Author Topic: Milk, Cow, Raw - WA Sources & Mixing With Store Pasteurized & Homogenized  (Read 2409 times)

Offline Luckyksc

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So I finally found a place in Tacoma that sells raw milk ($10 gallon) and a place that sells pasteurized non homogenized milk ($16 gallon).  The raw milk is cheaper but I have to age the cheese longer, the other milk cost more but I would be able to continue to make cheese and eat it within a month or two.  I am very much a beginner and like being able to see my mistakes quickly.  I make a cheese a week right now.  I know that non homogenized milk is supposed to makes better cheese, does raw milk make better cheese then pasteurized milk?  Which one should I go for?  Right now I just make cheese out of the cheap milk at the store ($2.50 gallon). 


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Offline linuxboy

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The raw milk is cheaper but I have to age the cheese longer
How do you figure? Because you're unsure it's free of pathogens? Can't sell raw milk in WA unless it's tested. One of the best joys of making cheese for oneself is that you can enjoy extraordinary delicacies, like 3-4 week old raw milk bloomy rind and smear rind types. One of my favorites, for example, is to skim all the fat from my goat milk in the spring, and make a double creme bloomy rind that I eat in 4 weeks and infuse with petals from cherry blossoms. Thin, mixed-species yeast/geo/linens rind, or PLA if I'm lazy.

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does raw milk make better cheese then pasteurized milk?
When it's high quality milk, yes.

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Right now I just make cheese out of the cheap milk at the store ($2.50 gallon).
Which milk? Pooled Dairygold? Rebranded sunshine dairy shipped up here from Portland? One of the smaller producers? Because IMHO, the only passable cheeses you can make from store milk around here are blues, gouda types, and very low moisture types such as parmesan.

Do raw, it's how cheese was meant to be. And if you're paranoid about bacteria, then thermize it.

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I am very much a beginner and like being able to see my mistakes quickly.
Having trouble following how you can tell when you made a mistake when the only way to tell most of the time is to age a cheese out. A cheese at 2 weeks is not the same cheese at 4 weeks is not the same cheese at 4 months, etc.
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Offline Luckyksc

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Thanks for the answer!  :)  I did not know that all milk here had to be tested.  I won't worry about it then.  The raw milk is from Marline's Market, I don't know how high quality is is.  The only cheese I make right now is a Gouda like cheese and a simple cheese from the basic cheese recipe posted on the Fankhauser website.  I don't want anything I have to age more then 6 months because I bought veg rennet not knowing my cheese would turn bitter if I let it age too long and I am just impatient.  As for mistakes, I seem to know pretty quickly when I have done something wrong (cheese leaking, cheese really, really dry, cheese that looks more like cream cheese, and so on) if I open it up within a month or so.  Now I just have to convince my husband that it is worth it to buy $10 milk for my "weird hobby" as he calls it.

Offline linuxboy

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I bought veg rennet not knowing my cheese would turn bitter if I let it age too long
This is not necessarily true. It's not a foregone conclusion. It's just more likely than not. Plenty of good cheese is made with mucor rennet.

Marline's carries Laurie's milk (Cozy Valley in Tenino) or Pride and Joy. Both are excellent, excellent milks. Haven't been there for a while, so they might have something else. If you can afford it, use that. Or if you can, go down to Tenino and get milk directly from Laurie. She sells it for $6-$8/gal IIRC.

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Offline Luckyksc

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That is so good to know that they sell great milk before I go and spend my money on it.  How handy to have a local on this board.  ^-^  I have already learned so much just from reading posts. 


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Offline Louise

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Right now I just make cheese out of the cheap milk at the store ($2.50 gallon).

Hi & Wecome,
Im really interested how your cheese tastes  when using this milk - what other cheese is it comparable to?
Thanks
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Offline Luckyksc

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I have found that as long as I use calcium, I have no problem making cheese out of store milk.  The two that I have aged for one month have been very good.  They were like a cross between a sharper cheddar and a Gouda I guess.  I am not very good at remembering the name of cheeses I have tasted so I can't compare very well.  I just keep using Fankhauser's basic cheese recipe and tweaking it to make a softer cheese or dryer or whatever I feel like making at the moment.  Today I used store milk to make Queso Blanco with garlic and herbs.  It was crumbly and tasty on my home made sourdough.   

Offline Boofer

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Marline's carries Laurie's milk (Cozy Valley in Tenino) or Pride and Joy. Both are excellent, excellent milks. Haven't been there for a while, so they might have something else. If you can afford it, use that. Or if you can, go down to Tenino and get milk directly from Laurie. She sells it for $6-$8/gal IIRC.
Marlene's up on 38th Street. That's where I go to get my Dungeness Valley raw Jersey milk @ $9.99 per gallon. They do have Cozy Valley and each gallon jug has the name of the cow that the milk came from. I've been learning cheese making by using 1 gallon of the raw Dungeness Valley milk to 3 gallons P/H milk. That makes it a little more affordable.

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Offline dthelmers

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I've been learning cheese making by using 1 gallon of the raw Dungeness Valley milk to 3 gallons P/H milk. That makes it a little more affordable.

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Boofer,
I'm glad to hear you are having success with this method, as I'm about to try it myself. Are you getting the same character as all raw milk? Or almost? I'm hoping that the native flora in my local Jersey milk will spread to my inexpensive but decent P/H milk. Do you mix them and let them sit at all, or do you just add them all together when you're ready to make cheese?
Dave in CT
Dave in CT

Offline Boofer

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Dave, I originally got the blend suggestion from linuxboy sometime back. I don't have any personal history using all raw versus the blend, but I would imagine there would be a very significant difference.

I have done the 1-to-3 blend in about six cheeses so far. Some are still quite young...they are Beauforts, Tommes, and Goutalers, so the jury is still out. As I said, raw milk @ $10/gallon versus P/H milk @ $3.65/gallon figures quite prominently in my cheese making budget.

After my post last night I pondered going down and paying for four gallons of Dungeness Valley or Cozy Valley raw milk. It would probably shock my wife. It would shock me! I may be at the point where a $50 (4lb) wheel of cheese is not so beyond the pale. I would certainly want to be successful at all points in the make.

I really envy the folks here who have access to good quality, low-cost (or no-cost) raw milk. I'm thinking that's what I need to get my 87-year-old dad for Father's Day...a sweet-faced Jersey cow for his back yard.  ;)  Got to keep that coyote away though.  >:(

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Offline Luckyksc

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Boofer - What brand of P/H milk are you using?  My $2.50 milk is the Mount. Dairy that I get at Freds.  I have noticed that the cheaper brands tend to come from a few states closer.  I have thought about getting the Smith Bros delivered because they claim that their milk is super fresh but it is still P/H.  My husband and son also drink a lot of milk so it would be nice not to have to got to the store to get it all the time.  I have only been making one pound cheese wheels because 1- I only have so much room to age them and 2 - My high quality milk pot that I borrowed from my mom only holds a bit over one gallon of milk.  Maybe I could use 1/2 gallon of raw and P/H to mix together.  I am going to try to get down to Marline's today to get some milk.  So far my cheese has been good but never great, maybe that will make the difference.

Offline dthelmers

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Dave, I originally got the blend suggestion from linuxboy sometime back. I don't have any personal history using all raw versus the blend, but I would imagine there would be a very significant difference.

I have done the 1-to-3 blend in about six cheeses so far. Some are still quite young...they are Beauforts, Tommes, and Goutalers, so the jury is still out. As I said, raw milk @ $10/gallon versus P/H milk @ $3.65/gallon figures quite prominently in my cheese making budget.

After my post last night I pondered going down and paying for four gallons of Dungeness Valley or Cozy Valley raw milk. It would probably shock my wife. It would shock me! I may be at the point where a $50 (4lb) wheel of cheese is not so beyond the pale. I would certainly want to be successful at all points in the make.

I really envy the folks here who have access to good quality, low-cost (or no-cost) raw milk. I'm thinking that's what I need to get my 87-year-old dad for Father's Day...a sweet-faced Jersey cow for his back yard.  ;)  Got to keep that coyote away though.  >:(

-Boofer-
Boofer,
I spent the money to make a raw milk Caerphilly, so I could see the difference. I'm pretty comfortable with Caerphillys, so I wouldn't be thrown by a poor make. The Jersey milk Caerphilly was really a great cheese, worth the $7.50 lb. it cost me. It could have sold in stores for up to $12 lb; but my budget allows that range of cheese for the occasional treat, not regular consumption. I usually use $2.09 a gallon milk, and the cheese I make is easily as good as any $3.50-$4.00 lb. storebought - OK, but no better than it ought to be. Not memorable, but makes a good grilled cheese sandwich.

The raw milk cheese had me thinking about it before I got home, and I really enjoyed it. The taste was not wildly different, but had a breadth of flavor absent in the cheap cheese, and I still remember it fondly. I'm hoping to benefit from the NSLABs in the one gallon. I'll do one or two this weekend and post back to this thread when the cheese gets sampled. I made a couple of cheeses with half goats milk a couple of weeks ago, trying to stretch the expensive goat milk, and they're looking fine. One's a Caerphilly, so we'll find out soon; the other is a Montasio, so I can see how it affects aging.

Pav, if you're following this thread, any things I can do to to encourage the NSLABs in the one gallon to spread to the other three? Maybe pre-ripening for a bit with just the NSLABs before I add the starter?
Dave in CT
Dave in CT

Offline Boofer

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Boofer - What brand of P/H milk are you using?
I use Darigold from either Saar's or Albertson's. For some arbitrary reason I believe it is a little better P/H than the Costco or Fred Meyer brands or Mountain Dairy, etc. I'm probably totally offbase, especially if it's the same as what linuxboy is referring to as Dairygold.

Is there perhaps a way to know which are better brands of store-bought P/H milks?

my budget allows that range of cheese for the occasional treat, not regular consumption.
Yeah, I'm leaning in that direction. The weekend after Father's Day seems like a good time to go all in for a raw milk cheese.

Pav, if you're following this thread, any things I can do to to encourage the NSLABs in the one gallon to spread to the other three? Maybe pre-ripening for a bit with just the NSLABs before I add the starter?
That's an interesting proposition. Would you be able to develop more of the natural cultures embodied in the raw milk? I know some folks put their milk in the kettle the night before the make and then the following morning they bring up the temperature. The overnight preripening would seem to be acceptable as far as not allowing bad cultures to thrive. Would it make any significant difference?

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Offline linuxboy

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That's an interesting proposition. Would you be able to develop more of the natural cultures embodied in the raw milk? I know some folks put their milk in the kettle the night before the make and then the following morning they bring up the temperature. The overnight preripening would seem to be acceptable as far as not allowing bad cultures to thrive. Would it make any significant difference?
Your NSLABs will not grow well at meso temps. You'll be making a starter. Not a bad thing, but important to note that NSLABs are most often bacilli.

Yes, if you let it ripen overnight, it will increase whatever bacteria are in there, good and bad. If you know your raw milk to naturally have great bacteria because of terroir, then go for it. IMHO, this does not happen too often in the US. Lack of tradition means lack of selected strains that dominate.
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Offline dthelmers

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Well, I'll give it a try today with one gallon of raw milk following a make that pre-ripens at meso temp for a while and let you know how it comes out. I'm off to the farm for the milk.
Dave in CT
Dave in CT