The Weston A. Price Way

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Making Piima Starter and Piima Milk

Wait a minute. Stop. Did you read the last post?  If not, do it now so you get the what and why of what we're doing here!

This is pretty easy.

First, order "Piima Yoghurt Starter" from Cultures for Health. Don't let names throw you off. In the world of traditional foods, I have found there are many names for many of the same foods! For instance, some call piima starter culture, "vili" or "villi". Others may call it "Finnish Culture". I'm fairly certain others call it something else.

While awaiting its arrival, find a warm place in your house. The temperature for making both the starter and the cultured milk should be between 72 and 75 degrees. Nourishing Traditions says that lower temps cause the culture to become "slimy" and, ugh..."stringy". Higher temps can cause separation and souring. We don't want to gag over either, do we? So let's find a place that's the right temp. In the winter, I like a heating vent. In the spring and fall, I'm partial to the back deck...until it starts getting too warm or cool. Some find the top of the fridge perfect. You find your place. Go ahead...we'll wait....

Now that you've found that perfect spot and your starter has arrived, add it to cream in a well-cleaned and rinsed jar. A pint jar is big enough, but follow the directions that came with your culture. (They may call for a larger amount than Nourishing Traditions does in their instructions.) Use the best cream you can buy. You may have to go to a non-traditional dairy for this. You can use raw from a friend with a cowshare who's willing to share cream from the top of their non-homogenized milk. You may also buy this online. One east coast non-traditional dairy is Trickling Springs.

The main thing I keep finding is that the cream and milk for both 'projects' needs to not be ultrapasteurized. Sally Fallon tells us in Nourishing Traditions that ultrapasteurized cream and milk don't contain enough nutrition to sustain the life of the piima culture.

Put the culture in the cream as directed. Stir and cover with a firm-fitting lid. Set aside in that special place you found. Wait a day...a full, 24 hour day. Put the thickened cultured cream in the fridge where it will thicken a bit more. It will be good for months. If it ever smells bad, trust your nose's gut and get rid of it.

NOW you're ready to make some piima milk.

Let's make a gallon. The numbers are simple to reduce to a smaller portion if you like.
Into a gallon of the best milk you can find, (according to Nourishing Traditions, non-homogenized is the only way to go-remember Trickling Springs- but from what I can find through other sources, non-homogenized may not actually be mandatory), ADD 4 TBS. of the starter culture you made. (above)
Stir, cover with firm-fitting lid, put in that warm spot you found. (above)
Leave it 20 to 24 hours.

If you're new to cultured milks, go the 20 hours. Cultured products, as well as tastes for them, develop with time. If you find cultured piima milk a bit strong for your liking, try using it in a fruit smoothie. And remember, yummy products like yogurt and dairy kefir are cultured. Fine cheeses are cultured. Good things are cultured. They take time. They require specific intention. And they add dimension and quality to life.

When you are a 'cultured' person, it means you're well-rounded. You are familiar with and have an appreciation of some of the finer things in life.

...Well looky, looky at you, oh, finely cultured one!

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