Last summer I got together with my mother, my aunt, my siblings, Tim and Tim's mom for a great day at the Milk Shanty to learn about milking a cow. We then took the fresh raw milk and made mozzarella.
We used cream that the lovely owner Amie had already separated to make cheese. A rural day at the farm for us city kids! But we really enjoyed learning about her farm.
Update: Unfortunately, last I heard, the Milk Shanty is no longer in operation.
Cow Milking plus Butter and Cheese Making
by The Milk Shanty
Price: $60 per person
Duration: 4 hours
Location: Connecticut, USA
Website: unfortunately the Milk Shanty closed
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Ready to learn yourself? Directory of Hands-On Learning
Review of The Milk Shanty:
First thing we loved about the farm was the relaxed and happy nature of all of the animals. We rounded up Blossom and she stood calmly in her milking station. Milking was the first step.
We each got a try at milking. To me, it seemed like we struggled at the start but I could easily see how it would become muscle memory over time. It's not hard, but it takes some coordination to learn the two-handed milking technique.
With our pail of fresh raw milk we headed to the kitchen. Amie showed us the proper milk filters to use, to strain any flies or hair from the fresh milk.
Since you need lots of cream to make butter, Amie had pre-seperated cream using a turkey baster for us to make into butter. We used the mason jar shaking method, which is great for kids. (See how to make butter.)
While we passed around the mason jar to shake the butter, Amie got started on making mozzarella from our fresh milk. Tim became the butter making master and shook that cream straight into butter.
Mozzarella was a relatively easy cheese to make but can be intimating with the hot milk, citric acid, and rennet. In general terms, you use the citric acid to separate the curds from the whey. Whey is the extra liquid in the milk and can be used for baking or cooking.
Rennet then is used to bind the curds together, rather than being clumpy like cottage cheese. You then stretch the mozzarella, add salt, and form into a smooth ball. This step can sometimes involve re-heating the cheese to keep it warm and workable.
It was great to see the process from cow to cheese all in one afternoon. We deeply enjoyed her teaching style as she demonstrated the proper method but also explained why it was important.
Due to government regulations in her kitchen, we were unable to taste any products there. We went home and made the recipes again, successfully to Amie's teaching credit.
We devoured the cheese, paired with a tomato from my garden, and enjoyed our new found skills at making mozzarella cheese at home. (Learn to make your own mozzarella at home.)
We were all sad to hear the Milk Shanty closed, as this was a great one of a kind experience. We learned about her farm, her love for buttermilk as a cure-all, and the entire milking process. I would highly recommend taking a class with Amie, if she ever re-opens her farm for students.
Learn what I learned from the Milk Shanty:
Other class reviews:
- Class Review of Russ Cohen: Wild Plants I Have Known...And Eaten
- Class Review of Mass Wildlife: Basic Hunter Education