But they wouldn't be happy in our back yard, I guess. They'd be crowded and they'd run out of grass pretty quickly. And, of course, there are those pesky zoning restrictions. Ah wall.
I don't remember if I wrote about this at all, but a while back I wanted to make mascarpone. I had a recipe that called for tartaric acid and light cream or half and half, and I figured (after a little reading) I could sub in double the amount of cream of tartar for the tartaric acid and be all set. I bought my half and half and was ready to go.
But the curds didn't set. I had a few little tiny bits of curds around the top of the pot, but nothing else going on. And I was patient, too. Sometimes the curds don't set up as quickly as the recipe says they will. That bothers me less than it used to, because there are lots of other factors that can affect the whole process, and it's best to give the milk (or cream) more time rather than (heh heh) freak out about it.
But time wasn't going to help in my mascarpone-making. I got to a point where I just kept stirring in pinches of the cream of tartar, determined to make the curds form, even if the final product would have been far to bitter to consume. I just wanted the curds, dammit!
And then, at some point that day, perhaps after I'd given up and moved on to some other task, it hit me.
The half and half I'd used?
It was ultra-pasteurized.
If it was milk, I wouldn't have bought it. I'd have made sure to buy only pasteurized milk, not ultra-pasteurized. But for some reason I didn't even think that far when I bought the half and half. I just bought it.
So here we are, now, and I'm planning a little brunch for Mother's Day. Nothing huge, just some eggs (from my sister's chickens), and mom's bringing a fruit salad, and I figured I'd make cream cheese and buy some lox and get some bagels. (Actually this really started with me saying to my sister "How about for mother's day you all come up and watch me make cheese!" Exciting as that could have been (stir in starter, let sit, covered, for 45 minutes...add rennet, stir, cover and let sit for 45 minutes or until curds are set...woo hoo!) the plan changed slightly and so I'm going to MAKE the cream cheese and I'll cook eggs for those that want them, and I'm going to make bialys instead of bagels, and that will be that. But I'll still be making a cheddar tomorrow. And some sort of chili peppers will also be involved.
Anyway, I'm way off on a tangent again.
When I went to the store a couple of days ago, I looked at all the containers of light cream or half and half. And they're all ultra-pasteurized, and therefore of no use to me.
I was not happy.
But I was thinking, I bet LOCAL dairies might have just pasteurized cream. They're not (necessarily) shipping it anywhere, so maybe they just pasteurize it.
Fingers crossed, I looked up the number for Wright's Dairy Farm and called them. The cream is pasteurized. JUST pasteurized. YAY!
Now, I've been wanting to go up there for ages, with the kids. Of course they know milk comes from cows (and goats and sheep and so on), but they've never been to a working dairy farm. So I figured we could go right after school on Friday. The cows are milked between 3 and 5 as well, so maybe we could see some of that, too. Either way, it was a beautiful day and perfect for a little field trip.
I made a list of all the dairy products I wanted/needed. I'm making another cheddar on Sunday, so I needed 2 gallons of whole milk. I'm making the cream cheese, so I needed 2 quarts of light cream or half and half. We're nearly out of half and half (for Bill's coffee) so I'd get some for him. We're almost out of milk for the kids' cereal and my coffee, so I'd get some for us. AND, I want to make my own starter cultures for cheese, so I needed skim for those.
I also ended up getting little bottles of chocolate milk for the kids, and assorted goodies from the bakery, as well as a pound of butter and a dozen eggs, just because I am an impulsive shopper and the prices were more than reasonable.
And last night I made the cream cheese. Well, I got it going, anyway. It's a very simple cream cheese - just add the culture and let it sit. I've got another hour before I can check the curd.
And that's about it for the moment. Lots to do today, but I'll be back once the cream cheese is made to let you know how that all went. And the bialys. And the next cheddar. And next week - two different starter cultures. Fun, fun fun!