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Milk Madness - A Feast of Facts Covering the Merits of Different Milk Types

National Milk Day annually commemorates the first day in American history when milk delivery in sterilized bottles began back on January 11, 1878. As all food connoisseurs know, the quality of a product is only as good as its ingredients. The many milks used in cheesemaking are no exception. What better time to showcase the best of breeds! In addition to providing essential vitamins and nutrients, milk also makes it possible to enjoy countless thousands of delightful dairy products as varied as the varieties themselves. To honor the awesomeness that is milk we’ve put together a feast of facts comparing the major types of milk used in cheesemaking for your educational and eating enjoyment.

Milk is a powerful source of nutrition and energy with massive health benefits:

  • Iron improves circulation

  • Vitamins A and C boost immunity

  • Protein aids healthy cell growth and development

  • Calcium builds bone density

  • B vitamins regulate metabolism and balance hormones

  • Vitamin E improves skin health

  • Omega-3 fatty acids improve heart health

  • High potassium regulates blood pressure

What's the deal with lactose?

Lactose is the natural sugar found in milk. And, simply put, being lactose-intolerant means one can't digest it. Lactose intolerance is different and easier to work around than a milk allergy. Those with dairy-based digestive issues and/or lactose intolerance exist on a spectrum with levels varying as greatly from person to person as the natural amounts of lactose found in different animals’ milks (along with the many products made from each kind or even a mix of them). Logic may lead one to believe that all milk or milk-based products are therefore forever off the table for such a person. Yet

with a bit of knowledge, courage, and, perhaps, some tightly-portioned home trials even the most severely afflicted may come to find a dazzling array of milk-made options naturally containing no or very low lactose.

How is this possible? Through the magic of coagulation during cheesemaking is how! As milk transforms into curds and whey, lactose nearly disappears through a natural conversion into lactic acid, except for small amounts mainly found in the whey. Cheesemakers largely do ‘away with the whey’ at a point in their process and the lactose along with it.

Additionally, any cheese style made from the start with a lower lactose milk type such as sheep or goat becomes more easily digestible across the board than their cow-based counterparts including Brie, washed rinds, and other soft cheeses. So, yes! The involuntarily milk averse have a great chance to still enjoy baked Brie and spreadable cheese with ease from the right source.

Still craving cow cheeses? No problem. The lactose level is not only effected by the type of milk used but also by the style being made with determining factors such as curd size, curd treatment, and cheese aging time playing key roles. Cheese styles requiring cutting or milling of curds into tiny pieces that get repacked and pressed into blocks and wheels release the most liquid and are therefore naturally firmer and lower in moisture. These dense, drier cheeses made from cows’ milk lack lactose completely.

Can't choose a cheese? Below are some of our favorite cheeses from different milk sources.

Buffalo's Milk - Mozzarella di Bufala DOP

Mozzarella di Bufala DOP cheese

Tasteless, supermarket cow's milk mozzarella has nothing on Mozzarella di Bufala DOP! This very soft, compact and elastic cheese has a fresh taste with distinctive traces of buffalo milk. Delicious on its own or on a homemade pizza.

Cow's Milk - Mifroma Cavern Le Gruyère AOP

Like classic Le Gruyère AOP, Mifroma Cavern Le Gruyère AOP is produced according to AOP guidelines that date back to 1115. Cavern Le Gruyère AOP is crafted using only the finest raw milk from grass-fed cows. The result is a full-bodied cheese distinguished from its milder variants by a distinctive crystalline crunch. Plus, it is naturally lactose-free!

Sheep's Milk - Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper

"Lamb Chopper has a buttery color, smooth texture, and is mild on the palate, but don’t equate “mild” with “lack of complexity” — this is a nutty, subtly sweet cheese that’s semi-firm and meltable, thanks to the higher fat in sheep milk. Aged three months, Lamb Chopper® is a real crowd pleaser" (Source). All Cypress Grove cheeses, including Lamb Chopper, contain less than 1 gram of lactose per 1 ounce serving.

Goat's Milk - Honey Bee Goat Cheese

Honey Bee Goat cheese is truly one of a kind. "Made with a drizzle of honey added to pure goat milk for a cashew-like nutty sweetness. Slightly sweet, full of flavor, yet not strong or salty. Easy to slice, grate or cube, wonderful in salads or as a snack with fruit" (Source).


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