Category: Daring Dairy

Retiree Revery

It’s official! As of this day, I am on casual part-time status. That means I only have to work a minimum of 20 hours per year – that means I am virtually retired – that means Blondie is now my full-time boss. As I ponder the merits and advantages of my new status, let me review other recent happenings here at Serendipity Farmhouse. – – Oh, by the way, the picture of those beautiful orchids will be part of a future post and revery.

My Birthday: Recently, I celebrated the anniversary of my birth. In honor of the occasion, wonderful and creative Daughter #2 once again outdid herself and prepared a surprise meal for me. Departing from her display of expertise in French cuisine (see French Cuisine & GRITS), this time she went around the globe to Korea. She knew I had spent some time there and guessed quite correctly that I would find the experience enjoyable. – She was spot on!

The meal consisted of Korean-style miso soup, bulgogi, cucumber kimchee, sticky rice. One crowning achievement was steamed Korean-style chicken dumplings. Failing to find any authentic dumpling wrappers in local grocery stores, Daughter #2 and Son-in-law #2 did it themselves. Perfect!

As a final caring gesture, Daughter #2 prepared homemade ice cream served with a chocolate brownie made by my most loving Spouse.

– – Typical Korean beers such as OB or Crown weren’t available, so Kirin Ichiban served as a satisfactory substitute.

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El Camino Del Monte: Our faithful Class-C RV, El Camino Del Monte (ECDM), is showing some signs of age. The most noticeable sign was a rapidly deteriorating awning. Replacement awning fabric was ordered, and our local RV service center switched out the old fabric and installed the new awning. The photos below show the old awning (left) and the replacement (right). Unfortunately, the photo doesn’t show just how tattered the old fabric was. Nevertheless, the replacement is done and ECDM looks much the better for it.

Daring Dairy: As you know, we make our own goat milk cheese. (See Goat milk cheese? – Yes, now!) This last week, I tried a simple new recipe. It worked fairly well, but I want to experiment with it some more before I present it to you. In the meantime, consider the possibilities. This new recipe created a light, tasty cheese that makes a perfect topping for Greek Sloppy Joes. Take a look!

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Waking Up: Right before our eyes, the vast SFH estate is waking up. Some years the appearance of the various spring flowers is staggered, but this year almost everything is coming into bloom at the same time. In addition to the sheer beauty emerging around us, we are reminded that we must start now with preparations for planting. This year, I surprised Blondie with a small, portable greenhouse. When there is more time, I’ll provide details on how my clever Wife is using it to start seeds and protect young plants.

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Pray, Prepare, Preserve: When one is retired, one has a bit more time to consider what is important and what is not. The secular news tends to focus on sensational events, most of them disheartening and disquieting. Some truly historic and monumental events are often shunted to the last page of the paper, or never reported at all. – – Yes, there is a war in Europe. However, that war is merely a symptom of a much greater problem. – On March 25th, Pope Francis did something of great merit to solve that problem. If you are interested in what happened, you can start your research at these two links: Pope Francis consecrates Russia and Ukraine to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Daring Dairy – The Next Generation

Mr. Monte here!

What a very pleasant, relaxing, and refreshing week this has been. Instead of having to sit up in that stuffy, dark office with Old Fuzz Face, I have had the great good fortune to have adorable, intelligent, and enchanting Granddaughter #3 here at Serendipity Farmhouse to visit me. Oh, to be sure, she spent some time with Fuzz Face and Blondie because she is a devoted granddaughter, but she really came to see me.

Because she is rather new at writing posts, she kindly asked me to assist her in telling you about how she has become the very first of her generation in this family to study and begin to master the difficult and demanding arts of “Daring Dairy”.  In this case, she wants to tell you how she took the challenge to make authentic homemade butter. (If you care to see what that entails, refer to the post Julia, Butter & Serendipity Farmhouse.)

So, with no further expository prattle, let me relate the story to you as she dictates the highs and lows of her butter making experience to me.

Hi! I’m new at this, but Mr. Monte is helping, so I don’t think much can go wrong. It all started when we were shopping in Wegmans. Granny told Granddad to get some heavy whipping cream. Granny then turned to me and said Granddad is going to show you how to make butter. – – I think I said something like, “That sounds like fun … it would be neat to try.”

By the time we got to Serendipity Farmhouse, we had to make supper and eat. So, it was too late to make butter. We’d have to wait until tomorrow.

The next day, in the early afternoon, Granny and Granddad said that it was time to make butter. Granddad joked with me and made it sound like butter making was really hard and I was going to have to do everything. Then, I found out he wasn’t joking. He gave me all the utensils and showed me how to use them. I guess he was showing me:

Step 1 – Prepare Utensils & Ingredients

Preparing the utensils wasn’t really that hard. Actually, it was rather easy. So, I wondered why was Granddad telling me it was going to be so hard.

Well, all I had to do was to wait and then the hard part came to me. It was:

Step 2 – Churning the Cream

It was then that Granddad said the next thing to do is “churn the cream”. He said it wouldn’t take too long. One time, he had made butter in four minutes. What Granddad didn’t tell me was, one time it took him almost half an hour of churning. So, I began to churn. And I continued to churn. Then, I churned some more. Granddad stood beside me and just smiled.

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Then, still with a smile on his face, Granddad started taking pictures of me churning and churning and churning. My wrist began to hurt. My fingers became a little numb. And my legs began to ache from standing in one position for so long. – – Granddad took some more pictures.

It seemed like 40 minutes of churning, and churning, and churning. But, Granddad pointed to the clock on the stove and said, “No, no it hasn’t been 40 minutes.” Then I looked at the clock and saw it was only about eight minutes. – – Granddad just smiled. Granny was nearby and she just smiled. Mr. Monte had been watching and he was rolling on the floor. – – I think he was laughing.

Step 3: – Rinsing the butter

The rest was easy. Granddad helped me scoop the butter out of the churn and then we put it into the butter dish. – – I had made butter! – – As Granddad would say, “The pictures show that this story is all true!”

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Now, when you use 10 ounces of heavy whipping cream to make butter, you get 4 ounces of butter and 6 ounces of something very special – – fresh, sweet, tasty butter milk. As our reward for the hard work making the butter, Granny divided the butter milk in two cups and Granddad and I drank it all down. – – If you every have the chance to drink fresh butter milk, do it. You won’t be disappointed.

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Hi, again! Mr. Monte here. Tomorrow, Granddaughter #3 has to go back home. I guess there won’t be much to do around here when she goes. It’s going to be a little lonely. I think I”m going to miss her. After all, Maine Coon cats have big feelings.




Blondie’s Biscuits – Yes!

All is well with the world! My beautiful and highly skilled spouse has made all things right – she made biscuits for breakfast. No, they still weren’t quite up to par with her Mom’s, but she’s getting closer. She has sworn to keep that goal in sight. There is no doubt that breakfasts at Serendipity Farmhouse will become even more enjoyable as time goes by. Continue reading “Blondie’s Biscuits – Yes!”

Goat milk cheese? – Yes, now!

You say you like cheese? Go to the store to buy cheese and you get what you get. What you get might be surprisingly delightful or it might not suit your palate at all. For example, buy chèvre (perhaps the least complex type of goat milk cheese), and you might react in the same way my beautiful wife did when I bought some for her- it’s too sour or it’s too bitter.

Taste is a puzzling and unusual sense. You can be sure there is more disagreement about flavor than the visual beauty of a sunset. We can usually agree about what we see and what we feel, but flavor and aroma are perceived more personally. So, even though my true love and I could drink goat milk together we were divided by store-bought chèvre.

Indeed, I have a loving wife, and she would never let anything divide us, not even a type of cheese. So, I received a present some two years ago – a chèvre cheese-making kit. It was a chance she had to take – perhaps homemade goat milk cheese might be better than store-bought.

Dairy_dare-01Dear readers, the rest is history. My wife’s intuition was sound and now homemade chèvre is a regular and lasting part of Serendipity’s Daring Dairy repertoire. We hope you will come to enjoy making your own chèvre as much as we do.

So, now it’s finally time to dare to make chèvre in the soon to be famous SFH test kitchen.

Preparing to Make Goat Milk Cheese

Knowing nothing about the process herself, my enterprising spouse did some quick  research and determined the market was filled with simple, inexpensive cheese making kits. She selected the Chèvre Cheesemaking Kit by Roaring Brook Dairy. It worked just fine. Since then, however, we have become more confident in our own abilities and we purchase our own supplies and continue to experiment with the process.

If you are using a kit, the cheesecloth and cheese mold will be provided. If not, you may need to make a trip to the store or look online to get those items. Everything else you need should already be in your kitchen. Following is a list of the items we use:

Required Utensils & Equipment


Comments / Notes

1x – Medium stainless steel or  non-aluminum pot  We use stainless steel
2x – 1-cup measuring cups
1x – Set of measuring spoons
1x – Spatula or slotted spoon  For stirring
1x – Thermometer
1x – Colander or sieve
1x – Glass or plastic bowl  Larger than colander or sieve
1x – Cheesecloth  Available in kits or sold separately
1x – Cheese mold  Available in kits or sold separately
1x – Butter knife


As you may recall, when it comes to dairy, there is almost always a kitchen controversy. In the case of Julia, Butter & Serendipity Farmhouse, the cause of concern was ultra-pasteurization. Although it seemed to make no difference in making butter, the use of ultra-pasteurized goat milk can adversely affect development of curds for chèvre.

Although we here at SFH have direct access to raw goat milk at Reality Farm, you may have to do some online research to find raw goat milk or simple pasteurized goat milk. (Here again my beautiful wife distinguished herself by doing a great job of research – she not only found the goat milk, she also found a place where I can visit the goats. She brings joy to my life.)

Listed below are the ingredients we use.



Comments / Notes

½ Gallon goat milk Avoid ultra-pasteurized
1   Level tsp. citric acid  Available in kits or sold separately
¼  Tablet rennet Available in kits or sold separately
 1 Tsp. cheese salt  We recommend only 1/2 Tsp.
 2 Tbsp. herbs de Provence  Or season to taste

Making Goat Milk Cheese

We said earlier that chèvre is perhaps the least complex type of goat milk cheese. It takes us roughly 45 minutes at the front end making the cheese. Then, after the cheese drains and sets in the refrigerator, it will take another 10 to 15 minutes for seasoning. Of course all the kitchen rules apply – clean hands, clean utensils, and have all ingredients and utensils ready to go.

Step 1 – Ingredient Preparation: Dissolve the citric acid into a cup of cold water. Dissolve the rennet int 1/4 cup of cold water.

Step 2 – Heating the Milk: Heat the goat milk slowly to 185º. Add citric acid and stir 30 seconds. Add rennet and stir 30 seconds.

Step 3 – Developing the Curds: Remove from heat and let stand 10 minutes. Press the curds with the back of a spoon. If a dent is left, the curds are ready. If not, allow to stand for 2 more minutes.

Step 4: – Draining the Curds: Drain the curds into the cheese cloth and colander. Let the curds drain for 10 minutes, then gently mix in salt.

Step 5: – Forming the Cheese: Using a spoon, gently pack curds into the cheese mold. Cover the mold, place it on a small plate or in a small bowl. Allow the cheese to drain and set in the refrigerator for 2 hours.

Step 6: – Seasoning to Taste: After 2 hours, remove the cheese from the refrigerator and slide the butter knife around the edge of the cheese until it is separated from the mold. Extract the cheese. Place seasonings on a plate and roll the cheese, covering the exterior.


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There it is! Goat milk cheese, ready to eat!


You can store it for up to seven days, but it is usually consumed within a day or two. By the way, grandchildren will ask for seconds and thirds. Make sure you make a lot.

If you’d like to see a more detailed demonstration watch this video.

Goat milk cheese? – No, not just yet.

My wonderful and caring spouse has urged me, counseled, and outright ordered me to write a post for you about how to make goat milk cheese (chèvre). Rest assured, I will do so in very short order, but I have decided to disregard my beautiful wife’s good counsel for the time being in order to write a slightly different post.

Why do I dare to run the risk of causing distress for my wife or, more likely, for me? I dare because, when we here at Serendipity Farmhouse delve into the mysteries of butter, cheese, kefir, and other dairy products, we do it with gusto and with daring. Dairy is an exquisite challenge that should not and can not be taken lightly.

So, rather than put the cart before the horse, or more rightly the cheese before the goat, we want you to know the source of the primary ingredient in the soon to be world renowned SFH Chèvre. The only way we can take you to the source of our goat milk is by introducing you to a beautiful “reality” – and that reality is Reality Farm in Washington, Virginia. For now, we will just use a few pictures to introduce you to Reality. When the time is right, we will give you a full tour.

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If you would like to learn a little more about reality farm, check out Reality Farm.

Julia, Butter & Serendipity Farmhouse

Whether you are starting your day with toast and coffee or attempting to master a challenging recipe by Julia Child, a necessary ingredient will surely be butter. My beautiful spouse and I take that to be a fundamental law of cooking. But, we have wondered, if you can buy butter and use butter, is it possible to go one step further and learn the hidden secret and make this mysterious dairy product yourself?

We here at Serendipity Farmhouse (SFH) have found that the processing and preparation of dairy products is an adventurous mixture of mystery and chemistry. That is why we have a page entirely devoted to Daring Dairy.

Join us now as we dare to make butter in the soon to be famous SFH test kitchen.

Butter Making Preparation

Butter scooped from churner

A few weeks ago, my loving and caring spouse surprised me with two unusual birthday gifts. The first was a Kilner Butter Churner. She is convinced that if she puts the right tool or utensil in my hand that I will do something with it – for her. Obviously, she was giving me not just a present but also a strong signal that it’s time to learn how to make butter. Out of love, obedience, curiosity, and an almost inordinate love of butter I accepted the gift and the challenge.

With the exception of a butter churner, every kitchen has the utensils required to make butter. With a little ingenuity, you could probably improvise a way to churn the cream with common kitchen utensils. Following is a list of the items we used:

Required Utensils



 1x – Butter churner  We used our Kilner Butter Churner
 1x – 2-cup measuring cup
 2x – Spatulas (rubber or silicone)  In lieu of butter paddles
 1x – Glass bowl
 1x – 8 oz. drinking glass  For the residual butter milk

Nothing that occurs in a kitchen is without controversy. Almost always, the debate is centered on choice of ingredients. Butter has only one ingredient – cream. Why would there need to be any argument? Well, in the 1860’s when Louis Pasteur introduced his process for killing microbes, the preparation of milk, cream, and other dairy products was influenced by the new process. The advent of ultra-pasteurization further complicated the issue. Thus, when you ask a simple question about making butter you get convoluted, ambiguous answers.

We here at SFH only drink raw cow and goat milk. However, we didn’t have enough raw cream for our first butter making attempt. We chose the simple solution, we used ultra-pasteurized heavy whipping cream from the local grocery store. It worked just fine – end of debate.




 10 oz. heavy cream  Ultra-pasteurized worked for us
 2 to 3 cups cold water
 ice cubes  Optional

Making Butter

Step 1 – Prepare Utensils & Ingredients: Now fully armed with utensils, ingredients, and official Kilner instructions I was ready to make butter – right? No, wrong! I was ready to make my first mistake.

Lesson Learned – Let cream stand at room temperature

The directions clearly state: “Remove cream from refrigerator and let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours.” Oops! Missed that! So, I had to improvise with a bowl of slightly warm water.

Lesson Learned: Read the butter churning directions well in advance of the project. Otherwise, you will get nasty stares from your 18 lb. Maine Coon cat, who has been waiting all day for a lick of fresh butter.

Step 2 – Churning the Cream: Lovely spouse and I took turns churning. Kilner estimates 10 – 12 minutes should do it. We had a quarter pound of butter in less than 8 minutes!

Step 3: – Rinsing the butter: This is where the cold water, optional ice cubes, and spatulas come into play. First you pour off the residual butter milk. You can drink it right away or save it for making scones or something else. Scoop the butter out from the churn, rinse it in the cold water, and shape it as desired.

Voila! You have butter – mission accomplished





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If you would like to watch the butter making process in action, check out the Kilner butter churner video.

Keeping Butter

The second gift my wonderful wife gave me for my birthday was a Norpro Glazed Stoneware Butter Keeper. This handy-dandy little device will keep butter fresh at room temperature for up to three weeks. All that is needed is a quarter pound of butter and bit of water to seal out air from the butter while in the keeper. It’s simple, it’s easy to use, and most importantly, it works.

My beautiful wife thinks of everything!





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Now, for those of you who love butter and appreciate the joy brought into kitchens and dining rooms by Julia Child, here is a video worth watching.


  • SFH Food 2018-04: Julia, Butter & Serendipity Farmhouse
  • Daring Dairy 2018-01: Julia, Butter & Serendipity Farmhouse