If you are lucky enough to own cows of your own, then you are only a couple of steps away from enjoying fresh milk and homemade cheese at home. Finest Kind provides you with some things to keep in mind to obtain the best-quality milk possible.
Your cows need to be healthy! Get them checked regularly by a vet for TB, Brucellosis, and mastitis. Once your cows are healthy and ready for milking, you need to decide whether to hand-milk or machine-milk.
If you are going to hand-milk, clean everything that will come into contact with the milk, including your hands! First, wash everything with a strong detergent and then sterilize in 5ml/L sodium hypochlorite (Jik). Wash your cow’s udder with warm water, then dry each teat individually with a different paper towel. Finally, check for mastitis.
If you are going to machine-milk, follow the cleaning instructions that came with the machine. Regularly check connections and rubbers. Clean udders and check for mastitis.
The next step is pasteurization. Heat the milk to 65°C for 30 minutes or 72°C for 15 seconds to kill off unwanted bacteria.
If you are wanting to make your own cheese, the best thing you can do is use your own milk from your own cows. However, if you are going to buy milk from an external source to make your cheese, keep the following in mind:
- Check the milking conditions of the farmer
- Check that the udders are well cleaned before milking
- Check that the cows have been tested for TB and brucellosis
- Check that the farmer tests for mastitis before milking
- Check that the farmer has no detergents in the milk from cleaning his equipment
- Check that there are no cows on antibiotics being milked
- Check that the farmer is not adding water to the milk
- Test the milk as per above S.A.I.M.R. standards milk on a regular basis
- Pasteurize the milk or at least add potassium nitrate to the milk at 12gram/100L
Finally, if you want to make cheese from raw milk (unpasteurized), add 12 grams of potassium nitrate per 100 litres of milk to retard the growth of Coli and Butyric acid bacteria. The ‘bad’ bacteria feed on the potassium nitrate, while the ‘good’ bacteria eat all the lactose, meaning there is less lactose for the ‘bad’ bacteria and they cannot multiply.
Making your own high-quality milk and cheese is an incredibly rewarding experience. Visit Finest Kind for cheese, yoghurt, and butter making kits. You can also visit the FAQ page if you need any further tips on your dairy adventures.