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Considerable quantities of mineral salts, which are chiefly lime, potash, and phosphates, are found in milk. As has already been pointed out, these are important in the building of bone and hard tissue in the body, but in addition they help to keep the fluids of the body in the right condition. Because of the work they do, these mineral salts are necessary in the building of the bodies of growing children, and are useful for repair and the regulation of the body processes in adults. In cheese, butter, and cream, which are the products of milk, less of the mineral salts are found in proportion to the quantity than in whole milk, skim milk, and whey. The percentage of water in milk is much greater than that of all the other food substances combined, there being more than six times as much. While this quantity seems very large, it is an advantage, for milk provides nourishment to persons when they can take neither solid nor more condensed food. On the other hand, the water is a disadvantage, for it is responsible for the rapid spoiling of milk. This fact is clearly shown in the case of condensed milk, where the water is partly or completely evaporated, for milk of this kind keeps much longer without spoiling than either whole or skim milk. Although milk is used extensively in its natural liquid form, considerable use is also made of the numerous products of milk, chief among which are cream, skim milk, buttermilk, sour milk, whey, butter, and cheese. In fact, all of these occupy such an important place in the dietary of the majority of homes that it is well for every housewife to understand their value. Butter and cheese are discussed in detail later, so that at this time no attention need be given to them. The other products, however, are nature, and use.
As has been pointed out, the particles of fat that rise to the top of milk when it is allowed to remain undisturbed for some time form the product known as cream. Cream may be removed from the milk by skimming it off, or it may be separated from the milk by means of machinery especially designed for the purpose. The greater the proportion of fat in milk, the thicker, or "heavier," will be the cream. Various grades of separated cream are placed on the market, the usual ones being those which contain 8, 12, 16, 20, and 40 per cent, of fat. Thin cream, which includes the grades that have only a small percentage of fat, contains a larger quantity of milk than the others and is not so desirable for many purposes. Still, it is used to some extent, because it is cheaper and there are definite uses to which it can be put. Medium-heavy cream is the kind to select when it is desired for whipping. This is a process that consists in beating the cream rapidly until a mass of tiny bubbles form and become stiff, very much as the white of egg does. After a part or all of the cream has been removed from whole milk, that which remains is called skim milk. While practically all of the fat is taken out when milk is skimmed, very little protein or sugar is removed. Therefore, skim milk is still a valuable food, it being used to a large extent for cheese making, for the manufacture of certain commercial foods, and for the feeding of animals. The housewife does not, as a rule, buy skim milk; indeed, in some localities the laws prevent its sale because it is considered an adulterated food. However, it is really a wholesome, valuable food that is cheaper than whole milk, and its use in the home should therefore be encouraged from an economical standpoint. Here it may be used in the preparation of many dishes, such as sauces, cakes, biscuits, muffins, griddle cakes, bread, etc., in which butter or other fats are used, and in custards, puddings, ices, and numerous other desserts. The milk that remains in butter making after the butter fat has been removed from cream by churning is known by the name buttermilk. Such milk is similar to skim milk in composition, and unless butter is made of sweet cream, buttermilk is sour. Buttermilk is used considerably as a beverage, but besides this use there are numerous ways in which it may be employed in the preparation of foods, as is pointed out in various recipes. An advantage of buttermilk is that its cost is less than that of whole milk, so that the housewife will do well to make use of it in the preparation of those foods in which it produces satisfactory results. Several kinds of sour milk that are called buttermilk are to be had, particularly at soda fountains and restaurants. While they are similar to buttermilk they are not the same, because they are produced artificially from whole or skimmed sweet milk. The usual method employed in the making of these artificial buttermilks, as they may well be called, consists in adding to sweet milk tablets containing lactic acid or a certain culture of bacteria that induce fermentation, very much as yeast does, and then keeping it at about body temperature for a number of hours in order to allow the milk to thicken and sour. Such milks exert a beneficial action in the digestive tract, and their food value, provided they are made from whole milk, is just as high as that of the original sweet milk. Artificial buttermilks therefore prove a valuable source of food supply for persons who find them palatable and who do not care for sweet milk. Their food value may be increased by adding cream to them. Ordinary milk contains large numbers of bacteria that produce fermentation.When it is allowed to stand for some time, these bacteria act upon the sugar, or lactose, contained in the milk and change it into lactic acid. This acid gives to the milk a sour taste and at the same time causes the casein of the milk to become a mass known as curd, or clabber. This mass continues to grow sour and tough until all the milk sugar is converted into lactic acid, so that the longer the milk stands, the more acid it becomes. Sour milk, however, is useful in the preparation of various dishes, such as hot breads and griddle cakes. Learn about road safety equipment, rules of billiards and other information at the Knowledge Galaxy site.