Wiki: Milk & Cream Types

This Wiki Article discusses milk and cream and cream types commonly used in making cheese. Dairy animals have been kept by mankind for the provision of milk since before history was recorded. Raw or unprocessed milk has a very short shelf life and thus it was historically commonly made into cheese to provide as a method of food storage. As such, milk is the largest building block of cheese making.


South Portugal Sheep Crossing Bridge -
South Portugal Sheep Crossing Bridge -

Dairy animals include but are not limited to:

  • Cows
  • Goats
  • Sheep/Ewes
  • Buffaloes
  • Asses/Donkeys
  • Mares/Horses

Most cheese is made from cow’s, goat’s, and sheep’s milk.


  • Cow’s milk ranges from bluish-white to cream depending on amount of fats and non-fat solids and amount of carotene which increases the yellowish colour.
  • Goat’s milk is slightly opaque white as no carotene even when fed grass.


  • Cow’s milk when fresh normally has a pH of 6.7.
  • Goat’s milk when fresh normally has a pH of 6.4 which is slightly more acidic than cow’s milk as higher content of acids and can cause more rapid souring.


Fat in milk is called butterfat and is suspended in the milk in a water external emulsion (fat particles in a matrix of water) as water is by far the high % of milk.

Raw, unprocessed cow’s milk’s butterfat are large particles which when left undisturbed will via gravity as fat is lighter than water, rise to the top of the milk where it will form a layer, a process called creaming. Goat’s and ewe’s milk’s butterfat particles are generally smaller than in cow’s milk and thus less gravity versus emulsion forces and in general it will not separate and it will freeze better.


Raw unprocessed milk is an extremely complex material, it’s makeup depends on animal type, breed, feed, and stage in it’s lactation cycle. Plus in general, higher fat milk’s are obtained at the end of a milking of stripping.

Raw Milk Major Components – Type:

  • Water.
  • Triglyceride fats:
    • Saturated fatty acids.
    • Unsaturated fatty acids.
  • Proteins:
    • Casein, highest % and key in cheese making.
    • Albumin.
    • Lecithin.
    • Globulin.
    • Fibrin.
  • Carbohydrate
    • Lactose sugar.
  • Ash, the residual content of milk containing a range of minerals and vitamins.

Raw Milk Major Components – Content:

Type Fat % Protein % Lactose % Ash % Total Solids% Water %
Cow, Guernsey 5.0 3.8 4.9 0.7 14.4 85.6
Cow, Holstein 3.5 3.1 4.9 0.7 12.2 87.8
Cow, Jersey 5.5 3.9 4.9 0.7 15.0 85.0
Goat 3.5 3.1 4.6 0.79 12.0 88.0
Sheep 5.3 5.5 4.6 0.9 16.3 83.7