Broguiere Dairy « blogging for burgers

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Dear Ronnybrook: You have a rival.

But they are only in LA, so I guess you’re not really going to be competing for share.  And they are not organic or hormone-free, so again, not really competition.

Anyway, while out in LA over the past week, I had the pleasure of trying Broguiere’s milk.  It’s the last old-school, glass-bottled dairy left in the LA area.  It’s located in Montebello, but widely available in various grocery stores all over.

When I first saw the product, I was at the grocery store with burgermom, and I noticed the glass bottles in the dairy aisle.  “Hmm, this looks just like Ronnybrook bottles.”  My mom then told me that they were featured on an episode of California Gold, a local PBS show featuring Huell Howser (an incredibly cheesy show highlighting local events and places in California).  Not really wanting to buy milk or the egg nog, since I was only in town for a couple of days, we passed on it and finished our shopping.

The next night, after watching the Newshour (my mom does not have cable, so TV options are limited), California Gold was on, and was featuring, what do you know, Broguiere’s Dairy!  My mom and I watched the show, and watched them make their famous chocolate milk, which is still hand-made in big steel tanks by adding one part chocolate syrup to 10 parts whole milk.

Huell downed a sip, and made it out to be incredible.  It looked pretty good.  Interest scale: 5.5 out of 10.

Then, being around the holidays, they had an additional featurette on the eggnog.  Again, it is mixed by hand, in the same steel tanks, but contains a decadently golden custard base and additional heavy cream.  Huell again exclaimed his praises, and said it was the best thing out there since the Broguiere’s chocolate milk.  Interest scale: 10 out of 10.

So burgermom and I headed out to the local How’s at about 9 o’clock.  My mom doesn’t keep anything sweet in the house, so this was going to be our dessert after a lovely skirt steak with roasted fingerling potatoes and brussels sprouts.

We got back from the store and got our glasswares ready.  The chocolate milk went first, since the nog would probably kill anything remaining on the palate.  The chocolate milk was very good.  I would still say that the Ronnybrook chocolate milk is a bit better.  You can tell with Broguiere’s that they’re not using the best chocolate syrup out there, so the quality is really buoyed by the freshness of the whole milk they are using.  This didn’t stop my mom from downing about three-fourths of the bottle, but I was not resoundingly singing its praises.

Then came the eggnog.  The nog features Huell’s face on it, and it has done so for about the last nine years, since the story originally came out on California Gold.  The nog has just started hitting the shelves, and I must say that I was glad I was there to experience it.  I am going to go out on a limb and say it is the best eggnog I have ever had.  There, I said it.  It’s thick, it’s rich, it’s heavily spiced, it is Christmas in a glass.  It has that slight heat from the nutmeg and spices that gives it depth, and the copious amounts of egg and heavy cream give it a whole lot of body.  This, I must say, is better than the eggnog produced by Ronnybrook.  It hurts to type it, but it’s the truth.  If you are ever in LA over the holidays, do yourself a huge favor and get some.

But wait, there’s more!

When drinking/eating this eggnog, I thought that it would be tremendous if put into an ice cream maker.  Since Thanksgiving dinner was coming up, what better occasion to try it out.  I took to the interweb to see if others have done it, since I was surely not the first person to have this revelation.  Alas, others had.  Many complained that the finished product was not creamy enough, instead coming together as a spongey, almost stringy product.  A delicious one, but not exactly ice cream like, either.  I decided to then cut it with some lean milk (to balance out what I am guessing is the coagulant-like qualities of the egg yolks giving the nog its golden hue) and some bourbon (to prevent the ice cream from getting too icy).

I mixed everything together in a bowl (one and one-half cup nog, one cup 2% milk, and a couple of tablespoons of bourbon) pulled out the ice cream maker at burgerdad’s house.  At first, the product looked like any other ice cream being freshly made.

Pretty uneventful for a few minutes.  I was hoping that my own thoughtfully prepared mixture would beat LA Chowhounders whose recipes couldn’t cut the custard (what a pun!).  After about ten minutes or so in the maker, though, the signs started pointing towards ice cream land.

Things seemed to be working out alright.  It looked a little icy, possibly from the skim milk addition, but it still seemed to be working out.  A quick taste still confirmed that it had that same richness, and the bourbon didn’t hurt, either.

Here’s how it was another five minutes or so later.  You can see that there there is some slight ice build-up on the cutter, but on the bottom right-hand corner, you can see that some of creaminess was still coming through, and the taste was still great.

At that stage, it was done.  Took it out, and it was still creamy, some of that initial icy-ness was gone.  I was quite pleased with the finished product.  However, after a couple of hours in the freezer, it unfortunately lost some of its initial creaminess and was a bit icy, almost like a blend of a sorbet and an ice cream.  While this was nice accompanied with a fresh slice of pumpkin pie and whipped cream, it was not ideal if served alone.

Not deterred, I am writing down some notes that I had in terms of the mix:

– Continue to cut the eggnog with milk, but use whole milk instead.  While the skim milk was a good idea in theory, in practice it was not really the best.

– Transfer the ice cream out of its maker when done, and put into something that will not remain quite as cold (such as a plastic container).  I think this would have prevented a little bit of the change in consistency.

– Use more bourbon.  Just because.  And maybe for its low freeze point.  But mostly just because.

Yet another reason to get this nog.  If only I had an ice cream maker here in NYC…