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Breastmilk Recipes
By Janet Hoover, IBCLC

Here are some breastmilk recipes for using extra milk.

BREASTMILK BREAD STARTER

2 1/2 cups warm (110 degrees) breastmilk
1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar

In glass or ceramic bowl, soften the yeast in 1/2 cup breastmilk. Stir in the remaining 2 cups breastmilk, flour and sugar. Cover loosely with a dish towel and let stand at room temperature until bubbly. This may take up to 10 days--the warmer the room, the quicker the fermentation. Stir 2 to 3 times a day. The starter will develop a strong "sour" odor as it ferments. When fermentation has occurred, refrigerate the starter until needed.

To keep the starter going: After using 1 cup of starter, add to the remaining 3/4 cup of water or breastmilk, 3/4 cup flour and 1 teaspoon sugar. Stir well. Let stand at room temperature until bubbly, at least 1 day. Cover and refrigerate. If not used within 10 days, stir in 1 teaspoon of sugar. Repeat the addition of 1 teaspoon of sugar every 10 days.

COTTAGE CHEESE

16 cups milk (breastmilk)
1/2 cup non-fat dry milk
1 cup buttermilk
Salt, to taste

Pour the milk into a 6 quart stainless steel pot. Stir in the dry milk. Set the pot into a larger pot, double boiler fashion, filling the larger pot with enough water to come up the side of the smaller pot about 1/2 of the way.

Get the milk to 86F: turn the heat on under the larger pot for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring the milk slowly. Then turn off the heat, not stirring and wait a few minutes. Check the temperature, and if it is not warm enough repeat the procedure. Add the buttermilk to the milk. Stir well. By covering the pot and checking the temperature a few times, hold the temperature at 86F for 12 hours. This allows the curd to form. The curd should be custard like.

Cut the curd into 1/2" pieces. Allow the cut curd to set for about 30 minutes to allow more of the whey to separate, keeping the temperature at 86F. Then slowly begin to cook the curd until the temperature reaches 100F. Use the same method of heating as before.

Don't hurry the process; it should take about 30 minutes.

Stir gently once in awhile for even heating and to prevent the curd from sticking together. This will also allow you to cut up any oversize curd. As the temperature rises, it will require more frequent stirring as it firms and separates from the whey. Remove curds from the heat as soon as they firm and reach the desired temperature.

Line a large colander with 2 layers of clean cheese cloth. Using a measuring cup, scoop out the curd into the colander. Allow to drain for several minutes, then rinse curd by immersing the cheese cloth and curd in lukewarm water. Allow to drain for several more minutes. Place drained curd into a large bowl. Sprinkle with about 1 tablespoon of salt and mix with hands to blend evenly. Put into a covered container and chill. When cool, taste for salt and add if needed. You'll get about 1 1/2 pounds.

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BREASTMILK SOAP

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lye (NaOH)
1 1/2 cups vegetal oil
1/2 cup cocoa butter
1 cup breastmilk

Don't use metallic material, since it may react with lye. In a small bowl, add to lye to water (NOT water in lye). Mix well to dissolve lye. Let sit until it reach 115F (like a warm bath). Mix oil and cocoa butter. Heat until 115F. You can microwave 60 seconds on HIGH. Add lye to the oil mix (DON'T use pour oil in lye). Mix until it takes a silky look--about 10 minutes. Add breastmilk, stirring slowly. The color will change according the amount of fat in your milk, so each batch may have a different colour. Stir until the mix looks like instant pudding - between 45 minutes and 1 1/2 hours. Pour into moulds - You can use almost anything you want; muffin tin is good start. You may want to oil moulds, or cover them with saran wrap or wax paper to make unmoulding easier.

Let sit for 3 days then unmould - some people freeze the soap to unmould it, but it should really be avoided. Let cure in a dry place for at least 4 weeks. The more your soap will cure, the more neutral it will be. You can taste it (I don't mean eat it!) to see if it is neutral.

This recipe will give you 24 oz (if you used muffin the you'll get 12 soaps.)

Lye can be purchased in some supermarkets or grocery stores but it is harder to find it today, since products like Drano are widely spread. You have to use PURE lye to make soap. Usually it is sold in a 12 oz can. If you can't find it in your area, you can always buy it from a chemical laboratory or a chemical supplies retailer, but many of them sell it in 50 pound bags.

A SHORT VERSION OF BREASTMILK SOAP

2 cups vegetable oil (such as olive, coco, canola, cocoa butter, etc.)
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lye (solid NaOH)
1 cup breastmilk

Heat oil to 115F. In a glass measuring cup, add lye to water. (Not waterin lye). When the solution reaches 115F, add to oil. Stir until the mix is silky; then add milk. Color will change; it is normal. Stir until you get instant pudding consistency (this is what we call "trace"), approximately 60 to 45 minutes. Pour in moulds. You can use almost anything, like muffin tin or cookies tray. Take care to not use metallic material. Let sit 2 or 3 days, until you can unmould soaps easily. You have to let your soap "cure" 4 to 5 weeks, until it becomes neutral. You'll get approximately 12 2-oz soaps.

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