21 June 2010

Food Lab 3: Milk

On Saturday, June 19 the milk challenge was on.

Why milk?  Well, you may recall that the IA by Day-Chef by Nights were unable to participate in the Deglazing lab due to the early arrival of The Spawn.  So...new baby = milk.  Yes, we're all secretly 12 year old boys.

So we started with a taste-test that included:
  • Skim milk
  • 2% milk
  • Whole milk
  • Kefir
  • Goat milk
  • Buttermilk
  • Half and half
  • European style heavy cream
  • Regular heavy cream

Among the "regular" milks, whole milk was the clear winner.  Actually, the only reason we even had skim was because Chef Spouse insisted we needed to include it in the test trials.  Verdict?  Yuck.

When it came to cow's milk versus goat milk, there wasn't as much difference as you'd think.  The cow's milk was a bit sweeter, but without doing a direct comparison, you might never notice.

The kefir was tangy like yogurt and thick like heavy cream.  Quite yummy, but very different.

The verdict on buttermilk was that it tastes better all by itself that anyone thought/remembered.

Half -n- half versus whole milk?  There's not as much difference as you'd think.

Same thing with the European style versus regular heavy cream.  Although European style has more fat (35% versus 30%), there's not much of a difference, taste-wise.

So once the tasting was over, we got to cooking with milk products.

The initial focus was various ice creams. We made 3:
  • Salted caramel - recipe forthcoming
  • Peach - very traditional - peaches, sugar, heavy cream, cinnamon, uncooked
  • Avocado - salt, sugar, lime, coconut milk, also uncooked
All 3 were delicious, particularly the salted caramel that is extremely rich and the consistency of soft-serve.  More on that later.

For the main meal, we made milk-braised pork (whole milk), a gratin of potatoes and turnips based on the recipe in Larousse Gastronomique (using the kefir), Parker house rolls (two batches - cow versus goat milk), and sliced tomatoes with chiffonade basil and cheese we made with skim milk.  We also made a shortbread that we ate with strawberries and cream.

Skim milk does not make good cheese.

The Parker house rolls were good either way - the cow's milk were a bit fluffier, but the goat's milk seemed to make better tasting rolls.

The gratin was quite tasty - between the turnips and the kefir, it definitely had extra zing.

As usual, we played around with some drinks, too.

We made Ramos Gin Fizzes using the recipe detailed back in March.

We also had some blueberries, so we made a drink with milk, gin, basil, the blueberries and sugar, topped with club soda that was surprisingly tasty.


Skim milk sucks.

Kefir is really, really unusual and yummy.

There's a reason people used to drink buttermilk straight.

You could probably replace the half and half in your coffee with whole milk without even noticing the difference.

And if you drink milk, you'll want the whole around anyway.


shoegal said...

The only milk I drink straight is buttermilk. So yummy and surprisingly low fat!

Liam O'Malley said...

No sheep's milk or raw? Raw cow's milk is so yummy (but admittedly you have to go a bit out of your way).

I really like the tang of goat's milk and goat's milk yogurt (of course I'm a big fan of goat cheese so that figures).

The only milk that I drink regularly though, is skim :P

But I get local stuff that's from right out in the Shenandoah and even the skim is still pretty awesome.

Anonymous said...

@Liam - we wanted to try both, but couldn't find either (admittedly, I think we started looking too late).