[Sca-cooks] cow butter?

lilinah at earthlink.net lilinah at earthlink.net
Thu Jun 3 12:36:54 PDT 2010

Aelianora wrote:
>In real life, I own a small, private, goat dairy. I make cheese,
>butter, yogurt and more from the milk.
>Goat milk does separate, it just takes longer. I let it sit on the
>counter, at room temp (in western WA state, so we are talking anywhere
>from 60-70 F), for a day or two and skim off the risen cream. There is
>still plenty of cream left in the milk to make a semi-skim cheese.
>Some people let the milk sit in their refrigerator, which is safer in
>warm climates. I don't bother, because I use raw milk and while it's
>sitting on the countertop it's culturing for both the butter and the
>Goat milk also separates easily with a standard cream separator. I
>just haven't bought one yet.

SCA-period Ottoman recipes frequently call for butter in both savory 
and sweet recipes.

Ewes supplied most milk, and sheep in general provided most meat (the 
price of sheep meat was maintained at a low price by Ottoman market 
regulations) and the most common cooking fat, sheep tail fat in the 
Ottoman world

The palace bought beef only once per year, using it only to make 
bastirma, forerunner of pastrami... and personally i prefer Armenian 
and Turkish bastirma. In SCA period, and into the 17th c., the cattle 
generally came from the Balkans, a long and arduous cattle drive, as 
some literature points out. Cow dairies were not common near 
Kostantiniyye (Constantinople, now Istanbul) until some ways into the 
17th c. And i haven't read anything to suggest that the Palace kept 
its own cow herds, although perhaps they had a some animals.

Of course, since they are from the Palace, the sultan's cooks would 
have access to difficult to get ingredients, brought in from great 
distances, perhaps including cow's milk butter. But this makes me 
wonder if perhaps some of the butter came from ewe's milk, as did 
most of the yogurt and cheeses.

When i cook for large numbers of people i use more reasonable priced 
cow's milk yogurt and butter (gotta keep on budget). For cooking 
classes, however, i often bring a small container (since all i can 
find are small containers) of ewe's milk yogurt and pass it around so 
people can taste the difference between it and cow's milk yogurt. It 
behaves differently in cooking, too, as at least one recipe points 
out, recommending the addition of a little wheat starch to cow's milk 
yogurt so it won't curdle/separate when subjected to high heat, but 
no need to add starch if using ewe's milk.

Now i wonder if i could make butter from ewe's milk. What is 
available in shops is pasteurized... can one still let it separate or 
does the high heat make that impossible? I know i couldn't separate 
it if it were homogenized, but i suspect it isn't homogenized... i'll 
have to check next time i'm in the market.
Urtatim [that's err-tah-TEEM]
the persona formerly known as Anahita

More information about the Sca-cooks mailing list