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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Homemade Dairy Products

I am by nature a chronic musser as my Mom would say or in more refined terms as perpetual experimenter. Either way I love trying different things especially in the kitchen. Quite often the goal is to see if I can do it not so much as trying to save money. The secondary goal is to create a homemade substitution for those times I may need to. A homemade substitution may be a bit more expensive in terms of ingredients but it ends up being cost effect in terms of both time and expense by saving a trip to the grocery store for one ingredient. Any time you can eliminate a trip to the grocery store you will end up saving money because it eliminates impulse buying as well as the travel costs.

raw dairy ingredientsRaw Ingredients

I usually have whole milk (3.25% MF), skim milk (2% MF, 1% MF), half & half (10% MF) and whipping cream (35% MF) on hand all the time. The heavier milk fat (MF) products are used for things like creamed soups where I want a creamier flavour while the skim milks are great for frothing on latt├ęs and cappuccinos. Buttermilk and plain yogurt is something I buy only when having to refresh a starter. Both need to have active culture for this purpose.

Milk in Canada comes in plastic bags 4 L divided into 3 bags. This tends to be the cheapest way to buy milk however, some milk products can only be bought in waxed cardboard containers as pictured. While whole milk can be bought in bags, cultured buttermilk, whipping cream and half and half comes in the waxed cardboard containers. Milk and dairy prices are controlled by the Canadian Dairy Commission (CDC) so the price per L is fairly consistent across Canada and it is seldom possible to find any great sales on these products. Some grocery stores will put milk or butter on at loss leader prices occasionally.

homemade dairy productsHomemade Dairy Products

It is surprising how many products can easily be made from a few ingredients. I made sour cream (1), cultured buttermilk (2), plain yogurt (3), sweet butter (4), ricotta cheese (5), yogurt cheese (6), ricotta whey (7), buttermilk (8). Of these products the sweet butter (4) was not cheaper than current store prices but this method allows me to easily flavour it with herbs, citrus or cranberries and gives a small amount of buttermilk (8). The homemade products cost: sour cream 50¢; cultured buttermilk $2.17; yogurt $2.49, butter $3.47; ricotta cheese $1.99 with the whey and buttermilk free by-products. These are the costs with buying cultured buttermilk and plain yogurt to inoculate the fresh product. A batch of yogurt only takes 2 tbsp of starter yogurt so the rest went to the cook and yogurt cheese. Once the fresh product is ready it can be used to inoculate future batches eliminating the cost of store bought cultured buttermilk and yogurt further reducing the cost of the homemade. The cost per batch will continue to decrease using the homemade cultures until the only thing you are paying for is the milk or cream so at today's milk prices (CDN) the cultured buttermilk will go down to $1.49/L and sour cream down to 48¢. So while the homemade products are not going to save a lot per product it is still a savings.

Sour Cream1 c whole milk
2 tbsp fresh active buttermilk

Mix together and pour into mason jar. Cap. Let sit at room temperature 12 - 24 hours then refrigerate.

Cultured Buttermilk

8 oz fresh active buttermilk
3 c whole milk

Mix together and pour into 1 L mason jar. Let sit at room temperature 24 - 36 hours then refrigerate.


2 c (500 ml) whipping cream

Pour the whipping cream into blender. Beat at high speed until butter fats separate. Pour into cheesecloth lined strainer. Pat butter lightly to remove as much of the buttermilk as possible. Reserve buttermilk for cooking. Place the butter into molds or container then refrigerate. If desired season with salt or herbs.

2 food lovers commented:

J.C. Musser said...

"chronic MUSSER?" ... hmmmm. -- Mr. Musser

Garden Gnome said...

Welcom JC Musser from one musser to another :)