Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Raw Milk Question

I'm actively engaged in my cheesemaking education.  This is an endlessly fascinating subject, and will certainly be the focus of a number of posts in the future.  However, I'm running into questions about what kind of milk to use (and I don't mean sheep vs. goat vs. cow milk).

The most common question is, "Should I use raw milk to make my cheese?"

Ideally, raw milk is the very best raw material for cheesemaking.  However, unless you have your own dairy animals, getting raw milk isn't as easy as it sounds.  In fact, it has become something of an underground movement because the government has stepped in to regulate the dairy industry to keep our milk supplies safe for overall consumption.

Unfortunately, the government may not have taken everything into consideration.  They believe that pasteurization and homogenization will make our milk supply safer.  Proponents of raw milk consumption maintain that the very act of drinking raw milk makes each individual more able to withstand disease and illness.

David E. Gumpert wrote The Raw Milk Revolution, shown here, that looks deeply into the issue of total control over our food supplies.  Are we really ready to give up all our freedoms in this way?  I didn't realize how important and critical an issue this was until I started into my cheesemaking foray.

We'll handle questions about your best milk source for your cheesemaking endeavors.  Briefly, you can make cheese out of milk you buy in the grocery store.  However, if you have the opportunity, you may want to try raw milk cheese, following all safe food preparation techniques.

I don't want to overshadow our cheesemaking adventures with this debate, but I can't, in good conscience, completely ignore the issue.

I am wondering if I can convince my homeowner's association that two dairy goats really are "pets"...I'm not holding out much hope.  I might just have to move to a different neighborhood!

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