Saturday, September 13, 2008

13 September 2008: Clotted

Doesn't feel like Devon here really. Possibly because it isn't.

The TV is on the 'Weather Channel' right now, as they continue their thoroughly excited coverage of hurricane Ike, complete with flashy graphics and waterproofed-up meteorologists getting blown over in Houston. The projected track of Ike, interestingly, has it turning north-eastward fairly rapidly and making a beeline for Kokomo, where it's expected to arrive sometime Sunday evening. Of course,by that stage it'll be little more than a heavy shower, having been tracking across Missouri and Illinois for several hours and become thoroughly bored in the process. Probably won't even match the thunderstorm we had last night.

Still, it's different from Devon. Saturday morning here, yet only an hour (from when I write this) until Plymouth Argyle are playing. And that means, give or take the somewhat immediate need to return the rental car, that I'll be heading to the Pasoti chat room to keep up with the Norwich game and find out how the new players are doing. And, of course, discuss with other Plymouth exiles (usually located in Ottawa, North Carolina and New Zealand) the fact that you can't get decent pasties and clotted cream in such places, unless you go to Texas and visit Central Market. And so, you have to make these things yourself.

As readers with bovine interests might recall, earlier this year we discovered a local-ish farm that specialises in Swiss dairy cows, feeding them nothing but organic grass and allowing anyone to view the entire process, from grazing through to buying the cream-rich minimally-pasteurized and, importantly, non-homogenized milk in their shop. So, Gloria dropped in there and got about four pints.

And then we (well, to be precise, Gloria did almost all of it...) made clotted cream.

And now, thanks to reading this blog, so can you. Here's how you do it:

  1. Go to Traderspoint and buy some cream-rich milk. OK, you may not be living near Indianapolis. Umm... well, if you're in the UK, go to Sainsbury or Waitrose etc and buy some Gold Top milk. All the biggies stock it. Of course, they also all stock clotted cream, but that's beside the point. Otherwise, just get the best, richest milk you can. It's hard in the US to find milk that hasn't been homogenized, but look hard and try the organic shops. Jersey or Guernsey cow milk is traditionally the best, however we found that Swiss cow milk is very good too.
  2. Also buy - and here's part of the key - some cream. Double cream in the UK, heavy whipping cream in the US. Again, get the best you can, but cream isn't homogenized so it's less of an issue. This boosts the cream amount of the mix, and keeps the price down.
  3. Put the milk in a bowl. Add the cream. How much? Well, we used roughly a 1:4 ratio of cream:milk, but with better, richer milk you probably need less cream.
  4. Put the bowl the fridge for 12 hours. We did this bit overnight. Then...
  5. Several ways to do the next bit, but here's what we did and it worked: put the milk bowl over a pot containing warm water. The water must be warm but not boiling - our hob involved putting it on a setting between 'low' and '2' (doesn't have a '1', just like TV channels over here - I guess they don't like that number in this country). The milk must get warm but not boil.
  6. After about an hour and a half, the top will get crusty and, in our case, slightly cracked. This is because the cream is being pushed to the top by the heat. To me, it seemed a little thin, but then we got much more cream than I thought we would so don't worry if it seems very little. The longer you leave it, the better: we did three or four hours in the end for this stage.
  7. When you're bored with the waiting, prepare a tray of ice water. Cold cold cold. Put the milk bowl into the ice water. Leave it for a couple of minutes, so it cools. Then, as soon as it's cool enough, put the bowl back in the fridge. As before, leave it for a while - a few hours was sufficient for us.
  8. Skim off the clotted cream from the top using a big spoon. Put it in a bowl (see photo at top of page). If a little liquid comes with it, that's good, it will be soaked up into the cream. Bowl into fridge again, just to firm up, then make your scones, get out the triple berry jam and off you go.

So that's it - you can make your own clotted cream. It's a little expensive because of the quality of the milk you need, but it's still - generally - cheaper than buying it, even in the UK, because of the amount you get (we got the equivalent of one of those big tubs from Langage and that was just using two pints of milk).

And what to do with the whey - the left-over milk in the bowl? Well, whatever you want: effectively, what you've now got is reasonably skimmed milk. So, have it on your cereal, cook with it, whatever you like. The Rodda people dry it and sell it as skim-milk powder: in fact, I read that the majority of skim-milk powder in the UK comes from clotted cream production.

And the key question: was it any good? Oh yes!

Now, let's see how Argyle are going to do today...

Postscript: Let's not see how Argyle did today.


Nick Gibbins said...

Two posts in three days? You're spoiling us, Dr McR-S...

Very impressed with your success at making clotted cream - it's one of those things that I knew that I should theoretically be able to do for myself, but it's always seemed like too much effort.

Doug Booth said...

does Indiana need more fatty treats? on the other hand, it's so crazy it just might catch on.

Blair would have appointed you the tzar of fatty treats, the EU would give you protected status, in fact, call the EU we have an imposter making clotted cream in Indiana!!

ok so not an imposter?

There wouldn't be a Labour party in the US I think, all a bit socialist no?

Recently, since Labour turned Conservative and the "actual" Conservatives became well.... (the same thing but we are still ticked off at them) and the Lib Dems are still far to realistic to get elected its all turned a bit mad.

I've confused myself and since Lord Such died there's nobody worth voting in.

Lord Such for us, Jerry Springer for America - or Montel, Steve Wilkos!!

Doug Booth said...

that isn't my website by the way but the sentiments are quite good.

DuncMcRae said...

McDougal: 'your' website is clearly fantastic. The best bit is the page titled "things that interest me", which is completely blank. But the guy clearly went to the effort of actually making the blank page, putting it on the site and linking to it, thereby both implying and proving that he has no interest in anything.

Now, all I need is Spaceman to leave a comment here and I'll have 3 PhDs commenting on one blog entry. Chris, what's going on in the Netherlands?

Becky said...

How I lower the tone with my PGDip or, as I prefer to think of it, my MA that I haven't quiiiiiite got round to finishing yet ;-P

Me again said...

There should, of course, be an 'about" between the 'How' and the 'I'. You'd think I'd know better ...