Traditional cream cheese dip

… and a little background on milk.

The traditional/real food community has a few food items I think are keys to summing up the movement. One of those items is raw milk. It’s been in the news again recently, from people claiming it has made them sick to people claiming it has cured their chronic illnesses. (Listen to a recent segment on the subject from Living on Earth.) It’s a huge subject and I admit I still do not know enough about it to go into details here. You might want to look at the real milk campaign web site to get some ideas and also hunt around various real food blogs (some linked at the right) for more milk information. You can also check out Cheeseslave and Kitchen Kop for more material, and this week Kitchen Stewardship is talking all about milk options.

I started drinking raw milk about a year ago. It took some effort to find, although my state does permit retail sales, but I definitely think it’s worthwhile. For one, I drink a lot more milk now. Raw milk does sour faster than pasteurized and homogenized milk, and I don’t want to spend all that money and not be able to drink it. But an interesting fact about raw milk: you can still use it when it’s gone sour. It works for cooking and yogurt making for one. Apparently one of my relatives in Sweden once upon a time used to do just that, take the sour milk and make yogurt.

Sour milk also provides you with leftovers, unlike pasteurized. Let it sit for a few days after it sours, perhaps outside the fridge. (I promise you won’t get sick if you do this! If I have been doing what I am about to tell you for the past year with no illness, you’ll be fine.) Eventually the fatty portion of the milk will separate from the liquid and you will have two items you can use in the kitchen: whey and traditional cream cheese. It’s very simple to get both. Let the milk completely separate. Take a fine mesh strainer, line with a white dish towel, set on a bowl, and pour the liquid through. Once the majority of the whey has filtered through the towel, hang up the towel to let the rest of the liquid drip out. Store both items (separately) in the fridge. The cheese will last about one month and the whey, six.

I’ve been using the whey to soak oaks and beans, because it helps to break down a substance in plant matter called phytic acid. It’s a substance which prevents the body from absorbing minerals, and by removing it, you get more nutrients out of your food.

For the last year though, I’ve not really done anything with the cream cheese that separated. This is not the stuff you’re used to from the supermarket, believe me. I’ve put it in some other dishes, like a pesto spread and quiche, but the cream cheese retains enough of a sour scent that I haven’t had much luck eating it alone. Thankfully Nourishing Traditions came to the rescue because I finally got the idea to look in the recipe index for ideas, which is where I came upon the cream cheese dip. It uses the cheese, along with flax seed oil (a great source of omega 3 fats which you want in your diet) to make the base. I added the last of the garlic scapes I had in the house, and the dip was a hit! Nourishing Traditions does list several variations you can make with the dip, and what I am sharing here is the base given with the book along with my additions. I think next time I’d actually want to use a little sea salt.

Cream Cheese Dip with Garlic Scapes
1 cup traditional cream cheese
2 T. flax seed oil
6 garlic scapes

*Mix cream cheese and flax seed oil in a blender. Or, if you do not feel like pulling it out, I mixed mine in the serving bowl I planned to use with a rubber spatula. Came together just fine.
*Chop up garlic scapes.
*Mix scapes thoroughly into cream cheese mixture.
*Keep chilled until serving time.

serves approx. 4 people

This post is a part of Real Food Wednesday and Pennywise Platter. Check out the carnivals to see what people are eating this week!

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11 responses to “Traditional cream cheese dip

  1. Wow- I was just wondering what to do with cup of cream cheese I got off my whey and the garlic scapes that need to be picked off now in my garden! One silly question, what do you dip into this? It has been so long since I used dip for anything, I can’t think of anything except veggies maybe.
    Thanks!

    • syncreticmystic

      I spread it on pumpernickel which worked out pretty well. There’s also crackers: Late July brand doesn’t really have any ingredients which would make a real foodie cringe. (unless you’re not doing carbs.) Hopefully someone else will weigh in!

  2. Raw milk doesn’t necessarily last less than pasteurized milk. For both, a lot depends on the conditions in which you store the milk. Put your raw milk immediately in the cold fridge, all the way in the back and only get it out for pouring (put it back in the fridge immediately) and depending on how cold it was kept before it got to you, it can last 2 weeks or more without souring.

    • syncreticmystic

      Really? I’ll dig through my fridge and clear out a space at the back then and will have to give this a try.

  3. Here I have been pitching the milk when it went sour – shame on me i know! I never knew you could leave milk out like that. Crazy!!
    I think I will buy a little extra just to try this. (I get it in quarts)

  4. Stacey is right. Raw milk doesn’t sour quicker than pasteurized. More than anything else it depends on how quickly the milk was cooled to 40° after the initial milking. If traw milk is brought to 40° within 30-45 minutes and from that point on is kept under proper refrigeration, it will last for 2 weeks easily. Often the summer months see even pasturized store milk souring quickly because of issues with keeping it cool while unloading trucks and stocking. We did a test here with our raw milk. Pasteurized a quart and kept it side by side in the fridge with a quart of raw. Guess which went sour first? The one without the natural enzymes and bacteria that fight spoilage — pasteurized. And we went ahead to let the raw milk sour too. Four days later it started to sour but it smelled “nice” unlike the pasteurized which smelled like puke.

  5. Considering how lactose intolerant I’ve become, I’m terrified of trying raw milk. The guy hawking raw milk at the farmers market (a vendor I’m somewhat leery of, especially since all of his stuff comes in plastic jugs) tells me that raw milk won’t bother me at all, will be better for my immune system than any antibiotic, and will raise the dead.

    Still, I hate buying Lactaid if I want to drink milk, or buying Kraft cheese so I don’t end up with painful, cramping intestinal explosions. It feels so… backwards when I’m eating local produce, raw sauerkraut, and cultured sourdough bread with a slice of Kraft cheese.

    • syncreticmystic

      Hi Kelli!

      I’ve been drinking raw milk for a little over a year now. Both local vendors I purchase it from bottle in plastic. I’ve never had any issue with the milk in any form. When the milk is raw it also includes lactase, which is needed to fully digest the lactose also present. Interestingly, raw milk is not only high in vitamin D but also vitamin C (which is heat-sensitive and gets killed off in pasteurization). I’ve read several stories of lactose-intolerant people who drink raw milk and have zero trouble with digesting and actually heal digestive issues. I don’t know about raising the dead, but even Hippocrates praised raw milk.

  6. Kelli, you might give it a try. I have a 16 year old daughter that has never tolerated milk. Sometimes Lactase or Lactinex helped, but often it didn’t. Three years ago I bought mini dairy goats and started milking myself. Raw milk from my Nigerian Dwarfs and MiniManchas is high in milkfat, sweet, and my daughter not only tolerates it, but is a milk glutton! She enjoys milk, shakes, & ice-cream now 🙂 She didn’t like raw cows milk as much as the goats milk when we first sampled the two. If I were you I’d find someone who would let you sample it. If you were near SW TN I’d certainly share with you. I wouldn’t say it raises the dead, but for my daughter who got so violently ill with dairy before, she certainly sees it as a miracle.

  7. Pingback: How to get whey | I Believe In Butter

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