Cow’s milk has been a staple in people’s kitchen since a long time and it is an ingredient and a popular source of food that dates back to prehistoric times.
In Central Europe, people began drinking milk from as early as 7,500 years ago. First consumed as is, milk was discovered, could be used to make a variety of foods that we know of today.
People around the world use cow’s milk in our days to produce cheese, butter, sour cream, and yogurt and to cook up traditional foods.
A brief history of how people started drinking cow’s milk
Milking cows is a farming activity and one that allows people to use milk in a variety of ways to produce food.
The first people to discover that cow’s milk is good for human consumption were early farmers who domesticated animals for agricultural purposes and food necessities.
In those days, however, only a certain percentage of the population drank cow’s milk, particularly people in the northern region, studies have discovered, drank more milk to substitute for vitamin D deficiency.
The consumption of milk is now widespread and people everywhere use milk in various ways every day, not just to compliment coffee, but to make a variety of foods.
Here is how to make yogurt, cheese and butter at home
You can make yogurt with milk bought from grocery stores or farmers’ market. People in Europe make yogurt from unpasteurized milk that they purchase directly from farmers.
Making yogurt is a simple process that requires bringing the milk to a boil, then allowing the milk to cool down at room temperature and storing the milk in glass jars.
The milk can be combined with sour cream to produce a creamier type of yogurt or with previously made yogurt so that it ferments faster.
This type of yogurt in the Balkans is called sour milk and it is a yogurt often consumed as beverage, but it is also added to bread when making dough and cake batter. You can follow the same recipe with store bought milk.
Cheese can also be made using raw milk or pasteurized milk.
One of the easiest cheeses you can make at home is farm-style cheese that requires only milk and fresh lemon juice. It’s a type of cheese you can add to salads, make into a dessert or use as filling for pies.
Recipe takes bringing the milk to a boil and stirring in the lemon juice when the milk starts boiling. This will separate the milk curds from the whey. The longer the curds cook, the more rubbery the texture, so if you prefer a more rubbery cheese, make sure to cook the curds longer.
Use cheesecloth to drain the curds or a strainer. You can complement the cheese with salt, pepper or other seasonings.
Butter is produced from heavy cream and when making homemade butter, you’ll need a mixer, about 1 cup of cream and salt if you prefer your butter a bit salty.
Start with mixing the cream at low speed, gradually turning up the speed until the cream separates. Store the buttery solids in a mason jar and keep refrigerated for longer use.