Clabber Milk

We love buttermilk but unfortunately I have never seen it on the dairy shelves here on the coast of Ecuador.  So again like Little House on The Prairie, Pequena Casa en la Costa has decided to make it from scratch.  I know all about using lemon juice or vinegar but Joe does not have a tolerance for either so I needed to find another solution. And there are cultures if you lived someplace where you could buy them. But again that is not available here.  This is actually clabber milk which is very similar to buttermilk.

According to all that I have read it is a good substitute for buttermilk in most recipes.  First you must start with raw milk.  We have a good supply of raw milk here so I was ready. I took one cup of “still warm from the cow” raw milk (older milk will work faster)  and put it in a clean glass jar. Place the lid on top but loose and cover with a coffee filter or paper towel held around the jar with an elastic band. This keeps out any critters. Place on the kitchen counter and walk away as it does its thing!

Allow it sit for a day and check it, it should start to separate and look like pudding or yogurt. It took mine two days to get this look because I used fresh milk.  My goal was to make one quart of buttermilk.  Now add another two cups of milk, stir and allow it to sit until it starts to separate like the first cup. This could happen in a matter of hours so keep and eye on your jar.  I added one more cup of store milk.  The original must be raw milk but the next three cups can be regular store-bought milk.

If it has an off smell or discolors you should not use it. Something went wrong in your process.

It was not as tart as normal buttermilk but it worked well in my recipe. Yum!

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Kefir

While living in Panama, I was given a gift of Kefir Grains. I did not know anything about kefir at the time but decided to try it. What a wonderful yogurt type drink it makes. I think it is more flavorful than anything you buy in the store. First I guess I need to explain that kefir is a probiotic beverage. I have purchased two types of grains: milk kefir grains and water kefir grains.The milk kefir grains can be used with cow milk, goat milk or coconut milk. The water kefir grains can be used with sugar-water, juice or coconut water but more on water kefir when I start working with that in a few weeks.

Kefir grains consist of bacteria and yeast existing in a symbiotic relationship. The term “kefir grains” describes the look of the culture only – it is not a grain at all.

San Clemente 8.18b.2013 002I purchased these grains from a company in the US and had a friend bring them with her when she visited the states last month. They come in a dehydrated state and need to be rehydrated with milk to work properly.

Kefir 8.11.2013 008 I have a supply of raw milk delivered to my door three times a week. For .60 cents I buy a quart of beautiful full fat milk that I have used for making puddings in the past. Now I am using it for my kefir. It will take up to 8 attempts to get my grains really producing. Right now I am only making one cup at a time to get the grains to multiply. Once they start to multiply I will have more grains than needed and will eventually be able to share with friends and neighbors.

Kefir 8.11.2013 011The result, using one cup of kefir with a half pint of fresh frozen strawberries, was two dessert dishes of almost soft-serve consistency. No sugar added just the fresh frozen berries with the tart kefir…it was a hit.