Sunday, July 23, 2017

What Is The Best Milk For Cheese Making?

Asking what the best milk is for cheese making is like asking what the best flavor is of ice cream. It all depends on what type of cheese you want, what flavor you enjoy the most, and what the cheese will be used for.
Milk Sources
Cheese can be made from the milk of several animals, including cow, goat, sheep, water buffalo, reindeer, yak, donkey, camel, and moose. Some are made with a combination of two or more milks. Many of the cheeses that Americans eat are made from cow’s milk. These include Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Muenster, and Parmesan. Romano cheese is made from sheep’s milk and Feta cheese is made from a blend of goat’s and sheep’s milks. Mozzarella cheese, that wonderfully gooey cheese that makes pizza what it is, was originally made from the milk of water buffalo. Most mozzarellas are now made from cow’s milk. Roquefort cheese is made from the milk of the Lacaune breed of sheep.
Raw Vs Pasteurization
Other than the type of mammal from which the milk comes, there is also the debate of whether it is best to use raw milk, pasteurized milk, ultra-pasteurized milk, ultra-high temperature pasteurized milk, or homogenized milk. The process of pasteurizing the milk is done by heating it to a certain temperature for a few seconds, which kills the harmful bacteria that may be in the raw milk. Depending on the length and temperature at which the milk is heated, all of the good bacteria is also destroyed. This affects the flavor of both the milk and cheese that is made from it.
It is recommended to not use ultra or ultra-high temperature pasteurized milk for cheese-making. Homogenized milk will work, however. Raw milk seems to be the preference for many cheese makers, especially those who make their own cheese at home, or artisan cheese makers. The raw milk gives a more robust flavor that many prefer. As long as the cows are healthy, the milk tested regularly for harmful bacteria, raw milk is probably safe to use. It is even possible to make “cheese” from soy or nut milks. But that’s a different story! Due to FDA regulations, cheese made from raw milk can only be sold in the United States if it is labeled as being unpasteurized and has aged at least 60 days, limiting the selection available somewhat, particularly compared to certain European countries.

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