When you start making cheese, the first and best ingredient is fresh milk that comes from healthy animals. Although you can use store-bought products to embrace cheesemaking, raw products already have the enzymes and cultures needed for flavor character and complexity.
This guide takes you through everything you need to know about milk and cream from a cheesemaking perspective.
What is Milk?
Although you could technically make cheese from any kind of milk, virtually every variety comes from cow, goat, or sheep milk. Each has different qualities to consider.
Cow’s milk contains up to 5% fat, 5% protein, and 5% lactose to create unique textures and flavors. The rest is primarily water.
Goat milk has smaller fat globules in the liquid, making the cheese more comfortable to digest for most people. The lack of carotene in the fluid causes the final product to appear whiter after the aging process.
Sheep milk contains double the solids, producing a higher yield for cheese. The butterfat content can sometimes exceed 10%.
How Do the Qualities of Milk Change?
Different breeds create unique milk products that can get turned into cheese. Holstein milk is the global standard for cow’s milk. Still, you’d want to use Ayrshire products for aged cheddar or sharp Italian varieties. Guernsey and Jersey milk have significant fat globules to make semi-soft and soft cheese varieties.
Three varieties of goat milk determine what cheese to make. Saanen milk is the global standard, used for most types. Nubian milk has more fat globules to produce softer cheeses, while Toggenburg milk is better for sharper kinds.
Most sheep milk remains standard across all breeds.
Does Pasteurization Impact Cheese Development?
Louis Pasteur developed heat treatment processes for milk to destroy unwanted microbes in 1857. Fresh milk contains healthy bacteria that inhibit unwelcome organism growth. The heating process removes all of them, increasing the risk of contamination.
Although you can use heat-treated milk to make cheese, it should not be ultra-pasteurized or homogenized. Anything made from these products would be severely lacking in flavor and character.
How Can I Find Good Milk Near Me?
The best way to find excellent milk of making cheese is to speak with your local grocer. The management there can talk to you about their distributors and suppliers, allowing you to trace your steps back through the supply chain until you reach the farmer.
This conversation is also a way for you to discuss what suppliers don’t overheat the milk so that you can find grocery products that can make cheese.
How Do Cream and Fat Matter for Milk?
Different cream options can come from the same milk products. You can use each one in place of the others in a recipe if you know the fat content of each one. Heavy whipping cream contains up to 40% fat, while half-and-half products are typically 18% or lower.
Some cheese recipes call for you to use cream as a way to develop flavors.
Can I Use Powdered Milk to Make Cheese?
Powdered milk comes in non-fat and whole varieties. You can use either option to start making cheese. Aged types don’t turn out well with this product, so consider using a soft cheese recipe only.
You’ll need to reconstitute the product before you can make cheese from it. Follow the instructions on the label, including if the item says it must be left out overnight.
If you have non-fat milk powder, use a ratio of about 4.5 cups of cream to every 2 gallons of milk.
For a more in-depth look at Best Type of Cows Milk For Cheese Making watch this video
Video Credit to Gavin Webber