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.
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%.
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.
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!
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!