Author Topic: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions  (Read 315 times)

Offline mexicalidesi

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Kerala, India
  • Posts: 6
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« on: September 02, 2017, 06:08:38 AM »
Hello everyone,

I have been lurking for a little while, due to a fear of asking questions so stupid (not even a newbie, rather a would-be one) that I would disgust everyone on my first post, but have girded my loins and am posting anyway! I thought I would combine an introduction and a couple of questions, if that is OK. 

I  started getting interested in/reading about cheesemaking a few months ago, and in the interim have moved to India for a year plus, from the US.  There are some pluses and minuses to that situation.  Minuses:  virtually no access to cheesemaking essentials such as cultures, rennet, molds and moulds, etc.; I have ordered some from cheesemaking.com and am crossing my fingers that they will reach me.  Pluses:  Kerala, where I live, must be one of the most beautiful, verdant, lush places on earth. 

Now the questions: among the cornucopia of natural resources here is an abundance of raw milk, effectively sourced directly from the farmers (there is a middleman who delivers it but he tests only for dilution, not purity.)  And it is only 75 US cents a liter, you guys!  As you can imagine, I am super excited about that, but I am concerned about handling practices and will be pasteurizing it myself using the double boiler/15 seconds at 161 degrees/quick cool method.  At that point is it still considered raw for the purposes of cheesemaking?  Following on that, will I have to use calcium chloride so that my curds coagulate properly? 

Sorry if the question is dumb, I did do a search but could not come up with an answer that was both on point and definitive (maybe there is no such thing).  I am really glad you guys are out there.  From the lurking, this is a nice, helpful place. 

Offline Hansadutta

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Holland
  • Posts: 70
  • Cheeses: 19
  • I like watching other people's cheeses
Re: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« Reply #1 on: September 02, 2017, 07:52:30 AM »
Hi Mexicalidesi.

You are right not to trust your milk. I have been in India a few short times and even in the nicest places you cannot be sure of anything. A few of my colleagues returned home with health problems caused by eating something wrong.

As far as I know you can make cheese with pasteurized milk without CaCL. Homogenized milk would be a problem. After pasteurizing ,the milk cannot be considered raw because you have not only killed the bad bacteria but also the good. And probably the ugly.

I have not been in Kerala but 75 US cents a liter sounds like you are being robbed by your middleman.  :)

Good luck with your cheeses.

Offline awakephd

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Posts: 1,959
  • Cheeses: 190
  • compounding the benefits of a free press
Re: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2017, 10:37:12 AM »
Welcome to the forum! I was in Kerala a couple of years ago - indeed a lush and verdant place, but I'm glad I wasn't the one driving on the roads - !

I agree that it would be wise to pasteurize the milk. I would consider following a low-temperature pasteurization: Heat the milk to 140°F (60°C), hold at that temp for 30 minutes, and then put the pot in a sink of cool water to cool the milk to your ripening temperature. Stir frequently throughout to make sure the temperature is even throughout the milk and to avoid scorching. Once the milk is cooled to ripening temperature, start making the cheese.

Why the low-temp approach? Particularly in a home setting, you probably don't have the equipment to "flash" the milk to the higher temperature and bring it back down quickly, so you are going to spend quite a bit of time getting up to temperature and back down. Meanwhile, it will be hard to hit your target temp and be sure all of the milk is at that temperature for the short time you are looking for, so you may well go over the target temperature. The higher the heat, the more damage to the milk.

At the cost of taking longer, the low-temperature pasteurization is much easier to control in a home setting, and it will give you milk that is minimally damaged. It will not be raw milk at that point, but it will perform nearly as well, and even though you will have killed off the natural bacteria in the milk, they will leave behind enzymes that will add to the flavor of the ripening cheese.

I agree that no CaCl should be required, but it won't hurt if you do add it.

I look forward to pictures of your efforts! And we are here to help, encourage, commiserate, and more ...
-- Andy

Offline mexicalidesi

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Kerala, India
  • Posts: 6
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Re: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2017, 01:50:18 PM »
Hans, as an ABCD (American Born Confused Desi, Desi is the Hindi word for Indian) I visit often enough to be overly confident about my immunity, but not enough to really have much.  So I am being careful this time.  Also, living in LA, as I do in the States – where if I am remembering correctly a gallon of raw milk is $20+ at Whole Foods, I feel as if I am robbing the middleman!
 
Andy, I saw your post about Mike Cross in one of the feta threads.  Loyal Tarheel here, I loved him in high school and college (dating myself, I know).  As a UNC *and* Duke alum (undergrad/law), I am afraid we are natural enemies, but I have read too many of your kind and informative posts to let basketball spoil my respect for them:). 

Thank you for taking the time to explain your thoughts on how best to pasteurize, they make complete sense and I (obviously) would not have come to that conclusion by myself.  I will go the low temp route, and skip the CaCl. 

Thank you both for answering, India is a bit of a wasteland as far as cheese goes, so it is good to have company and advice.  And I got my e-copy of Gianaclis Caldwell’s book for newbies from the library (it still freaks me out that I can check out books from my local LA library here in Kerala), it has been a good cheese-related day!
« Last Edit: September 02, 2017, 01:59:45 PM by mexicalidesi »

Offline cats

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Thetford Mines, QC, CA
  • Posts: 31
  • Cheeses: 3
  • From Toulouse, FR
Re: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2017, 04:31:08 PM »
Your question made me curious, so I asked my old man who's veterinarian
Thermization is low temp kind of pasteurisation that kills the baddest pathogens will keeping good bacterias. 45˚C for 30 minutes seems to be the norm. Or 72˚C for 1 second.
Pasteurisation is at leat 63˚C for 30 minutes up to 72˚C for 15 seconds.
Raw milk is better used in long aging cheeses. Nasties would develop under a few weeks/months and ruin the cheese.

If you don't trust the producer nor the middleman, you'd better go for pasteurisation.
I read that you'll loose some subtle flavors but you might live longer :)

75c/liter is high. Here it's bought more like 59c/liter to the farmer and we have quotas. In France it's like 40c/liter. All prices in USD.
If you paid 20USD a gallon in US... I don't know how to qualify this. A ripoff ? :'(
Missing good cheese here ! Got to make my own :)

Offline Hansadutta

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Holland
  • Posts: 70
  • Cheeses: 19
  • I like watching other people's cheeses
Re: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2017, 05:11:10 PM »
Hi Mexicalidesi,
I have seen a few places of india and I would say that it is the most beautiful place of the world, but I also saw a lot of holy cows eating from garbage and monkeys stealing from market  stalls. It is a great place. I really would love to come back some day.

Offline mexicalidesi

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Kerala, India
  • Posts: 6
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Re: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2017, 08:42:28 AM »
Cats,  speaking of great places, Quebec is on my bucket list.  Some day.  I did not realize raw milk was so inexpensive in so many places.  Kerala is one of the more expensive places in India, maybe because it has been communist/socialist for much of its post-independence history.  But we have one of the highest literacy rates in the world, and the second lowest poverty rate of any state in India, so I think it is worth it!  I agree with you on opting for survival over subtlety:)

Hans, if you liked the rest of the country, you would probably love Kerala, it really is so easy to be here after the mental/emotional onslaught that is true of much of the rest of it.  Feel free to come visit if you make it to God's Own Country, as Keralaites call their state, I will swap hosting for cheese lessons, I am *so* tired of paneer ....
« Last Edit: September 03, 2017, 08:51:19 AM by mexicalidesi »

Offline cats

  • Medium Cheese
  • ***
  • Location: Thetford Mines, QC, CA
  • Posts: 31
  • Cheeses: 3
  • From Toulouse, FR
Re: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2017, 12:01:21 PM »
mexicalidesi QC is a nice place to visit if you like wild nature and big spaces.
A bit on the "union" side when it comes to farming rules and many other professions. This looks like a bit post communist to any european. Unions are ruling many aspects of work in this state :)

Anyway, I hope to visit a bit India one day too. I never had the chance for now.
I'm sure you know many ways to accommodate paneer :)
 
Missing good cheese here ! Got to make my own :)

Offline Gregore

  • Old Cheese
  • *****
  • Location: Santa Barbara
  • Posts: 879
  • Cheeses: 33
  • Default personal text
Re: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« Reply #8 on: September 04, 2017, 10:00:59 AM »
Just looked up Kerala on google , very beautiful .

You should be able to get buffalo milk there to make real mozza.

Offline mexicalidesi

  • Young Cheese
  • **
  • Location: Kerala, India
  • Posts: 6
  • Cheeses: 0
  • Default personal text
Re: Hello (first post) and some Raw Milk Questions
« Reply #9 on: September 05, 2017, 01:59:17 PM »
Gregore, it is really implausibly beautiful (at least outside of the towns, which most of the state is), as if created with a tourist brochure in mind.  Where I live is so quiet that you can hear several layers of birdsong in the morning.  And catch a glimpse of the resident peacock family that wonders around if you are lucky.

I have asked about getting buffalo milk - would love to use it in mozzarella and drink some myself, it sounds delicious - with no luck so far.  I haven't even seen any buffalo, although cows and goats (bodes well for feta) are everywhere outside of the urban areas.  Kerala is one of the few Indian states where slaughter of cows - for meat - is legal, maybe buffalo farming is less common because of that .....