Perfect milk

Since August, each week I have bought 1.5 gallons of perfect, clean, fresh milk from the incomparable Linda Stone, Scott County dairywoman. Of course this milk is "not for human consumption." And it makes the most exquisite dairy products, also "not for human consumption."

Using cultures from New England Cheesemaking Supply Company, I have made mozzarella, cottage cheese, panir, and yogurt. With just a little buttermilk added and a nice rest at room temperature for a few hours, the thick cream that rises to the top of my half gallon wide-mouth glass jars changes into silky creme fraiche, unlike anything else I have ever put in my mouth.

On the other hand, if I keep the cream from three gallons, a two-week supply, I can make enough butter to last for three weeks for the most important uses -- browning to dress up a green veggie, enriching a grilled cheese sandwich. I make the butter in my food processor, following these instructions.

I also made my favorite homemade ice cream of all time: Burnt Sugar. Christopher Kimball of Cooks Illustrated developed the recipe and shared it in an online newsletter. It may also have been published in the August 07 edition of the print magazine.

I hope for a return to active, clean dairy farming in Kentucky. I hope for an expansion in the numbers of people, like Linda Stone, who take excellent care of their cattle and sell fresh milk locally.