dairy

Separating cream

We currently have 2 Jersey cows in milk, having had their beautiful babies not so long ago. As breastfeeding mums can attest, the more the babies feed the more the mums produce, which is a wonderful natural system. We milk our cows 4 times a week and which gives us around 50 litres of milk and the cows still have plenty of milk left for their babies. We stagger the milking: 2 days at the beginning of the week, 2 days towards the middle/end of the week. Per 2 days we get around 25 litres of milk. On the second milking day, we combine the 2 days of milk and put it through a cream separator.

Tom adding some hot water to the milk to increase the temperature for ease of cream separation.

Tom adding some hot water to the milk to increase the temperature for ease of cream separation.

We bought an old (around maybe 50 years?) cream separator through Gumtree. It works through a spinning action. We pour the warm milk (we found 25 degrees C to be the best, which sometimes means we need to add hot water to the milk to warm it up) into the large bowl. We pour it through some cheesecloth to ensure no debris is in the milk. Tom uses the handle on the separator to wind it up, with a little bell ringing until he reaches the desired revolutions. Once he is at the right speed, he opens the tap to allow the milk to flow into the rapidly spinning centrifuge of the separator. We see very white milk come out of the milk spout immediately. The cream takes a little longer to come out. We get around 1500ml of cream from 25 Litres of milk which is 6%.

Tom checking the temperature of the milk after adding some hot water.

Tom checking the temperature of the milk after adding some hot water.

The bowl on the separator only holds around 15 litres, so we need to fill it twice each time to get through all the milk. It ends up separating the cream and the milk beautifully. The cream is nice and rich, and ends up setting thickly after being in the fridge for 24 hours.

Tom cranks up the machine, waiting for the bell to stop before opening the tap to let the milk in.

Tom cranks up the machine, waiting for the bell to stop before opening the tap to let the milk in.

We did encounter a few problems when we first started the process. Tom had to slightly adjust the centrifuge, because it was rubbing against the outside casing and made an incredible racket! We also found out that if the milk is too cold, the cream does not run out freely and ends up clogging up the centrifuge. But I think we have the process down now!

The tap is open: the milk runs into the centrifuge and separates the cream from the milk!

The tap is open: the milk runs into the centrifuge and separates the cream from the milk!

We use the skim milk to make a basic soft cheese, which I then store in brine in the fridge, or make a cheesecake from. When we have cheesecake, we use the beautiful thick cream to go with it… Life is good on the farm!

The inside of the centrifuge consists of 22 separate parts, which are cleaned after use. They all slot into each other... amazing contraption!

The inside of the centrifuge consists of 22 separate parts, which are cleaned after use. They all slot into each other… amazing contraption!

3 replies »

Comment on this article

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s