Many of my grandma's baking recipes called for sour milk, the modern equivalent of which is buttermilk. You can cause milk to sour by adding one tablespoon vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk, but you need to use a little bit less of the created buttermilk because it's a little thinner than store bought.
What I'm finding as I use raw milk is that while raw milk will sour faster than pasteurized, once the milk goes sour it has a fabulous consistency which is perfect for baking. On the boat, I end up using half and half, cream or milk that has soured but has a second life making flavor in brownies, scones, biscuits and Irish soda bread.
This week's The Maine Ingredient column in the Portland Press Herald is about making your own cheese – ricotta, ricotta salata and Y(5) yogurt. Y(5) yogurt is a cultured yogurt that is sweeter, a little less sour and thicker than others I've made at home and on the boat and I can't make it fast enough to satisfy the mouths in this family. The only downside is it's not meant to be recultured, meaning you need to use a packet of culture from New England Cheese Supply Company every time.
To make yogurt cheese, which is spreadable and somewhat like goat cheese, line a deep bowl with cheese cloth and pour the yogurt into the cloth. Tie the ends and hang over the bowl by threading a wooden spoon through the knot and resting the spoon on the edge of the bowl. Allow the whey (the liquid) to separate from the solids overnight. Remove the cheese cloth and enjoy on crackers, toast or drizzle with olive oil and herbs.
To make cheese balls, roll into small equal sized balls and place in a jar of olive oil and a sprig of rosemary. Store in refrigerator for up to two weeks. If the oil has congealed, simple let rest at room temperature for 15 minutes and then remove the yogurt.
© 2009 Anne Mahle