I love good problems. And having extra milk on the homestead is definitely a good problem! With some thought and careful management, you can use every last drop and learn ways to use extra milk!
Our Jersey cow Holly recently had a calf and if you follow us on Instagram, you will have seen that it was quite the drama! There was a stalled labor and chains and pulling. A “dumb calf” who wouldn’t drink and a retained placenta. Cracked teats (she must have walked through briars, poor girl!) and night watches. We’ve certainly never dealt with anything like that on our homestead before!
But that’s all behind us now and both mama and baby are doing ok.
It’s been over a week now. The colostrum and transition milk have gone to the calf and there’s plenty of milk left over for her to share with us! I started recording yields on the SmartSteader app and even with the calf being on her 24 hours a day right now, we’re still getting 1 1/2 gallons of milk a day. (That’s 10 gallons of milk a week folks!)
While we love drinking milk, that’s still a whole lot of milk for us to go through in a week so I’ve got to have a way to manage all that extra milk. There are lots of ways for me to use it, but a typical schedule has me making yogurt and mozzarella cheese once a week. And then I’ll mix it up for the rest. Maybe make a hard cheese like cheddar cheese. Or if we have extra egg yolks I’ll make vanilla pudding. Or sometimes we just like to have some cottage cheese or ricotta cheese to snack on.
But I’ve learned that if I don’t have some sort of a schedule, I forget to do anything with it at all.
Managing extra milk has to be something I work into every day or it sits in the fridge for weeks until it becomes pig or chicken feed. Not that that’s terribly bad. I mean, we do need eggs and bacon around here too, but when I manage the milk we can usually all get a share.
Ways to Use Extra Milk on the Homestead
Maintain a Milk Management Schedule
I have found it to be extremely helpful to have an action plan for managing all the milk that comes into our home.
Having a plan means milk jars aren’t filling up the fridge. (Which need to be shuffled around every time you need milk to find the oldest date. Honestly, as easy as a Sharpie marker’ed date is, I do miss my color-coded system sometimes because it sure was easy to see what to grab at a glance.)
A schedule for using extra milk might look something like this:
Sunday: Fresh Drinking
Monday: Save for Tuesday’s Butter
Tuesday: Separate Cream, Make Butter; Culture Buttermilk
Wednesday: Fresh Drinking
Friday: Mozzarella Cheese, Whey Ricotta
Saturday: Hard Cheese (whey goes to the chickens)
Sunday: Fresh Drinking
Monday: Save for Wednesday’s Butter
Tuesday: Save for Wednesday’s Butter
Wednesday: Separate Cream, Make Butter; Culture Buttermilk
Thursday: Parmesan Cheese (with skim milk from the butter-making)
Friday: Mozzarella Cheese (whey goes to the pigs or chickens)
Sunday: Fresh Drinking (½ goes to the pigs & chickens)
Tuesday: Mozzarella Cheese, Whey Ricotta Cheese
Wednesday: Fresh Drinking (½ goes to the pigs & chickens)
Thursday: Milk Kefir, Simple Cheese (Like Ricotta Cheese)
Friday: Separate Cream, Make Sour Cream; Vanilla Pudding with skim milk
Saturday: Hard Cheese (whey goes to the pigs or chickens)
Customize your Schedule
Your schedule will look different depending on lots of factors. How much milk your cow gives, what types of dairy products your family enjoys, or what you have time to make all play in deciding what you want your schedule to look like. Here are over 115 dairy recipes that use milk, many in larger quantities. You’re sure to find lots of ideas on how to use your milk there!
In our large family of 10 people, saving enough milk for fresh drinking and in baking recipes twice a week is barely enough to get by. For others, it’s still way too much milk to drink in a few days.
[amazon fields=” B07B2W7K8F” value=”thumb” image_size=”large” image_align=”center”]
[amazon fields=” B07B2W7K8F” value=”button”]
The schedule may also vary depending on the season or your menu plan. If I plan to make a Chocolate-Vanilla Swirl Cheesecake later in the week, I might forego hard cheese-making on Saturday and make homemade cream cheese with it instead. Or maybe we’re hankering for some homemade ice cream… I might use the cream for that instead of butter one week.
Ideas for Using Even More Extra Milk
Still not using all your milk? Here are some more ideas for you to try!
- Pancakes (You can use milk or buttermilk)
- Bake a Cake
- Garden Amendment (Great for powdery mildew!)
- Freeze it for baking
- Pet food
- Make Milk Soap (Or Goat’s Milk Shampoo Bars)
- Frittatas or Quiche Lorraine
- Homemade Cream of ____ Soup
- Milk Lotion
- Real Hot Chocolate
- Fresh Corn Chowder
- Mesophilic Culture for cheesemaking
- Lattes (Try our Pumpkin Spice Latte)
- Buttermilk Biscuits
- Dough Conditioner in Yeast Breads (Substitute some milk for water)
- Dipping Cookies (Is there another way to eat Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies?)
- Sausage Gravy or Tomato Gravy
- Mashed Potatoes (Also Au Gratin or Scalloped Potatoes)
- Breading Onion Rings
- Make a Pie (Such as Buttermilk Pie or Cream Pie)
- Milk Braised Pork Loin
- Macaroni & Cheese
If you need even more ideas for what to do with all your extra milk, be sure to check out our Essential Guide to Raw Milk! With over 115 recipes, you’re sure to find something to do with it.
You don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the blessing of having so much milk in the fridge! There are many ways to use extra milk. And with an action plan, you take small steps each day to manage extra milk!
How do you like to use extra milk?
Based on the schedule above, does this mean you milk 3 times a day? How deep into the lactation do you keep that up (and at what point does the calf take enough milk to lessen the surplus?)?
No, we’re only milking once a day with calf sharing right now. I was just presenting 3 different options so you could see some of the ways you set up your own schedule and get some ideas. I was thinking if I just posted mine (which is the first one) you wouldn’t get a full picture of the variety and flexibility possible.
So right now we’re calf sharing full time meaning we aren’t penning him away from mama for 12 hours a day like normal. Holly has 3 quarters producing and he hasn’t found the back teat yet it seems. The front 2 are getting us about a quart of milk and the back one more like 1 gallon. He’s about 3 weeks old and I expect him to figure it out any day now and we go out to find that back one just as empty and we’ll have to start separating them.
(And for anyone else that happens to read this- we won’t be ” stealing” his milk when that happens. He’s already nibbling on hay and drinking water on his own, but the calves will literally drink so much that it makes them sick and get scours. As a production Jersey cow, Holly definitely makes enough milk for us to share with him.)
Thank you so much! That’s super helpful!
We have dairy goats and my kids are getting older and not drinking as much so we had this problem a lot this year. I made a LOT of soap. We are also adding a jersey cow this year or next for cream products so it’ll be even more so! Hubby and the family will be extra happy with this menu. 10 years into homesteading, but the constant change still throws me sometimes. We are building a cheese-friendly kitchen so I can finally ramp up my cheese production. Any tips on storing/aging cheese in a small space?
I hear you about the constant change! I know I definitely long to settle into a routine pattern of normal sometimes! But it sure does keep life interesting. Now, I actually haven’t had any experience with storing cheese yet. I’m hoping my cheese production ramps up this year too and ironically we’re living in a much smaller space than we ever have before. I have a mini-fridge using a Johnsons controller to regulate the temperature that I’ll be using, but that will only get me so far. So I’ll be sure to keep you posted if I come up with anything!
Liz (Eight Acres) says
Great list! It can be overwhelming at first when you have so much milk to use up!
Thank you Liz! It sure can be… even when you’re just getting back into the swing of things after the dried up period. And this year our fridge is super small so I’ve got no room for extra milk so I’ve got to be on top of it this time!