Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Milk Rantings-Pasteurization Gone Wrong

Not that I'm a cynic (okay perhaps I am a bit of a cynic) but apparently the capitalist model has proven a detriment to my health and my milk enjoyment.

The trend among large dairy producers is to over pasteurize milk.  Why do this you ask? For the one and only reason that it increases shelf life. It doesn't provide any enhanced protection from pathogens, it just allows grocers to keep it longer before spoiling.

The problem with over pasteurization (known as ultrapasteurization) is that the process and the excessive heat kills the milk. Dead milk won't produce cheese. All organisms in the milk are destroyed leaving the protein structures damaged. Damage proteins mean failed cheese attempts.

Another problem with over pasteurization is that there is no law that mandates labeling milk as so. Most milk is merely labeled "pasteurized" with the prefix "ultra" deceitfully missing.  You will not realize that the milk has been damaged until you attempt a cheese recipe.  This can result in costly and frustrating receipe testing.

Avoid over pasteurized milk like the plague. Ask your local supermarket to provide an alternative to such a nasty creation. Buy locally. Call dairy farms and ask about their pasteurization processes.  I just contacted a regional producer of goat's milk and they informed me that they do not over pasteurize but the milk is just pasteurized. Guess who's going out and buying a few gallons of their milk? Absolutely, me.

In the words of the lovely Ricki Carroll on over pasteurized milk, "It doesn't even taste good...If all else fails, buy a cow, a few sheep, some goats."  Thank you Ricki, I intend to.

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