Author Topic: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?  (Read 1037 times)

Offline DenMike99

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Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« on: March 29, 2017, 05:46:04 PM »
New to cheese making here, and I have almost all my equipment together and will be starting with my first batch very soon.

I was thinking about the quality of milk at the different larger retail stores. Near me I have Walmart, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Aldi, Save-A-Lot and Target. There are probably more, but that is what I can think of now. Are there any of them I should stay away from or prefer when it come to whole milk?

The price matters of course, (Walmart around $4, Aldi around $2.65) but I just wondered if there is any difference in the quality.

Offline Gregore

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2017, 10:58:20 PM »
Hopefully some one will chime in on exactly which brands they are have the best luck with , but I will say that in general  most members here have had some of the best results with some of the cheapest milks .

Or raw . Which is the most expensive .

Offline DoctorCheese

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #2 on: March 30, 2017, 12:59:52 AM »
I have had terrible luck with Safeway milk which is called Value Corner. However, Al Lewis uses Safeway milk I think and makes some good looking cheeses. I personally have switched to a local-ish milk called Alpine Rose, which is pasteurized and homogenized but they use a very quick and minimal pasteurization technique. Every company I have called will tell me their pasteurization techniques and for cheese making you want as little heat and for as short a time as possible otherwise the milk won't set a good curd because the proteins are messed up (or something like that).
I am a cheese loving college student headed towards a PhD in Neuroscience working with what I have to produce some yummy morsels. Advice is always welcome!

Offline Raw Prawn

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #3 on: March 30, 2017, 04:37:50 AM »
I wouldn't have a clue about milk in your part of the world but I can tell you what I look for.
Unpasteurised milk is not an option here. It is not legal to sell it.
I always go for the milk with the longest use-by date. The supermarket always put that at the back of the shelf.
I always buy un-homogenised milk. In my local supermarket there are two brands of un-homogenised milk produced by small dairies. One usually has more cream floating on top. I go for the other one.
I should also mention that I have three supermarkets in my local shopping centre. Only one has a good selection of milk.
Like I say, that is a purely personal approach but it may help you in some way.
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Offline Duntov

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #4 on: March 31, 2017, 01:58:37 PM »
In my opinion, you can't assess quality for cheesemaking necessarily by brand name.  Most brands get their milk from multiple facilities and most use co-op milk from a variety of farms.  For example, Safeway has five different plants and Publix at least three.  Al has good luck with his Safeway milk that comes from the Bellevue plant.  But someone in California may have different results from their Safeway milk.

You will just have to try the different brands in your area to find out how good they are.  But beware, it can get a little more complicated.  An example is that Publix brand whole milk in gallon containers is high temp pasteurized but the same milk in quart size containers is ultra high temp!  I know this because I took the effort to call them to find out what methods they use.  There are also different levels of high temp pasteurization.  I am sure it would be impossible to find out exactly what temps each plant uses.

You can find the plant code imprinted on each container as shown below.  Once you know the code, you can search for the location.  http://whereismymilkfrom.com/finding-my-code
You might even find different brand names produced at the same plant.

« Last Edit: June 15, 2017, 07:00:13 AM by Duntov »
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Offline Gregore

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2017, 12:12:01 AM »
They ship your milk all the way from Minnesota to Florida?

Assuming I am reading that code correctly

Offline Duntov

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2017, 06:43:22 AM »
Try this link instead:  http://whereismymilkfrom.com/finding-my-code

My Publix milk comes from their Lakeland, Florida plant.
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Offline artmustel

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2017, 07:39:43 PM »
Out of the few brands that my local Walmart sells, I tried Land of lakes and it worked very good for my first cheese making attempts. I made a pretty simple Queso Fresco, following gavin Webber's recipe on youtube. land of lakes gallon of milk yielded 1 pound and 3 ounces cheese. I am very happy with results! Good luck.

Offline NW Fromager

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2017, 04:25:05 AM »
I use the cheapest but freshest milk I can find.  I'm not a seasoned veteran like many here, but I've had some pretty good successes with cheddar, colby, brie, mozzarella, and so far so good on a Stilton, a Gouda, two tommes and a Fourme D'Ambert.  I buy from Costco, Safeway, QFC, and Fred Meyer.  The last two are in the Kroger family.
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Offline awakephd

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2017, 08:59:07 AM »
Hmm, something just occurred to me. I too have had as good or better results with the cheapest milk the grocery store sells. I always buy the freshest I can find, but it does not have as long a use-by date as some others.

Which may suggest that it is not pasteurized quite so thoroughly - ?? Maybe milk that generally has a shorter window on its sell-by date might have advantages - ??
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Offline nccheesemike

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2017, 08:00:51 PM »
When I started cheesemaking I tried different grocery store milks. Aldi's. Lowe's Foods, Harris Teeter. Sadly enough all of the cheeses weren't good. I can't suggest any really. My best cheeses were when I found a local brand that was low pasteurized non-homogenized milk. Try one you can get there but none worked very well for me.

Offline NW Fromager

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #11 on: July 06, 2017, 12:41:58 PM »
Andy, you may be onto something there.  I opened a half-gallon of milk last week exactly on the use-by date (left over from a make that I ended up not needing it for), and it had already turned. 
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Online Al Lewis

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #12 on: July 06, 2017, 01:59:21 PM »
Go to Albertson's or Safeway and buy the cheap whole milk, the one on the bottom shelf.  Makes great cheese.  The more expensive one on the top shelf doesn't.
« Last Edit: July 07, 2017, 07:40:40 AM by Al Lewis »
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Offline Gregore

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #13 on: July 07, 2017, 12:27:54 AM »
I have been using Trader Joe's organic milk for a few months now with no issues this new batch shattered back into  milk when I went to stir it . Obviously ultra pasteurized even though the packaging says it's not .

I wonder if it is common for companies to put what even they have on hand into the container .

I will not be using their milk again , it's not worth my time and  random bad results for the small savings in money .

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Re: Milk from the big retail stores - Any difference in quality?
« Reply #14 on: July 08, 2017, 06:21:47 PM »
Go to Albertson's or Safeway and buy the cheap whole milk, the one on the bottom shelf.  Makes great cheese.  The more expensive one on the top shelf doesn't.

I cant figure out what your doin right or what I'm doin wrong I can't seem to make any cheese with that milk,
even upped the rennet just can't get curd to set  :-[
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