Has anyone had luck separating cream from fresh raw milk?? (I mean really separating, for making whipped cream)

I don't know why, but every time, no matter how careful I am to just skim the very top of the cream... it never works to make whipped cream or butter with our raw cream! My friend has no trouble putting the kitchenaid on high and making butter but I never end up with more than a half whipped mess... even though our cows are primarily Jersey = very creamy!
Every other recipe works fine ie: ice cream, custards, etc. when heating the cream...

saucy. von Trapp


SlavicBeautyNet August 17, 2016
The fast and easy way is to use a small cream separator. Here is the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QA75kHoQvak
Alisa T. January 5, 2013
Thank you for this. I have the exact opposite experience when I make butter from pasteurized cream - if it's cold, it takes forever to make butter, but if it is room temperature, it makes butter in about ten minutes through the "give your child a jar to shake" method. Tonight I bought my very first gallon of raw milk and found this post. I'll have to keep all this in mind!
Headcook44 March 30, 2012
Pour strained milk into glass suntea pitcher with a bottom spout. Refridgerate overnight. In the morning drain thin white milk from spout. In a separate jar drain thin yellow cream(half and half). You should have a thick cream left. Use this to make whipping cream and butter. We have two Jerseys and one gives excellent cream and one gives inferior cream for whipping. I have a friend who has had this same problem. You can also purchase a custom made butter churn from marshall pottery to aid in butter making. I had a half gallon churn made. Hope this is helpful.
saucy. V. March 25, 2011
wow this is so awesome, thank you to everyone for their hints, I am going to experiment...unfortunately the coconut tart that needed the whipped cream in the first place, is all gone :) I think I was trying to do the separating when the milk was too fresh. @healthierkitchen - :) I just saw the article too! That is actually our farm just over the hill (where Dan grew up and where the dairy operation is) - we live on the farm that I grew up on, just renamed it "Bliss Ridge". They forgot to mention the reason why we're in summer clothes, is b/c it is 90degrees in the cheesemake room, we were sweating when the Bon Appetit guys showed up... hmmm don't know why they didn't use the pics of us in hairnets making the cheese ;) pics of Bliss Ridge & blog here if you're interested. Im going to blog about cheesemaking soon! www.saucyvermont.com
healthierkitchen March 24, 2011
Jordan - saw the article about your farm in Bon Appetit!!
Injoytroye March 24, 2011
I use raw milk as well, and when I want to separate the cream, I pour the gallon into a container with a spout. When the cream has fully separated again after pouring, I then use the spout to extract the milk from the bottom, leaving just the cream in the container. I have found this to be the best way to "skim" the cream without disrupting the separation. Then I chill the cream again before whipping for the same reasons others have mentioned.
Burnt O. March 23, 2011
I agree with betterirene. We used to bring in the raw milk from the cows at my aunt's farm in the morning and strain it through a clean cloth diaper. Once it had cooled and settled to room temp., we would skim off the top, thick cream for butter or whipping cream. The rest was put in the fridge for another day to rest and get light cream for everything else. I remember pouring the heavy cream into an empty mayonnaise jar with a lid, and then shaking the heck out of it until it formed a ball of butter. The buttermilk was saved too. Try adding some cream of tartar to your cream - but everyone is right - it must be VERY cold to get stiff peaks.
usuba D. March 23, 2011
betteirene, it seems our cows and of course the pasture (Ireland is the best for milk & cheese) only gave use double cream (never knew where single cream came from). . . we also always had buttermilk because we did not have a cooler to keep our milk, so it would naturally ferment. . . mum always made wheaton from the buttermilk.
betteirene March 23, 2011
If you're gathering cream by skimming it, you're getting cream that has a butterfat content of about 25%, which is a medium cream. A minimum butterfat content of 30% (light whipping cream) is needed to successfully whip or churn it.

You can send a sample of your cow's milk to the Vermont DHIA and they'll tell you what the butterfat content of your milk is.

If you have the means and the wherewithal, purchase a centrifuge to do the separating for you. It's the quickest and easiest way to separate the milk from the cream.

Otherwise, pour the milk into pans to a depth of no more than 4" and refrigerate it. After 12 hours, skim the cream off the top. In the British empire, this is called "single cream." For British "double cream," wait 24 hours before skimming.
usuba D. March 23, 2011
As a child, we only had the raw milk from our 2 cows and we could always make whip cream. I would suggest that after separating the milk from the cream, make sure the cream is very well chilled, even use a chilled bowl. Other than that, I am not sure the issue.
macollins March 23, 2011
Anything I've read about working with raw milk, seems to suggest that it needs to be really well chilled, for a couple of days even. And people work with a blender, at least for making butter...saying it takes 3-5 minutes for butter to start forming, so I'm assuming you'd have your whipped cream somewhere before that, depending on your machine.

I have actually bought non-homogenized organic milk (but not raw), and found that the longer the bottle sat in the fridge untouched, the more lumps of butter formed in the cream layer that they missed skimming. It was an unplanned, but happy accident.
Panfusine March 23, 2011
Sorry, my mistake,I always assumed that that was why.. I'd really love to know the answer to this question as well!
saucy. V. March 23, 2011
Oh no, sorry Panfusine, we have an organic dairy farm and don't homogenize our milk - it is fresh from the girls and separates naturally and quickly... and I skim the cream off and swear I'm getting no milk in with it... but somehow it never whips!! I can't justify buying cream but I need whipped cream to go with my coconut tart... :)
Panfusine March 23, 2011
& really chilling the milk also helps..
Panfusine March 23, 2011
Its always a cinch when I do that while in India, but nearly impossible when I try it in the US.. I think it may have something to do with the homogenization. The globules of cream are so finely shattered & dispersed in the milk that they never really can collect together well enough to yield a dollop of butter. Try starting out with un-homogenized milk thats available in organic health food stores
Recommended by Food52