For people who know how to work their way through the kitchen, choosing the ingredients is crucial in making a dish.
In making cheese, perhaps the most important ingredient to consider is milk. The type of dairy used in producing cheese can affect its overall texture and flavor.
For this article, we will talk about the 11 types of milk that can be used to make cheese.
11 Types of Milk That Can Be Used for Cheese
Below is the list of milk types that you can use to make cheese.
1. Almond Milk
Almond milk makes a great choice for those who are looking for a vegan, dairy-free, and lactose-free substitution for regular cheese.
While you can make cheese out of almond milk, its taste won’t be similar to cheese made from animal milk. Typically, cheese made from almond milk is quite sweet, creamy, and sharp in flavor.
Once made, you can use almond cheese the same way you would use a regular cheese—spread it on crackers or bread, toss it on your salad, or use it to make a healthy vegan sandwich.
2. Alpaca and Llama Milk
Although alpacas and llamas can be harder to milk compared to cows, sheep, and goats, the milk they produce is rich and fatty enough to make a delicious cheese. The cheese made from these animals’ milk is salty, delectable, and can be stored for a long time.
3. Buffalo Milk
Buffalo milk is a rare type of milk, but it is still used in certain kinds of cheese, including Italian buffalo mozzarella, paneer, Braila, Khoa, Kesong Puti, and Scamorza.
Compared to cow’s milk, buffalo’s milk has higher amounts of fat but lower amounts of cholesterol, making it a perfect choice for semi-soft and soft cheeses.
4. Chocolate Milk
If you’re looking for something more interesting and unique, why not try chocolate milk? While it may sound strange, making cheese out of chocolate milk is certainly doable.
To make it, you will need chocolate milk that is of good quality. The best cheeses made out of chocolate milk are firm cheeses that are mild in cheese flavor, which allows the chocolate hints to come out.
There are also some people who have tried making cheese using chocolate powder, and the result was successful.
However, keep in mind that not all people fancy the taste of chocolate milk cheese. Therefore, in order not to waste time and ingredients, it is better to make it in small batches first.
5. Cow Milk
Cow’s milk is the most common type of dairy that is used in making cheese. It is about 87% water, and the fat content is around 3.5% to 5%.
Cow’s milk is easily available in grocery stores, supermarkets, or farms. Its high-fat content is perfect for making several types of cheese, including cheddar, parmesan, Swiss, Gouda, Camembert, and Muenster.
6. Goat Milk
When it comes to the amount of fat, goat’s milk is similar to cow’s milk. However, the former contains more fatty acids than the latter, which enables goat cheese to have a tart flavor.
Some of the cheeses that can be made from goat’s milk include pyramid cheese, Bûcheron, Montrachet, Garrotxa, Crottin de Chavignol, and Caprino.
In general, goat’s milk is a better option for those that are suffering from lactose intolerance because it is easier to digest compared to other dairy types.
7. Pasteurized Milk
Pasteurized milk is not only cheaper in price than raw milk, but it is also widely available in local supermarkets and grocery stores.
However, ultra-pasteurized milk (UHT) cannot be used in making cheese, but we’ll talk about it later in this article. So you have to be careful when selecting pasteurized milk because UHT can also be found in many grocery stores.
While you can make a good cheese out of pasteurized milk, it will not be as flavorful as those cheeses made from raw milk.
Aside from that, there is another risk to using pasteurized milk. In the mid-1980s, there was the largest outbreak of dairy-related foodborne illness caused by improperly pasteurized milk. About 20,000 people became sick from salmonella.
Therefore, the quality of the pasteurization process is one of the most important things you have to consider when using this type of milk.
8. Powdered Milk
While it is completely possible, making cheese out of powdered milk can be quite a challenging task. So, with that said, making cheese out of powdered milk is not for beginners.
The best type of powdered milk to use in cheesemaking is low-heat treated. The problem is, this type of milk is not always available in supermarkets and grocery stores.
Moreover, while the cheese made from whole milk powder has the same texture and taste as regular cheese, there’s a higher chance that it will be crumbly or grainy in texture. Therefore, it will take some trial and error until you can successfully make a smooth cheese out of powdered milk.
Some cheeses you can make using milk powder include feta, ricotta, and cream cheese.
9. Sheep Milk
Sheep’s milk has higher fat content compared to other types of milk. On average, it contains 82% water and 6.75% fat, which means that the cheese made from this milk contains more lactose and minerals.
Moreover, its high-fat content makes it ideal for cheese production instead of drinking.
Cheese made from sheep’s milk is golden in appearance and creamier in texture. Feta, Serra da estela, pecorino romano, ricotta, Roquefort, manchego, casu marzu, halloumi, ossau-Iraty, and idiazábal are just some of the cheeses that you can make from sheep’s milk.
10. Soy Milk
Aside from almond milk, another great option for vegans is soy milk. Some of the cheeses you can make from soy milk include ricotta, quark, and yogurt cheese.
11. Store-bought Milk
There are different types of milk available in your local store, from whole milk to skim milk.
While you can use all the types to make cheese, keep in mind that whole milk will yield a higher amount due to the butterfat it contains. Meanwhile, cheese made from skim milk tends to be drier and yields a lower amount of cheese.
You also have to take note that there are differences when making cheese with raw milk versus store-bought milk. You’ll need to add calcium chloride to replace the calcium lost during the store-bought milk’s pasteurization process.
Another thing to remember is that after adding the rennet, you should let the milk sit for 5 to 10 minutes longer to enable the curds to properly form.
What Type of Milk Can’t Be Used for Making Cheese?
Almost all types of whole raw milk can be used to make cheese. However, there are certain types of milk that you should not use in making cheese.
1. Ultra-pasteurized Milk
As mentioned earlier, you should never use ultra-pasteurized (UHT) milk in making cheese. This is because this type of milk has been processed under very high heat, causing bacteria and enzymes to be completely destroyed, which are some of the essential elements in making cheese.
Moreover, the proteins have been destabilized, which means that there will not be enough calcium to create a good curd.
2. Sour Milk
If your milk has already curdled up and starts to smell sour or rancid, throw it away instead of making cheese out of it.
This is because it can be tricky to determine if there are already bad bacteria present in the sour milk. It is better to manage the number of bacteria through the use of cheese-making cultures.
The Importance of Choosing Milk in Making Cheese
While the process of making cheese varies, the type of milk is one of the most important factors you need to consider when making cheese because it determines the final cheese’s flavor and texture.
It is important to consider what type of animal the milk is extracted from, the season and location of the milking, and the general health of the animal.
As an example, if you’re trying to make soft-type cheeses, you should go for goat’s milk instead of cow’s milk because the former contains more water compared to the latter.
Making cheese should be a fun and safe activity. Therefore, having enough knowledge and supervision from experienced cheesemakers, especially if you are a beginner, is crucial before making your own cheese.
Cheesemaking should be taken seriously, as little mistakes may lead to illnesses, just like what was mentioned with pasteurized milk.
Start with easy-to-make cheese in small batches. If you are able to successfully make your own homemade cheese, you can try and experiment with other types of milk that can be tricky to use in order to boost your skills.