better than these tools. Though I managed pretty well.

Here’s the result:


About two generous tablespoons of butter AND get this… uncultured buttermilk to add to any recipe calling for milk. Nothing gets wasted with raw milk. Oh yes, I add a little salt at the very end. Very important.


As I was shaking my little bottle of cream, I got to wondering how long ago it was when I first made my own butter. Since I was busy with the bottle, I had Alexa do the math for me.

45 years ago.

This of course made me laugh out loud.

Because I am now older than dirt.

But by golly, I still know how to make butter.