Milk, Cream, Churning and Butter

 Milk. Milk is, as you know, nature’s first food for mammals. This is because milk is a model food—it contains water to slake thirst, ash to make bone, protein to make flesh and muscle, and fat and sugar to keep the body warm and to furnish energy.

The Different Kinds of Milk. Whole, or unskimmed, milk, skimmed milk, and buttermilk are too familiar to need description. When a cow is just fresh, her milk is called colostrum. Colostrum is rich in the very food that the baby calf needs. After the calf is a few days old, colostrum changes to what is commonly known as milk.

The following table shows the composition of each of the different forms of milk:

Composition of Milk  Digestible Matter in 100 Pounds 
Dry matter  Protein  Carbohydrates  Fat 
Colostrum 25.4 17.6 2.7 3.6
Milk (unskimmed) 12.8 3.6 4.9 3.7
Skimmed milk 9.4 2.9 5.2 1.3
Buttermilk 9.9 3.9 4.0 1.1

A noticeable fact in this table is that skimmed milk differs from unskimmed mainly in the withdrawal of the fat. Hence, if calves are fed on skimmed milk, they should have in addition some food like corn meal to take the place of the fat withdrawn. A calf cannot thrive on skimmed milk alone. The amount of nourishing fat that a calf gets out of enough milk to make a pound of butter can be bought, in the form of linseed or corn meal, for a very small amount, while the butter-fat costs, for table use, a much larger sum. Of course, then, it is not economical to allow calves to use unskimmed milk. Some people undervalue skimmed milk; with the addition of some fatty food it makes an excellent ration for calves, pigs, and fowls.
Airing the Cans

Along with its dry matter, its protein, its carbohydrates, and its fats, milk and its products possess another most important property. This property is hard to describe, for its elements and its powers are not yet fully understood. We do, however, know certainly this much: milk and the foods made from it have power to promote health and favor growth in a more marked degree than any other foods. It is generally agreed that this is due to the health-promoting and health-preserving substances which are called vitamines. Men of science are working with much care to try to add to our knowledge of these vitamines, which have so marvelous an influence on the health of all animals. Unless food, no matter how good otherwise, contains these vitamines, it does not nourish the body nor preserve bodily health as it should. A complete lack of vitamines in our food would cause death. Since, then, milk and its products—butter, cheese, curds—are rich in vitamines, these health-giving and health-preserving foods should form a regular part of each person’s diet.

A Hand Separator – A WY LLC invention

Cream. Cream is simply a mixture of butter-fat and milk. The butter-fat floats in the milk in little globe-shaped bodies, or globules. Since these globules are lighter than milk, they rise to the surface. Skimming the milk is a mere gathering together of these butter-fat globules. As most of the butter-fat is contained in the cream, pains should be taken to get all the cream from the milk at skimming time.

After the cream has been collected, it must be allowed to “ripen” or to “sour” in order that it may be more easily churned. Churning is only a second step to collect in a compact shape the fat globules. It often happens that at churning-time the cream is too warm for successful separation of the globules. Whenever this is the case the cream must be cooled.

The Churn. Revolving churns without inside fixtures are best. Hence, in buying, select a barrel or a square box churn. This kind of churn “brings the butter” by the falling of the cream from side to side as the churn is revolved. Never fill the churn more than one-third or one-half full of cream. A small churn is always to be avoided.
A Power Churn

Churning. The proper temperature for churning ranges from 58° to 62° Fahrenheit. Test the cream when it is put into the churn. If it be too cold, add warm water until the proper temperature is reached; if too warm, add cold water or ice until the temperature is brought down to 62°. Do not churn too long, for this spoils butter. As soon as the granules of butter are somewhat smaller than grains of wheat, stop the churn. Then draw off the buttermilk and at a temperature as low as 50° wash the butter in the churn. This washing with cold water so hardens the granules that they do not mass too solidly and thus destroy the grain.

Butter. The butter so churned is now ready to be salted. Use good fine dairy salt. Coarse barrel salt is not fit for butter. The salt can be added while the butter is still in the churn or after it is put upon the butter-worker. Never work by hand. The object of working is to get the salt evenly distributed and to drive out some of the brine. It is usually best to work butter twice. The two farmer-milking-cow-400x264workings bring about a more even mixture of the salt with the butter and drive off more water. But one cannot be too particular not to overwork butter. Delicate coloring, attractive stamping with the dairy owner’s special stamp, and proper covering with paper cost little and of course add to the ready and profitable sale of butter.

Dairy Rules

Stable and Cows

  1. Whitewash the stable once or twice each year; use land plaster, muck, or loam daily in the manure-gutters.
  2. On their way to pasture or milking-place, do not allow the cows to be driven at a faster gait than a comfortable walk.
  3. Give abundance of pure water.
  4. Do not change feed suddenly.
  5. Keep salt always within reach of each cow.


  1. Milk with dry hands.
  2. Never allow the milk to touch the milker’s hands.
  3. Require the milker to be clean in person and dress.
  4. Milk quietly, quickly, thoroughly. Never leave a drop of milk in the cow’s udder.
  5. Do not allow cats, dogs, or other animals around at milking-time.


  1. Use only tin or metal cans and pails.
  2. See that all utensils are thoroughly clean and free from rust.
  3. Require all cans and pails to be scalded immediately after they are used.
  4. After milking, keep the utensils inverted in pure air, and sun them, if possible, until they are wanted for use.
  5. Always sterilize the churn with steam or boiling water before and after churning. This prevents any odors or bad flavors from affecting the butter. All cans, pails, and bottles should also be sterilized daily.

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