When you get raw or non-homogenized whole milk from a grass-fed pastured dairy farm, the cream line is absolutely ridiculous.
A good ridiculous. 😉
We’re talking like a quart or more of each gallon is amazing, sweet, smooth cream!
It rises to the top naturally… as long as the milk is non-homogenized.
Just sitting right there to be collected. If you skim some of it off, you can use it in your coffee, or to make butter or sour cream. Yummy stuff.
Yet, what’s the best way to skim the cream off your whole milk?
Oh, and it’s got to be simple, mess-free, and can’t require any special tools…
I’ve got the answer for you… watch, listen or read below because on today’s #AskWardee, I’m sharing *the best way* to skim cream off your whole milk.
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The Question: What’s The Best Way To Skim Cream Off Whole Milk?
Marge L. asked in our private, members Facebook group (included with your premium membership):
I am so excited to have finally found a small dairy where I can get raw milk. However I can only get whole milk. The farmer suggested getting a glass jar with spigot at bottom and then could drain the bottom “skim” milk leaving cream behind. That sounded good to me. When I started looking there are a lot of complaints of spigots clogging or leaking. Anyone have a trusted source for something like this? Or a different idea on separating the cream?
I and the other members chimed in with answers.
Mine involves a turkey baster… yes, that’s correct. I’ll show you how below.
In the end, I’m pretty sure Marge went with what I suggested… because it really is the easiest and best. She said, “I think I was over thinking this. I did the turkey baster this morning and it worked perfectly.”
My Answer: Use A Turkey Baster!
The best way to skim cream is to use a turkey baster! This is the one I have (it’s stainless steel).
You don’t just suck up the cream willy-nilly, though — there’s a right and wrong way to do it.
Here’s the right way:
- Let the cream rise to the top of the jug or jar. If it’s just been transported, this means about 24 hours in the refrigerator to ensure a good, clean separation (see picture).
- Prepare a clean jar to store your cream and set it right next to the jug of milk.
- Holding the turkey baster absolutely vertical (perpendicular to the ground) and having squeezed down the bulb, insert the baster into the top of the layer of cream (not too deep, just enough to submerge).
- While releasing your squeeze on the baster bulb, rotate the baster around the cream, without moving it up or down in the cream (in other words, keep at the same level). It will fill up with cream.
- Make the baster vertical again and carefully move it from out of the jug and over the cream jar, keeping it vertical the whole time. Squeeze the bulb to release the cream.
- Repeat until you have removed your desired amount of cream. (I leave about 1″ so we still have creamy milk.)
- All done!
Why Rotate The Baster While Filling It?
If you didn’t rotate, the baster would suck milk right below where it’s inserted, like a ribbon. Rotating it ensures you’re getting mostly cream. It’s like you’re sucking up the cream layer by layer, making circles to pull it up into the baster.
Why Skim The Milk?
Pastured, non-homogenized milk from heritage cows like Jerseys is oh-so-creamy! See that cream line???? It’s ridiculous, like I said. In a good way. 🙂
And while we don’t have anything against it (you don’t have to skim it!!!!), we do skim it so we have cream for hot beverages, or to make sour cream and butter.
What Else Can I Use Instead Of A Baster?
If your milk comes in gallon or half gallon jars, you can use a ladle or a small 1/4 cup measurer to dip into the cream and transfer scoop-by-scoop to a jar. The baster is much faster, though, so that’s what I recommend.
By The Way…
If you’re interested in learning how to make thick yogurt while preserving the benefits of raw milk —instead of pasteurizing it like many yogurt recipes do — check out my FREE thick raw milk yogurt recipe. You can make it in your Instant Pot, dehydrator, or a cooler… Enjoy!
- FREE Thick Raw Milk Yogurt Recipe
- Where To Buy Raw Milk
- Stainless Steel Turkey Baster (the one I have)
- How To Make Easy Sour Cream (free video!)
- How To Make Cultured Butter
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How do you skim cream off your whole, non-homogenized milk?
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But how do you get that baster CLEAN after you use it? That has always been my chief reason for not wanting to use a baster when cooking.
Wardee Harmon says
Maggie – Oh, yes, I meant to address that! Pull the rubber top off immediately and clean with hot soapy water. If you do it immediately, it comes clean easily. There are also thin brushes that will fit inside the metal part if you feel you need that. https://amzn.to/2HbUZ2M
I do not do well with the baster method because any slight twiddle up or down will begin to mix the cream with the milk below. I have found better results with this method: I wash off the bottom of my gallon container and holding my gallon container over my milk pitcher I take a sharp knife and make a cut in the bottom and rotate the knife as much as possible, remove the knife and let the milk below the cream drain off into the milk pitcher. When it gets drained and the cream is left in the jug, I recap the jug, and rotate it to a horizontal position, so it doesn’t drain out the bottom then move the jug over to invert and release the cream into a quart size mason jar.
Also, I make my butter in a blender. It works great!
How long can you keep the cream? Lie, if you don’t have enough from one jug of milk, do you freeze it?
The cream will get more sour in the fridge (over the course of a week or so) and then it makes wonderful cultured butter.
Although people say it can be done, I haven’t make butter from frozen cream. If you do freeze it, it won’t get sour.
~Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team
Don’t know where to buy raw milk? Can I use goats milk?
Goat milk is naturally homogenized so the cream does not separate to the top like cow milk.
These websites are a great place to start for sourcing raw milk in your state: http://www.eatwild.com/ and http://realmilk.com/
~Danielle TCS Customer Success Team
My goat’s milk does separate but it takes longer than cow milk and probably does not separate as much as the same quantity of cow milk would so butter CAN be made from goat milk but it’s not quite as easy as cow milk. The breed of goat will make a difference also as to how much cream there will be. Mine are LaMancha, just fyi.
Linda Woods says
I guess you are not concerned that the yogurt maker you suggest has a plastic interior?
Danielle Tate says
I dont think we recommended a yogurt maker?
~ Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team
Thank you! I been trying to find a good way!
Does skimming some of the cream off the top make the milk low-fat?
Skimming milk will make it lower in fat.
~Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team
Hello! Loving your content. Can you elaborate on how long we can store the cream we have separated out? Also, if we are not big milk drinkers, but love cream/butter can you suggest recipes for using up large amounts of the “skimmed milk”?
The cream will keep a few weeks in the refrigerator.
You can use the skimmed milk in baked goods, oatmeal, or even in smoothies. I like to add it to smoothies when I have another fat source included such as coconut oil, yogurt, etc.
~Danielle, TCS Customer Success Team
Hi Danielle! When you leave an inch of cream on the top, are you referring to a gallon jar, or a quart jar? Thanks 🙂
Wardee is skimming off of a gallon of milk. You can skim off a quart size as well. Depending on how much cream you need will determine how much milk to buy.
~Peggy, TCS Customer Success Team
Would the milk still be considered whole milk (3.25% fat) after the cream has been skimmed off and leaving 1” of cream?
Hi, Taylor: After skimming the cream off — but leaving an inch at the top — the milk is closer to 2 percent. —Sonya, TCS Customer Success Team