Devonshire Cream in a Crockpot

Devonshire Cream – in a Crockpot

First a warning: this recipe does not meet food safety standards anywhere. This recipe is provided for entertainment purposes only.*
This version is based loosely on Episode 9 of BBC’s Edwardian Farm in a segment called “Devon County Dairy Board School.” Cooking the cream over milk instead of separating makes this Farmhouse style Devonshire Cream.
Traditionally Devonshire cream is cooked “on the back of the stove” meaning long time and low temperature. An old caution is “if it boils, it spoils.”
Place raw milk, still warm from the cow in a Crockpot with a ceramic liner.
Adding culture is optional. Gently mix in one ounce of Flor Danica prepared culture or 1/8th teaspoon of Flor Danica DVI culture powder per gallon of milk. Do not over-stir.

Devonshire cream on skimmer.
After hours of cooking cream is thick and dark – and buttery-creamy delicious.

Allow milk to sit undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours at room temperature. This allows the cream to rise and the bacteria to grow. Wait until your cream layer appears thick.
Turn the Crockpot to the setting required to maintain a temperature between 175o and 195o F. Cook uncovered. Do NOT stir. Do NOT allow to boil. After many hours, 8 in my attempt, the cream’s surface will have a wavy texture, and a buttery color, the edges will have a light brown tinge.
Turn off heat. Allow cream and milk to cool thoroughly – several hours or overnight. Do NOT cover.
Using a skimmer, gently lift sections of the cream layer off the surface of the milk. Allow any excess milk to drip off before gently sliding the rounds of cream into a stack in a small glass dish.
Chill thoroughly (several hours or overnight). Serve traditionally at your next “Cream Tea” over sliced strawberries (or jam) and plain biscuits (rounds or scones).
*DISCLAIMER: The State of Virginia’s Health Department believes if you eat this you are going to die. I didn’t even ask. So, if you do, it’s not my fault.

How Much Milk Does a Milking Devon Milk if a Milking Devon Milks once a day.

Lately, I’ve been milking once a week more often than once a day because I’ve been traveling so much. this is mostly a recycled post from a few years ago. I’ve changed some practices and beliefs based on conversations with other dairy-people.


I make decisions based on keeping the Devons happy and healthy for productive lives of 16 to 20 years, and also to keep my schedule as flexible as possible.

 

The bull is generally in the field with the cows and calves. The temperament of the Milking Devon bulls raised in a herd isn’t aggressive. At HineSite Farm calves will be born spread from spring to fall. The staggered birthdays make it harder to pair up same-sex teams to grow into oxen, but it’s easier to find time to work with calves and first fresheners (first-time moms) – and to deal with all the milk.


So, how much milk does a Milking Devon milk if a Milking Devon gets milked once a day?

It depends on several factors.


Stage of lactation (how many weeks or months the cow has been giving milk) is a big deal, cows’ milk production peaks about 8 weeks “fresh” meaning after calving. Very young calves don’t drink as much or as fast as older calves, but they do best when they get milk more often. Right after giving birth the momma-cow makes a special milk called colostrum that gives passive antibodies to the calf. When the regular milk starts and the colostrum is all consumed, I often get close to 2 gallons per milking.


Later in lactation, the babies are separated from the moms for half a day. “Half a day” can be anywhere from 6 to 14 hours. I am so glad Devons have not heard that milking must be at rigid times and equal intervals, that just couldn’t happen here.

The yield varies with the number of hours of separation – and whether the baby just had a big meal before I separated. Somedays barely 1/2 gallon per cow – other days over a gallon from the same cow.

 

Another factor in milk production is diet. Forage – grass and hay and occasional vegetables make up the cows’ diet. I sometimes add alfalfa in the form of pellets, hay or silage. (I do use a dairy pellet if I am feeding young calves that don’t have fully developed rumens. Milk production in most cows is limited by their diet. Some cows are unable to slow their production to protect themselves from loss of body condition through milk production. Cows like that have to be fed concentrated feeds to remain healthy. Fortunately, the Milking Devon still has the ability to match her production to her diet.

 

HineSite – I should have done this years ago.

Milking Devon cow Lark and Kendy Sawyer in stall at Western NC Agricultural Center. Mother Earth News Fair 2015

The farm is called HineSite partly as a wordplay on husband Bob’s last name and as an acknowledgment that I learn primarily from making mistakes. I have learned a lot in the last few years, fortunately not all through personal experience.