June 28, 2021 4 min read

When making cheese, one of the most important ingredients to consider is milk! The final product is greatly influenced by your choice of milk, so here are some helpful tips on how to choose thebest milk for homemade cheese making. 

High-quality milk: This is milk that has been the LEAST PROCESSED. This can be cow, goat, sheep, buffalo, etc.

  1. Fresh, unpasteurized, or raw milk(they all mean the same thing). In Canada, this milk is illegal to buy or sell in stores. But it falls under the category of high-quality milk. So it belongs on this list.

  2. Non-homogenized milk is often referred to as whole milk, however, it does not mean the milk is non-homogenized just because it says whole on the label. Make sure it says non-homogenized, standard, unhomogenized, or cream on top. Different brands label it in different ways. Homogenization is not the same as pasteurization. Homogenization is milk that has beenfurther processed to break up the fat globules so that the structure of the milk is bound together. To put it another way, the cream is no longer separated from the milk, which is why the consistency of non-homogenized milk has visible floating cream globules in it. This is also why it is so great for cheese making because it has been processed less than other conventional kinds of milk.                                                     
  3. High fat, grass-fed and fresh (don’t use close to expiry).High-fat milk, like 3.25% + is milk that has also beenless processed than conventional milk, which means there are more proteins and bacteria that gives you stable milk. Using grass-fed cow’s milk also allows for more stable milk from a diet richer in nutrients. This milk will work well with any ‘slow’ cheese (meaning cheeses that require active bacteria and calcium chloride as ingredients). However, this milk choice becomes less reliable when making ‘fast’ cheeses such as fresh mozzarella. It is okay to use, but the percentage of success goes down.

 

You can find excellent milk that fits in the high-quality milk category at Eby Manor and Sheldon Creek Dairy, both of which not only carry cream top milk but also Cheese Maker DIY cheesemaking kits! Find out more about both Eby Manor and Sheldon Creek at the bottom of the page.

Low-quality milk: This is milk that has been the MOST PROCESSED. Most often cow’s milk is the most processed.

  1. 2%, 1% & skim milk.These kinds of milk lie at the top of the low-quality list mostly because you can make cheese with them if you are making a cheese that comes with active bacterial cultures and calcium chloride. You can use these kinds of milk to make some fresh cheeses like ricotta, cottage cheese, and sour cream. These conventional types of milk have been pasteurized, homogenized and skimmed several times over leaving a product very low in nutrients and bacteria which makes for a low-quality texture and flavoured cheese.

  2. Lactose-free milk.If you are not using ultra-pasteurized milk you can attempt to make cheese, however, because it is milk that has been processed and treated the results can be inconsistent.

  3. Ultra-pasteurized (UP) or Ultra-high temperature (UHT) milk.These types of milk are treated with extreme processes of heating and cooling. This denatures the milk completely to the point where it lasts unnaturally long periods of time allowing for easier transport and longer shelf-life in the store. You cannot make firm cheeses with these kinds of milk. At best you will get ricotta. 

Your cheese will only be as good as the milk you choose to make it with. Therefore, for the best final product, we recommend that if you cannot get your hands on unpasteurized milk, look for non-homogenized, also known as cream on the top milk, for a great alternative. If you are not able to find any non-homogenized milk, look for milk that is a ways away from its best before date, has a fat content of at least 3.25%, and/or comes from grass-fed animals. Try to avoid 2%, 1%, skim, lactose-free, UP, or UHT milk, as, at best, you will make ricotta. With that being said, try not to get too overwhelmed with the choices and happy cheesemaking!

Eby Manor                                                 Sheldon Creek

1174 Weeby Place                                      4300 5th Concession

RR1 Waterloo, ON N2J 4G8                       Loretto ON L0G 1L0

Canada                                                       Canada

https://ebymanor.ca/                                   https://www.sheldoncreekdairy.ca/


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