One of the more moving experiences during my travels in India was visiting the Gandhi Museum in Mumbai. It’s plain–basically, a modest home in a nice area of Mumbai…low tech, as well, relying mostly on framed photos and letters written by Mahatma Gandhi. The home was actually owned by one of Gandhi’s supporters, but the leader himself spent much time living there–the highlight of the museum is a large room on the third floor, where Gandhi spent much time while in Mumbai. The main fixtures are a floor mat, where he slept, and a spinning wheel, where he did the weaving he’s well known for.
While I was there, the museum was very crowded with Indian grade school and high school students, which is as it should be for the man who is equivalent of our George Washington–a leader who defied convention and stood above the fray.
I completed the experience by watching the 1982 movie, “Gandhi”, on the flight home. I had seen it years ago, but was intrigued to see it again, what with having just been through the museum, combined with the experience of some years now of monitoring the raw dairy war in the U.S.
I came to appreciate how long it took Gandhi to achieve what he did. He actually began his civil disobedience in South Africa in the early 1900s, before eventually moving back to India and putting his lessons to work. Then, it took until 1948 before the Indian subcontinent finally achieved independence, with the emergence of India and Pakistan.
Fortunately, he was a patient man, and never let the temptations of violence force him from his path. But his thinking was always evolving, and he took pride in that. “Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.”
I thought of that quote when I read over the comments at the Marler Blog in response to a flyer put out by the Marler Clark law firm warning parents not to give raw milk to their children. The flyer itself is a propaganda sheet suggesting children can die from drinking raw milk, even though none have for at least the last 25 years. (“All of these infections can result in death, especially in children…”)
A propaganda sheet, yes, but what the heck. Everyone’s entitled to their position.
The flyer is introduced by Marler Clark in a press release as something necessitated in part because “Raw milk enthusiasts have claimed that it not only tastes better than pasteurized milk but prevents against autism, cancer, Crohn’s Disease, and asthma…” So mistake one is the old demonizing-the-opposition trick by suggesting that a few such claims are endorsed by everyone who drinks raw milk.
I’d say the second mistake is for Mark McAfee of Organic Pastures Dairy Co. to use the flyer as an opportunity to question Bill Marler’s ethics. Then Bill Anderson jumps in to say it’s possible to smell potentially contaminated milk. Now, such statements may be true, but they don’t get us anywhere in the debate on how to ensure the availability of clean fresh milk.
Not surprisingly, that prompts Marler’s dogs to go on the attack, particularly someone named Dog Doctor. I even get included, as someone who “doesn’t allow personal attacks against himself on his blog although he allows and makes them on others.” Hmmm. I’d like to see an example of that. I have edited out personal attacks I regarded as potentially libelous against a few individuals, including raw milk opponents, but I’ve never cut or eliminated an attack against myself.
I suppose all this is neat entertainment for some people. And I suppose I’ve promoted such debates in the past. But I like to think I’ve moved on. Indeed, I think we all need to move on.
Raw dairy is exploding in popularity. Any number of states are considering legislation designed to ensure that it be produced safely. Yet the raw dairy opponents simply continue to oppose anything and everything. In the process, they drive the business underground. Is that protecting the children these individuals beat their chests over? It really is time to transition from the old entertainment, and do some fresh thinking. ?
Evidence is mounting that demand for raw dairy and other nutrient-dense foods will continue, even accelerate. The latest indication comes from the huge accounting and consulting firm, Deloitte, which has just published results of a national survey on “Consumer Food Safety”. While the focus of the survey is on safety, when it comes to food, a higher percentage of respondents (54%) are concerned about “healthiness of the ingredients or product” than “safety of the ingredients or the product” (49%). (See page 9 of the report.)
This isn’t to suggest that safety isn’t a major worry, but mainly to highlight how widely the concerns about health are spreading. This constitutes a major business opportunity for farmers of all types, especially dairy farmers. Look for more smart ones to take advantage of the opportunity that beckons and move to escape the market power Big Dairy wields over farmers, and finally begin to make money from their investment and labor.
I'm not Bill but can tell you about kefir cheese as I've been making it for many years. There are actually two kinds of kefir cheese, and have made both; I have not used rennet for either type and they turn out fine.
One's a soft cheese similar to yogurt cheese or chevre (goat cheese) made by straining plain, unsweetened kefir (or yogurt) through cheesecloth overnight or until thickened to your preference; I've made this many times. Since kefir is sour, the soft cheese is also rather tart, moreso than yogurt cheese. I prefer regular chevre myself.
Then you can make a pressed, aged version from the same thickened kefir (or yogurt) for a sliceable cheese that doesn't melt and keeps its shape in cooking, much like vinegar or lemon cheese; raw foodies like this cheese because it hasn't been heated in any way. Here's an excellent site on kefir cheese, and on kefir in general: http://users.sa.chariot.net.au/~dna/kefir_cheese.html
I've been making kefir with grains from both goat milk and Jersey milk, and have noted interesting differences: Goat milk kefir is runnier and buttermilk-like (real buttermilk, not the artificially thickened stuff in stores), while cow milk kefir is more solid and yogurt-like, with the butterfat separating into a layer on top; I've heard you can make a cultured butter from the kefired cream. My mother prefers the goat milk version; I prefer the more yogurty stuff; I've never added rennet to either type.
By the way, if someone wants to try some kefir grains, in a couple of weeks I'll enough for 3-4 people for the price of first-class mailing; if you pick them up in person, they're free! Dom's link above has all the instructions for helping your live grains thrive and grow; and then you pass them on. I've never charged for my grains as I got them free myself (for the price of mailing).
Check out the Yahoogroups Kefir list; belonged to it myself for several years…lots of great help and good ideas on how to use kefir; I got my grains there: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Kefir_making
PS: My customer's four-mo infant is doing wonderfully well after a month on raw goat milk… he's thriving after stalling out on regular formula and she couldn't be happier!
I can't imagine the yields would be very good with kefir cheese. The polysaccharides produced by the grains will probably inhibit drainage of the curd, and kefir is so acidic that the curd has lost all its calcium by the time its done fermenting.
If you were to moulde and drain the kefir when it hits pH 4.6 (the iso-electric point of casein), or at a slightly higher pH if you are using a small amount of rennet, you might improve calcium retention a bit more.
This is probably a case where somone like goat maid would have more insights.
On further reflection, my basic thought is this: Why use kefir culture for cheese making? It just doesn't make sense to me.
Kefir is for making a fermented milk drink. Kefir does not lend itself well to a controlled cheese making process. The polysaccarides especially — which will inhibit drainage of the curd — seem problematic, and the gas & alcohol production, plus the unpredictable acid/pH curve.
I suppose if you already have finished kefir and you just want to preserve it longer, there is no reason you couldn't make a simple fresh cheese by straining it and then salting it. But if given a choice, I wouldn't choose kefir culture as an ideal choice for making cheese.
Bill…for some reason I figured you wouldn't have much to say nice about kefir cheese. Just a hunch. I'm not sure about what kind of yield, or problems she is having with drainage….but I do know the product is good…and many people are liking it. Why use kefir….well, I gather that the biology which lends it's benefit to kefir is also present in the cheese…so that would be a good place to start (if one really needed a reason). Why is regular cheese made? For biology? for yield? Because it can be controlled? I would guess not. I think most cheese is made because it TASTES good….hence the motivation for making kefir cheese.
Making a simple fresh cheese….in a uncontrolled process…especially one which can impart the benefits of kefir biology seems like a good thing. I think she's using garlic and rosemary in it too…which makes it even more yummy. I don't believe she is checking ph…just separating out the kefir and draining the whey. She's making a number of fans for it.
In regards to Marler's lie….I've been to his site once or twice…felt really dirty while there. Glad that there are some who feel obligated to engage him…but any clear headed individual can see the lowlife pond scum that he is. He's not about safety…he's about suing people…and everything he does, he does with the next lawsuit in mind. Creating an environment where it is easier for him to extract his pound of flesh is noble work in his eyes…even if he has to lie to do it. Fear mongering is the work of the devil.
As for raw milk consumption and death from contaminated raw milk, no one really knows the numbers. If a parent is buying black market raw milk, especially in a state where it is illegal, do you really think they would tell the doctors their child consumed raw milk? I doubt it. The statistics are only as good as the reporting.
Heres my view of the brochure–it balances out the WAPF overly positive information about raw milk. People need both sides of the issue (the possible health benefits and the possible illnesses) to make an informed choice when consuming raw milk. Why are people so threatened when there is mention of pathogen contamination and raw milk? It really is a no-brainer. If cow shit gets in the milk, it could harm you. It is a simple fact. Lets just acknowledge it.
That's because you're thinking like a professional cheesemaker, Bill. But most people who would be interested in making cheese from drained kefir are raw milk consumers and homesteader-types who want to experiment. Kefir/lactic acid cheese has its place: it's simple, it's fast, it's cheap, and it tastes good, and impresses other consumers ("Wow, that's good! Can I make it?"), and so the word spreads.
Taking the next step to press the drained kefir makes a solid cheese that keeps its shape when cooked, a wonderful and much healthier replacement for tofu (especially for regular consumption) for lacto-vegetarians. There are many such cheeses made all over the world: Paneer, queso blanco, farmer cheese, etc. I know of one woman who has a regular market for the aged and pressed, no-rennet clabber cheeses she makes. And pressing it encourages people to try something more difficult once lactic cheesemaking gets boring.
Rennet cheesemaking for the complete beginner is quite expensive with rennet, molds and moulds, cheese press, aging cave, thermometers, pH meters, etc; and requires relatively long experience with a significant initial failure rate before one makes consistently good and repeatable cheese, especially when trying to learn from books and websites. Ask me how I know. LOL
By the way, I have used kefir as a starter for rennet cheeses when I was out of buttermilk or other cultures…. makes a pretty good no-name cheese, especially when you add jalapeno peppers and olives. It won't win any competitions, but it's good and impresses non-cheesemakers. LOL
For a dairy farmer to suggest that cow shit or related bacteria does not get into the milk would be misleading, most however would scoff at the idea that it is harmful and such knowledge certainly does not deter them from drinking raw milk. Simplifying the cause of an acquired illness based on contamination alone is counter productive.
Gandhi is indeed correct, a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.
The North Texas officials are grasping at straws.
So, I'm asking CP and Mary: why not ban pasteurized milk?? Pasteurized milk sickens hundreds daily and has recently KILLED even your sacred cows, children. Children, sick and dying from pasteurized milk, yet not a peep of outrage on pasteurized milk. Why don't you scream as loud to ban ALL milk? Simple solution for people getting sick from milk, raw or pasteurized.
Well, we know why, don't we? Their vendetta is only against raw milk. Anything more is changing the subject and unimportant, even children sickened and dying from pasteurized milk.
I'm sorry, but I really have a problem with hypocrites.
My customer's infant continues to thrive on raw milk, as indeed did the other infants and children in the past, and the many children who continue to consume it even now. In fact, if their household runs out of raw milk those children would rather drink water than drink store milk…. even if their parents buy it, the children refuse to drink it.
Even my dogs and cats refuse to drink pasteurized milk, yet readily drink the raw.
Another tip about lactic curd cheeses — add the rennet after the culture has had a chance to produce some acidity (but not too much). Renneting around pH 6.0-6.4 is ideal, because the casein molecules are expanding as the acidity increases and will form a better coagulum. If you let the pH get too acidic (below 6.0) before you add the rennet, the casein molecules have become too scattered and will form a poor coagulum.
For those without a pH meter, think of this as being about anywhere from 3-8 hours after intially adding the culture to the milk, depending on the amount of culture, the temperature, and the rate of acidification. If you add the rennet when the pH is still too high, you risk getting a "grainy" texture in the finished curd and your yields will suffer. If you are using cows milk, the slight acidity also dramatically speeds up the rate of coagulation per the amount of rennet used, so you don't lose butterfat to creaming — it all gets captured in the curd. (You still need to use more rennet with cow's milk than with goat's milk)
Flora Danica is an especially slow acidifier. This is not neccessarily a bad thing if you are going for a lot of diacetyl flavor, since diacetyl production happens the most at the higher pH's. BUT spending that much time at a high pH gives more opportunity for bad guys to grow (coliform mainly, which you will see as gas in the finished curd) so its especially important to have very clean milk if you are making lactic curd cheese with Flora Danica.
RE: Dipping and draining a lactic curd cheese:
If you are making a lactic curd cheese with rennet, try dipping at a slightly higher pH to improve the texture of the cheese. You can estimate the pH at dipping without a pH meter, by the color of the whey that seaps out of the curd when you break the coagulum. A neon-greenish whey means you have too much acidity, while a dull or grey-colored whey means not enough. The ideal color is a moderate-straw-colored whey. This is around pH 4.7-4.9 — slightly above the isoelectric point of casein (isoelectric point of casein is pH 4.6, where coagulation is naturally at its peak without rennet, since there are an equal number of positive and negative charges on unrenneted casein micelles)
The way you drain the curd is also important. When making a cow's milk lactic curd (i.e. fromage blanc), I always do 1 inch vertical cuts going in both direction about an hour before dipping, to help pre-drain the curd. This isn't neccessary with goats milk because much less rennet is used and so the coagulum is not as well developped and has not trapped as much whey.
It is also important to make sure there is ample drainage in the draining baskets or bags. If you have poor drainage, there will be trapped whey that will continue over-fermenting the curd, and you will end up with a soupy textured curd with no structure or body. Also, it is pretty amazing, the color difference between a well-drained lactic curd dipped at the appropriate pH, and a poorly drained lactic curd dipped at too acidic pH. The good curd will have more color, while the overly acidic curd will be pale and white.
Anyways, I'm just trying to be helpful here. If you like your kefir culture and your customers like it, more power to you. Alot of these tips could probably still be applied to making a lactic-curd cheese with kefir culture.
Mark, I wonder if you've gotten your results back on your radioactivity tests on your milk. With cesium and iodine propensity to concentrate in the mammary, and the worldwide release of these radioactive isotopes from Japan…it's a safe assumption that all milk should have higher levels of these ions in it today, as compared to a few weeks ago. Testing for sheer presence is nice, but a more quantitative analysis, done over time, would be a better way to figure out the real scope of the contamination.
"it's simple, it's fast, it's cheap, and it tastes good, and impresses other consumers"
Bingo! No "knowledge' or equipment necessary….and the final product is 'superior'.
Zero Detected Japanese radiation.
We will continue to monitor radiation. I suspect that because OPDC is in a desert with little rain fall, radiation does not tend to fall here. That just a hunch. We also shred our pastures to assure that there is new growth every time the cows enter the pastures. New growth will not have radiation on it. Another hunch.
I apologized to Bill Marler. I was less than kind when I spoke poorly of his ethics regarding his scare tactics on raw milk consumption for babies and children.
I suppose that Mike Schmidt and Ghandi would have managed Bill Marler differently. I tend to get my Scottish Broadsword out and start swinging it directly at attackers… to defend the very people that need raw milk the most…the babies and kids. I have seen and witnessed biologic miracles happen with raw milk. But….it is not a miracle. it is good old biodiversity and living food at work. Something that Marler and the FDA refuse to acknowledge or even consider.
"When Bill Marler Speaks…John Sheehan speaks".
Thats as close to Ghandi as I can get. I am working on this. I know that good Karma brings great things….for most great leaders it came after they were dead. I am impatient and want change in my lifetime. I also know that the media likes a scene….if you make a scene, you get attention and you can teach people. Teach- Teach-Teach…
All the best,
You raise the basic issue better than I ever could…"A particular contaminated food source does not discriminate against death." I agree. So I wonder, why don't you put out one of these flyers for eggs and ground beef and fast food tacos, which have sickened and killed people, including children? Why the obsession with raw milk?
Part of your answer is that the Weston A. Price Foundation is putting out what you consider to be overly positive information, so you will put out overly negative information. The fact is that many organizations are already putting out the overly negative information, beginning with the FDA and CDC, and extending through pretty much every professional medical association. I was suggesting that you (and the others involved in preparing the flyer) try to be more creative, and positive, in working to reduce illnesses from raw milk (there haven't been any of the deaths you speak of in at least 25 years) rather than merely throw more mud.
Be the change you want to see in the world. Ghandi
The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong. Ghandi
"Whenever you have truth it must be given with love, or the message and the messenger will be rejected. Ghandi
I believe all of these things as tenents of life.
These are lessons for all of us…. Mike Schmidt also tells us this is a war. I know it is….
The soothing words of a peacemaker….can afford to be spoken after the warriors give their lives so that peacemakers can speak softly.
I teach the teachable…"I also defend the taught and teachable from the structurally unteachable".
Not sure how this is categorized….probably a "dietary supplement". Jordan Ruben sold good quality dirt to people for years. Fecal transplants have been life saving for humans.
Those that attack good quality shit may not know shit.
When talking shit about shit…you better know your shit.
Some of it is life saving.
1. Mary says the brochure just "balances out the WAPF overly positive information about raw milk." I think her point falls into the same perceived pitfall she is trying to overcome. She is trying to overcome overly positive information with overly negative information. I think most people will disregard both as they realize that the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Maybe she's happy with that position though.
2. Has anyone else noticed that the comments emailed out are now being clipped off? I am now only getting the first 4 or 5 lines of most comments. It only started a day or so ago. Did something change with the service provided?
Thanks everyone! I like reading all of the exchanges even if I don't comment much.