Raw milk . . . who's on board?

I am considering a raw milk herd share . . . anyone have any thoughts on raw milk (benefits, taste, recipes, etc.)



iuzzini May 14, 2011
Thanks for all of your comments! I met my dairy farmer today, asked about his practices, and he offered me a 1/2 gallon to sample. Delish. :) Definitely not an acquired taste. I think those who tasted some that was sour tasting, might have sampled sour raw milk. :/ Anyway, he said only 1 person (he has 160 people doing herd shares on his farm) has reported getting sick since he started this business 5 years ago (and it kind of seems unlikely that this person got sick from the milk if no one else did). I think that the nutritional benefits of grass-fed organic raw milk will outweigh the risk (or at least I hope so). Also, I am intolerant of pasturized milk and apparently, I am not intolerant of raw milk!! Looking forward to having dairy back in my life. :)
lbcashmanRD May 13, 2011
whoa. this is clearly a polarizing issue. I posted the FDA guidelines because they clearly articulate the risks. In particular, listeria which can cause miscarriages, so those who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant must be aware. I think anyone should be able to eat whatever they want, as long as they are informed - I eat runny eggs and rare meats and know I'm taking a risk of getting sick. I will say that though the number of reported illnesses from raw milk seems small, the population who consume it is also probably very small.
sarah K. May 13, 2011
Innoabrd, yes, you are right. I'm certainly glad for the biases that protect the public as a whole, and glad when those prevent or diminish the chance of illness in people. In the raw milk case, I'm referring to the terminology on the website (not the science ;), which is very dramatic and shows no room for the possibility of any raw milk not being contaminated. I've read so many websites for and against, and they all use inflammatory language to further their agenda. I do believe that the extreme bias in this case can work for the good of the raw milk community, in that it will keep those dairy farmers honest when it comes to sanitation.

In my own experience, and that of the people in my community who also source their milk from the same farm, there is no history of illness. We do sign a document and promise not to share our milk with others, especially children, without explicit consent. I don't consider myself an outlier when it comes to milk, I just find that this milk is the highest quality milk available to me.
innoabrd May 13, 2011
The FDA might have a bias, but it is based on...actual science.

You are free to make decisions about the risks you place your family in, and don't get me wrong, we do all make choices about risks affecting our families, but my point is that you should not expose others unknowingly to raw milk or raw milk products. This is particularly important in the case of pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.
sarah K. May 13, 2011
And if you want the other side of the argument, http://www.realmilk.com/. I'm in no mood for an argument, but I've been getting beautiful, clean raw milk for over a year now. I give it to my 3 kids. None of us has gotten remotely sick from it (and I'll point out that 800 people over 14 years is a very small sample of people, and since milk is not likely the only thing they were consuming, there is a chance they got sick from other sources. The FDA really, really doesn't like raw milk, and shows a strong bias.).
innoabrd May 13, 2011
Just be careful. ie. don't give any to your pregnant friends. pasteurization actually saves lives. There are risks involved in raw milk. As poster above says, make sure you understand those risks...and don't expose others to them without their knowledge.
lbcashmanRD May 12, 2011
If you decide to use raw milk, make sure you know the real risks:
sarah K. May 12, 2011
I have a herdshare, and get 2 gallons per week. That's enough for my family of 5, especially since it ends up costing about $8 per gallon. I can also get butter, cream cottage cheese, or yogurt in place of one of the gallons, but I make yogurt sometimes, and it's cheaper.

I have to say that the experience of other commenters (boulangere, wink wink) of tasting baby spit-up can only be explained by sour, not fresh milk. Even if it's gone a little sour (not the same as when pasteurized milk goes bad), it would taste yucky like that. If it's refrigerated rapidly and soon after milking, this should never be a problem, and it should keep for up to 2 weeks without a noticeable taste in flavor.

To which I say, when we first tasted our grass-fed, organic milk, the only thing I could say was that it tasted remarkably like flowers. Sweet, mild, fresh. It arrives at our house the day after milking, and is labeled with the milking date on post-it notes. Another huge benefit (above the perceived health benefits) is that I get it in glass Mason jars that I take back every week. No plastic jugs to throw away.

I've been to the farm where my cows live (herdshare= part ownership of said herd), and met the cows. There are 8. I can't remember their names. They are happy, clean, and loved.

We love our raw milk.
cookbookchick May 12, 2011
You are probably tasting more of what the cows are eating. Back in the day, when dairies were local, you could taste that in store-bought milk, as well. In the spring, in the Washington DC/MD/VA region where I grew up, wild onions are among the first plants to shoot up. I remember the oniony taste of spring milk and this was pasteurized milk from the grocery store. When my kids were young, we lived across the road from a working dairy farm in Upstate NY. I left our milk can in the milk house in the evening, got raw milk fresh off the cow in the morning, a thick layer of cream on top. Honestly, there was no need for acquiring a taste for it -- the flavor was pretty much the same as pasteurized grocery store milk, just fresher. Now goat milk is a different story -- to me that is an acquired taste!
MarthaP May 12, 2011
Definitely taste the milk. A friend does a share and the milk she gets was not hugely different from good organic whole (not ultra-pasteurized) milk. Health benefits are supposed to be from the fact that it is "live" - the argument being that pasteurizing kills all the good stuff.
See http://www.raw-milk-facts.com/raw_milk_health_benefits.html
Lots of controversy on this, though!
seabirdskitchen May 12, 2011
I agree it is an acquired taste. I acquired it as a child and still love it. Madame however didn't and doesn't. However when we cook with it there is night and day difference. Bechamel, for example is much more luscious. Souffles, tender and light, with great flavor depth.
Interestingly, I don't care so much for the quark and yogurt I make from it. For those I prefer less fat in the milk. I admit I haven't tried skimming raw milk as a yogurt base.
Delicious custards. Custards can be overly egg made with "normal" milk. With whole milk, custards seem better balanced. However if you have been using fewer egg yolks than whites in your "normal" milk custard, you will want to rethink those ratios.
Bottom line for me. Use it for special dishes.
SKK May 12, 2011
This whole raw milk conversation is a mystery to me. Spent summers on my grandparents farms. Hand milked cows. We are all still alive and healthy. If you know the source of the milk and know the herd is taken care of and healthy go for it.
Sam1148 May 12, 2011
You can use it to makes cheeses, yogurt, etc.
boulangere May 11, 2011
And at that I was being kind, sdebrango. I totally agree with "acquired taste." Like Scotch. And give me Scotch any day.
sdebrango May 11, 2011
I have to agree with boulangere, maybe its a acquired taste but I am perfectly happy with the pasteurized stuff I get from the supermarket. Have to be honest, never tried cooking or baking with it. Have a friend who swears by it, not my cup of tea.
Ha, baby and towel over shoulder!!!
boulangere May 11, 2011
I've got to be honest. The one time I tasted it, it was like drinking . . . think babies, towel over your shoulder.
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