I’m often asked, “What’s the best milk for home-cheesemaking”? Of course, as you might suspect, the fresher the better, so if at all possible, get yourself a goat or a cow! Next best thing? Find a friend with a goat or a cow. But if those aren’t realistic options for you, have no fear. There are many other excellent, good and/or adequate options for milk that will work just fine for your home-cheesemaking adventures.
Here are a few of my favorite milks:
1. Farm-fresh Raw Milk (which you can pasteurize yourself, if desired): Although it is technically illegal to buy and sell raw milk in Colorado, you can join a raw milk CSA (also known as the herd share program) to get raw milk locally. Visit www.rawmilkcolorado.org to find a herd share program near you. Some of our local favorites are Sky Pilot Farm in Longmont and Wimo Farms and Simply Natural Dairy, both in Berthoud.
2. Local Dairies: Here in the Longmont/Ft. Collins area, we have several excellent sources for locally produced milk.
- Morning Fresh Dairy in Bellevue – Their cream-top whole milk is my favorite. Get it directly from the dairy or at Whole Foods in Boulder.
- Longmont Dairy in Longmont – They currently don’t have a cream-top milk but we’re working on them! They do offer home delivery of their fresh local milks and they also are available at Your Butcher, Frank in Longmont.
3. Grocery Store Organic Milks: Many organic milks are ultra-pasteurized which are the kiss of death for cheese making! Here are a couple of organic milks that are pasteurized at reasonable temperatures and so work well for home-cheesemaking:
- King Sooper’s store brand of organic milk
- Trader Joe’s organic milk
4. Grocery Store Non-organic milks: While ultra-pasteurized milk is definitely a no-no, many commercial brands that are not ultra-pasteurized are still heated too high to work well for cheese making. Here are a few brands that I have had good luck with:
- Trader Joe’s regular milk
- Meadowgold whole milk
5. Goat’s Milk: While having access to your own goat is ideal, we are lucky to have several good local sources of goat’s milk that may be easier for you to come by. In addition to the raw milk CSA route above, you can also try:
- Summerhill Dairy Goat’s milk available at Trader Joe’s
- Mini Moos and Kids Too Goat’s milk at Longmont Farmer’s Market
6. Sheep’s Milk: We are so lucky to have an excellent source of high quality dairy sheep’s milk right here in Longmont at Sky Pilot Farm & Creamery. This deliciously sweet milk is very high in butterfat so produces amazing yields and is best known for using in cheeses like Manchego and Sheep’s milk ricotta.
If you have any other great suggestions for good milks for cheese making, please let me know!
posted by Kate Johnson