hat is Raw Milk?

Raw milk is milk that comes fresh from the animal without any type of heat treatment. Heat treatment of the milk, which is otherwise known as pasteurisation, is done to kill any potential pathogenic bacteria that might be lurking in the milk.

In Australia, pasteurisation is a legal requirement and was introduced to help stop the spread of listeriosis, typhoid fever, tuberculosis, diphtheria and brucellosis. Does that mean raw milk is inherently bad for you? Not necessarily, but it’s something to keep in mind.

 Using Raw Milk for Cheese Making: The Pros

  • More flavour: Pasteurisation kills off some of the enzymes and live bacteria that help produce a more flavourful cheese.

  • Fresher Milk: Generally raw milk is sold much sooner after milking the animal meaning a stronger curd and higher yield.

Using Raw Milk for Cheese Making: The Cons

  • Potential Risks: While many people consume raw milk with no issues, there are risks associated with unpasteurized milk as mentioned above. It’s important to know where the milk has come from, and whether the cows are disease-free.

  • Availability: Raw milk is not always widely available, and may require some effort to acquire.

  • High beneficial bacteria count: Raw milk that hasn’t been adequately cooled after milking, or milk that is a few days old, can have a high bacterial count producing “off” flavours in the cheese.

Using Pasteurised Milk for Cheese Making: The Pros

  • Pathogen free: During pasteurisation any potential pathogenic bacteria are killed, ensuring it’s perfectly safe for human consumption.

  • Less bacteria: Less bacteria in the milk means less competition for the cheese culture you introduce, leading to a smoother, more consistent flavour.

  • Availability: Pasteurised milk is widely available for everyone.

Using Pasteurised Milk for Cheese Making: The Cons 

  • Less flavour: As mentioned above, pasteurization kills off enzymes and bacteria (the good and the bad), leading to a less flavourful cheese.

  • Pasteurisation inconsistencies: There is no one standard way to pasteurize milk, which means inconsistencies in your milk and cheese making. The higher the pasteurization temperature, the more fragile and soft your cheese will be – resulting in a lower yield.

How to Pasteurise Raw Milk at Home

Method 1 (our preferred method):

  • Heat the milk to 63°C (145°F) and hold for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes cool the milk as quickly as possible in the fridge.

Method 2:

  • Heat the milk to 71°C (161°F) and hold for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes cool the milk as quickly s possible in the fridge.