“What’s the point?”
What’s the question, any question, and raw cream is the answer. It’s that basic and makes everything better.
I shock myself to remember back to our beloved Gert, our first cow whom we had for two months and she left us devastatingly prematurely because of my ignorance of milk fever, that I did not skim off the cream of her amazing milk. We had always put milk in our coffee before we had a cow, so we never even thought of cream.
Gert was a golden cow. As time went on we realized that life was incomprehensible without cream, so we currently put up with Elsa’s kicking. Now what to do with all this milk?
I had been experimenting with the easiest way to skim cream off of a jar of raw milk, and find that a small ladle is the easiest. The longer you let raw milk rest in the refrigerator, it looks as if you are getting less cream at the top, but it is thicker and easier to skim off. Here is a picture where the cream line of the next day after milking is marked then I shook the jar and marked the seemingly more cream line. There was not more cream expressed from the milk after shaking, but more milk was incorporated into the cream.
The amount of cream in raw milk depends on many factors: the time of year, when they have had a calf, are they on hay or is green grass growing, are you able to milk her all the way out as the last of the milking produces the most cream, and of course the breed and individual cow.
I had been looking for a cream separator for quite a while, but all were out of my price range. I found one on ebay which was a great price, from the Ukraine. There are many models to choose from and this is the one I chose, $119, but I paid a little more on ebay. The shipping was about $41 to the US and took about 2 weeks.
We were so excited when the package arrived!
And so disappointed when the motor did not work. 😦
Katya is the lovely woman from Slavic Beauty which imports these cream separators, and other very cool things (we also got some of these cozy sheepswool slippers.) When I informed her that the motor did not work and that perhaps I should get a hand turned separator instead of an electric one, she assured me that they do sell many of these in the US. They have a European plug with a plug adapter for US outlets and do not need a converter to 110v. She quickly sent the replacement, which works perfectly.
The first thing you do after milking, is to strain the milk.
Milk that is to go into the cream separator needs to be about body temperature warmth, so be as quick as you can after milking. If you are using refrigerated raw milk, you must slowly and carefully warm the milk to about 90 degrees.
To put together the separator, you start with the cones, or separating disks. This machine came with 12 cones. There are two styles of cones, I call them the “close together cones” and the “far apart cones.” One style has the little hole at the top close to the bump, and the other style has the hole far away from the bump.
The cones alternate, one “close together cone”, and one “far apart cone”, and so on until they are all stacked up. It does not matter if you start with a close together cone, or a far apart cone. When I wash them I just put all of one kind in a row and then when I stack them up I quickly pull one from each stack.
There is a rubber ring which goes into the bottom part of the separating assembly, a plastic cone with the adjusting screw which fits into the top part of the assembly.
I have experimented a lot with the adjusting screw. When the screw is turned in as far as possible, the cream is thickest, but I have found that method of separating the cream is not best for me. It is difficult to get all the cream out of the separator when it is that thick, and the thick cream is not the best consistency to use for whipping cream in coffee.
When you are ready to die and go to heaven, however, this is the perfect thing to send you to your joy. The cream is so thick you can stand a spoon in the jar. Make some delectable lamb chops and spoon some of this thick cream on top, then lick the spoon. If your cream is thinner, after a few days in the refrigerator it will continue to thicken as it continues to rise and separate further from the milk.
My experiments of different stages of the adjusting screw, from very thick cream to thinner cream. The amounts varied with thickness (thicker cream with the screw in farther) and also varied with the amount of milk Elsa was willing to give that day.
This is the screw setting that I finally found to be the right cream consistency for me.
Now to assemble everything. Screw on the top with this handy wrench which comes with the separator.
It is easy to know how much to tighten it because they added these little circles, which you keep tightening until they line up.
This now goes onto the motor part.
Next go on the spouts. The spout for the skim milk has a larger hole and goes on first, while the spout for the cream has a smaller hole and goes on top.
Then this piece goes on.
and the plastic float drops in
Then put the bowl on top and line it up so the hole faces you.
Now insert the stopper and turn it so the hole is closed. Add your warm milk to the bowl and you are ready to separate your liquid gold.
Part 2 will be how to operate the cream separator and different methods of skimming raw cream.
I would most appreciate any comments or advice from more seasoned cream separators, or just questions if some of this is confusing due to my poor explanations.