Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Danish Dairy

If I might say so myself Denmark makes some of the most amazing dairy products.
You can get milk that is no more that 24 hours old and we preserve it in a different way than the rest of the would, because it normally has an expiration date of no more than 7 day.
And the butter is fantastic – yellow, salty and full of flavor.
I really miss Danish dairy products and that even comes from a Dane who did not drink milk growing up – which is unheard of in Denmark.
In average a family of 4 drinks a liter of milk a day (about 4 cups) and most kids get the choice of drinking regular milk or water with their meals.
Most of the milk I find here has an expiration date about 1 month after is has been picked up at the farm.
I know the reason for this is the climate and the long distances the milk has to travel on this vast continent – but the taste really suffers.
I was so lucky to find a local dairy farm that sells milks that is similar to Danish milk – only MUCH more expensive and 2 weeks until expiration date.

But back to Denmark and the usage of milk....
Calf from a local organic farm where my husbands cousin works - so cute. 

100 – 150 years ago in Denmark milk, like eggs, was spring and summer food. You could not get it year round and you had to make the most of it when it was available.
So the farmer’s summer diet was usually made up by some kind of porridge made from milk or porridge from grains with sour milk on top.
All summer long the girls would milk the cows 3 times a day and Madmor (the lady in charge of the farm kitchen) would make cheese and butter and of course different kinds of milk would come out of this process.
One of these byproducts is Kærnemælk (buttermilk) that is a result of making butter – to churn butter in Danish is called “at kærne smør” – there from the word kærnemælk.
Today Danish buttermilk is made by making skimmed milk sour and only by buying organic buttermilk in Denmark you get the taste of old fashioned buttermilk.
In the states I have not seen any organic buttermilk and most of the product that I have found are fat free – not my kind of product.
So the taste is not quite the same as I am used to, but it tastes all right.
Today you can get milk all year round and we no longer eat porridge everyday, but some summer milk recipes we have kept because they are simply so delicious.
On of them is Kærnemælks koldskål

Koldskål is a sweet cold buttermilk soup served with Kammerjunker - a twice-baked biscuit.
And because it is a beloved Danish summer dessert - also eaten as a whole meal on hot summer day - there are as many recipes as there are families.

Some make it only with buttermilk, some add yoghurt; some make it without eggs and some with eggs.
It all depends on preference and - probably – what you have in the fridge.

It was my first time making Koldskål and Kammerjunker, since I always just bought it ready made from the supermarket in Denmark.
But over here there is no such option, so no other choice than to roll up my sleeves and get cooking.


1 stick of salted butter (113 gram)
2 1/3 cup of flour (300 gram)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1 eggs
½ cup of sugar (100 gram)
Zest of half a lemon
Cardamom to taste (About a tsp)
A splash of cold milk/water

Put all the ingredients, except the milk, in a food processor and blitz it together until it forms one big lump.
If it ends up more like breadcrumbs then add a splash of milk.
Put the dough in cling film an let it rest in the fridge for 1 hour. I could not wait and therefore just let it sit until I had made the Koldskål.
After resting you can either make small bunds with your hands or make the dough into a sausage and cut them into ½ inch (1,5 cm) pieces.
Put them on a baking tray in a 350 F (175 C) hot oven for about 10 minutes.
Take them out and let them cool until you are just able to handle them.
Cut them in two and bake one more time for about 5 minutes. 
Keep an eye on them – you want them golden brown.
Don’t worry if some of them brake into smaller pieces when you cut them in two - many Danes like to crumble them on top of their Koldskål.
Once they have cooled of they will be nice and crisp.
I forgot to put in the baking powder and perhaps they were supposed to rise a bit, but I think they turned just fine anyway.

Kærnemælks koldskål

Sour, sweet, lemony, with a touch of vanilla and beautiful yellow color from the eggs.

1 quart of buttermilk (946 ml)
1 quart of full milk yoghurt (946 ml)
6 pasteurized egg yokes
6 tablsp sugar
Zest of 2 small lemons
1 tablsp of vanilla extract

Wisk the egg yokes, vanilla, sugar and zest until light and fluffy.
Gradually whisk in the buttermilk and then add the yoghurt little by little, until you get the thickness that you prefer.
I used all of it.
You can eat it right away, but letting it rest in the fridge will allow the zest to flavor the buttermilk.

Next time I make this recipe I will properly ad more lemon zest, maybe even some juice and I will definitely go for a real vanilla pod instead.
I just haven’t been able to find any in my local supermarket.
I might also whisk in the yoghurt before the buttermilk to make sure that I don’t get any yoghurt lumps.

I had this for an early dinner with Kammerjunker, again as a late snack in a glass as you would drink milk and again this morning with Kammerjunker and strawberries.
The strawberries really add to the experience and I imagine that it would go great with banana as well – maybe as a smoothie…? Must try that later today.
Since my recipe contains eggs I will try to eat it all within 2 days. Even if they are pasteurized, I do not trust them for longer periods of times.
Leaving the eggs out of course make it easier to keep. 
Up till 5 days in the fridge I would think.

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