Cow’s milk is processed in many ways, so what is the best cow’s milk to use for cheese making at home? I get asked this question all the time on Ask the Cheeseman, my YouTube Q&A show.
No Access to a Farm?
Well, because many don’t have access to the farm gate for the ultimate in raw milk, I have produced a video tutorial explaining what cow’s milk is easily obtainable from major supermarkets and is okay for cheese making.
When in Doubt, Add Calcium Chloride
Don’t forget that if you know the milk has been pasteurised then please remember to add the equivalent amount of Calcium Chloride as you do Rennet to the milk. This will encourage better coagulation of the milk into curds and whey.
So just to recap for cow’s milk;
- Pasteurised/Homogenised milk with a fat content of at least 3.25% is okay.
- Pasteurised/Unhomogenised milk is much better with a fat content of at least 3.25% or higher.
- UHT or Ultra-pasteurised milk will not set a curd, and
- Skimmed milk is useless for making cheese.
- Lite milk Pasteurised/Homogenised with a fat content of about 1.5 to 2% fat is okay to augment your milk if your recipe calls for lower fat e.g. Parmesan.
- Half and Half, which is usually about 10% fat is too high for cheese making.
- Thickened cream contains thickeners or gelatine which affects curd set
- Double cream with ~51% fat is too thick and difficult to incorporate back into the milk
- Single Pure cream that has about 45% fat and is pourable, should be perfect for cheese making if your recipe calls for additional cream.
I Can Get Access to Farm Milk!
Well, that’s fantastic. Just make sure that you can trust the quality of the milk and that you can transport it home at 4°C/39.2°F. Use it within 2 days from milking for the best result. If you are not sure about the milk quality then be sure to pasteurise your own raw milk using the Low Temperature/Long Hold method which you can learn about at Dairy Technologist.
What do you think?
Let me know what you think is the best cow’s milk to use for cheese making at home.
Do you have a favourite brand or dairy that you source your milk from?
Question about making squeaky cheese curds using raw milk. Is it still necessary to add the cultures? Is that for making the squeaky curds or is that if you were using pasteurized milk?
Gavin Webber says
Hi Ben, You probably would not have to use cultures to make squeaky cheese curds with raw milk, however, I would advise that you leave the milk at room temperature for at least 12 hours before making your cheese. Doing that will provide the level of acidification you need to set the curds.
Hey Mr Webber,
Could you do a BRIE cheese for me. I know its like Camambert however every time i try to find a revipevfor itbittbonly brings up Camambert. Also could you do a TRIPLE CREME cheese?
That should say recipe for it sorry
Bob Furber says
On the matter of milk, I have had good success unpasteurizing store bought 3.25% pasteurized milk with kefir granules or the addition of about 15% home made kefir.