Milk #3

Discussion in 'Forum for Polls' started by Steven2006, Oct 11, 2010.

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Which is the way you most often drink your milk?

  1. Whole Milk

    4 vote(s)
    16.7%
  2. 2%

    7 vote(s)
    29.2%
  3. Fat free

    10 vote(s)
    41.7%
  4. Organic

    2 vote(s)
    8.3%
  5. White

    7 vote(s)
    29.2%
  6. Chocolate

    3 vote(s)
    12.5%
  7. Some other flavor other than chocolate

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
Multiple votes are allowed.
  1. Steven2006

    Steven2006
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    I have always liked drinking milk. Over the years the milk has not tasted as good as it used to years ago. More so even as I have gone from whole milk to 2%, and now to fat free. A while back we switched to organic milk and what a difference in the taste! Even the fat free milk tastes very good, like milk uses to.

    What milk does everyone else enjoy?
    __________________
     
  2. Steven2006

    Steven2006
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    I think I finally got this one right!
     
  3. Steven2006

    Steven2006
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    I am bumping this one up past my two other goofs (#1 &#2)
     
  4. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    I worked for about 15 years in a major dairy operation in Wisconsin. While doing that, I hauled bulk milk, tested milk, made cheese, and produced dairy products from whey. Before I worked for the dairy, I was a dairy farmer for most of my life. I know just a little bit about milk.

    The flavor of milk has little to do with whether it is organic or not, and the term "organic" means either a little or a lot, depending on who uses it. It is not well defined in the industry. It can mean as little as the fact that some farmer abstains from using a growth hormone (most do anyway, they do not work as well as expected and add expense, time, and other issues with animal behavior) or it can mean that the entire dairy process from start to finish is done in some little home-setting, apart from a major dairy plant. I suspect that any milk product purchased in some form of store, be that a regular supermarket or a health food venue has all been processed much the same way -- for there are federal, state, and local regulations that dictate EXACTLY how any dairy product is milked from the farm, stored and shipped, processed, and sold.

    What does effect the flavor of milk is the feed. Plain and simple, what goes into a cow changes what comes out of a cow. Most people will find milk produced in the northern regions of our nation better tasting than milk produced in the southern states. That does not indicate a change in quality, but the flavor is distinctive, largely because the land is "sweet" in the north compared to the south which makes for a sweeter feed blend that later changes the flavor of the milk. I can tell the difference by picking up a gallon of milk from a northern based store chain versus a southern based store chain. Perhaps the organic milk you are buying comes from a northern area farm.

    Also, some large super farms (more rare than one might think) have come up with some weird concoctions for feeding milking cows. I'll not say all of what they use for feed, but simply that I do not prefer the flavor of their products. It is not unhealthy for human or cow, but it would not be my own first choice for cattle feed.

    About the processing of dairy products, including milk. The process is the same (as regulated by law) in all cases, whether the end product is milk, cheese, yogurt, sour cream, dairy products, etc.

    Milk is picked up from dairy farms that are regulated by the State and Federal government. Inspectors pop in and inspect the dairy farms on a regular basis, and compliance is mandated, with a license to produce milk granted if inspection is passed. Almost every aspect having to do with the production of milk is inspected, from the cleanliness of the barn, to feeding areas, to the milk production equipment, to the room where all that happens. Additionally, when the bulk hauler comes to take the milk to the plant, he or she will stir the milk for a set time (5 minutes or more depending on volume in the tank), measure temperature, take samples in vials for testing (tests include water, adulteration of foreign substances, antibiotics, and white cells, plus other specialized tests in some cases), then smell and inspect the milk and tank before hooking up and pumping into a sanitary truck-mounted tank.

    When the trucks arrive at the dairy plant, they are first hosed down to remove road dust and debris, then sampled and tested before the receiving line is hooked up. No truck will be allowed to unload unless or until the milk is tested for contaminants. If something is found, individual samples from the farms are processed (they are processed anyway, as the quality of the milk determines the price paid to the farmer!) and if there is a guilty party involved, they earn the right to purchase the entire tanker load! If they violate the second time within 6 months, they are shut off from the market. Yes, the milk supply is very carefully regulated -- more so than most people know.

    The milk is unloaded into fresh silos or tanks at the dairy plant. by law, the milk must be picked up from the farm within 48 hours of production (where it is cooled and stored) then used by the processing plant within another 24 hours.

    Literally every drop of milk is pasteurized in some form or fashion. Typically, that means that the milk is quick-heated to a certain temperature that kills off the viruses and other bad stuff that can multiply rapidly in an almost perfect growing medium like milk. Once heated, it is almost immediately re-cooled to about 38* F. In some cases, the milk is also ultra-pasteurized (very rapidly and very briefly heated to an even higher temp, and cooled rapidly) which gives the product a very long shelf life. The ultra process is costly, which is why most dairy products use the tried and true regular means.

    The milk is heated in carefully controlled plate heaters (sort of like a big radiator, where hot water or steam is on one side of a coil and milk on the other) and cooled in like fashion. All of this is VERY carefully controlled and recorded onto federally-calibrated charts, which must be run and kept for every drop of dairy product produced. This is the first stage of any dairy production.

    From the pasteurizer, the milk typically enters a separator, which pulls out the butterfat from the milk (also called "cream"). It goes to a separate tank, and is re-blended (for consistency and desired product) as needed. Whole milk is technically considered 3.5% fat, 2% 1% are what they are, skim or fat free milk exit the separator with no further re-blending of cream. Milk as picked up from farmers can run a range of 1.5% to over 5% fat, which is why a precise blend is sought. Excess cream is sold for production to butter and other cream-based products. Once the milk is cooled and re-blended, if for bottling, vitamin D is added (about a couple drops per gallon) -- and that is the ONLY thing that is ever (EVER) added to a true milk product. No water, no other substances, etc., unless clearly marked on the label, and called something other than "milk" The product then goes through a homogenizer machine, which is a set of pistons that pound the molecules of the milk back together to halt the separation of the cream (like old-fashioned bottled milk).

    It is then bottled in sanitary machinery, capped, and moved to market.

    If a cheese or other dairy product is desired, the blended homogenized milk then heads into the dairy plant for further processing. For cheese, the milk enters a vat of some sort, either open-top (old fashioned technique, still used widely even in huge operations) or closed top (more automated process) where the milk is heated, a "culture" is introduced (carefully guarded family secret formula of certain bacteria that give cheese its distinctive flavor) and left to cook for a predetermined length of time (generally 30 minutes or so). At that time, some setting agent is added to curdle the milk. That can be acid-based (cheese that tastes "tangy"), basic based (cheese that tastes "bitter") or rennet (cheese that tastes amazing!) Anything that sets the milk to curds can be used, but the ingredients will change the flavor and consistency of the cheese, as well as the final cost.

    The curd is cut to the proper size, typically 1/4" squares, but different based on the type, pressed into some form of molding pan to give it a shape, then pressed to extract the remaining whey (used elsewhere for other products). Once pressed into a block, the blocks are brined into salt water for some length of time depending on the particular type of cheese, then set on shelves, salted, and left to age anywhere from a week or less (fresh, soft cheeses like Mozzarella) to as much as a decade or more (specialty hard cheddars).

    Whey products are further refined into other dairy ingredients. Sugars are extracted via reverse osmosis, crystallized, dried, and ground into lactose sugar, which is used in many packaged foods, infant formulas, and medicines (binding drugs into pills). Proteins are reduced to a high solids concentrate and spay dried into powder, which is then used in a ton of ingredient applications. A bright new product is a dairy protein powder that is set with a yogurt-like culture, that makes a pure protein fat replacer that looks and acts just like sour cream. The new product works awesome in ice cream and is available now in certain fat-free ice cream products.



    This is probably more than anyone asked for, but I see so much mis-information about dairy products that I like to share the real story.

    Oh, and with what I know, I don't go out of my way (or pay the price) for organic milk. Nothing really to be gained, and at times, organic farms are less clean and produce less safe milk than farms that take care of business! I've seen them all, and there is something to be said for keeping flies out of the milking system, even if it requires some pesticide. :thumbs:
     
  5. Steven2006

    Steven2006
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    On the contrary, I found it interesting. Thanks for posting.

    I can only go by the taste, and as you suggest it could be other factors, but it is by far worth the extra cost to be able to enjoy the taste of milk again.

    For what it is worth I have tried numerous brands that weren't organic and they all have tasted lousy, and the couple of variety of organic have all tasted much better, not even close.
     
  6. mcdirector

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    I had no idea there was so much to know about dairy! Thanks for the info glfredrick.

    I'm not a milk fan. I will put fruit juice on cereal before putting milk on it. BUT I do like a little cream in my coffee and I love cheeses.
     
  7. Gwyneth

    Gwyneth
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    thank you glfredrick, I found that very interesting and most informative.:thumbs: My family lived "next door", or next field to a dairy farm, and we grew up drinking lots of milk. We would walk to the farm with a jug and the farmer would sell it to us .................. straight out of the cow.
     
    #7 Gwyneth, Oct 11, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 11, 2010
  8. Alcott

    Alcott
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    There is no option for me in the poll-- I don't drink milk. So, what DO I do with milk, you may ask? I usually have a can of evapromotated milk if I need any for receipes; half canned milk + half water is about equal to whole milk, but I also cut the amount anyway. I also use a little of that for baked or boiled potatoes, as I can't stand butter.

    So with apologies to Elsie, I am not much of a dairy fan... except for ice cream, which I try to strictly limit gluttonizing myself with.
     
  9. Baptist Believer

    Baptist Believer
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    I'm a Baptist, I don't drink white milk as a beverage. :saint:

    Actually, I was allergic to it as a child, so I drank the old-school nasty and oily soy milk from the cans (the kind that required the triangle-punch can opener).

    Today, I drink organic 1% chocolate milk as a beverage, and cook with organic 2% lactose-free white milk for dishes we consume in our home. (My wife is lactose-intolerant.)

    When I eat cereal, I use the same organic 2% I cook with, or sometimes organic whole milk (preferred) if I happen to have it on hand. I like using organic whole milk when cooking for people outside our home or for the annual men's cookoff at church.

    Regarding dairy products, if you've never used Irish butter on hot bread, you're missing out! I keep some Irish butter in the fridge for breads, pancakes/waffles, and other butter-notable foods. Amazing!
     
  10. Amy.G

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    I really enjoyed learning about milk and dairy production. Thanks!

    I love milk. 2% is my fav. Skim milk is just water that has had a milk carton waved over it. :laugh:

    Brands around here definitely make a difference. The most expensive is...yes.. the best.
     
  11. SaggyWoman

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    I prefer skim and have preferred it since I was in my young 20's. I am provided with 2 percent where I work, so occasionally I drink it, but feel it is very "rich" in fat.
     
  12. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
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    1% (not an option on the poll) and mix in smoothie power drink in the a.m.

    On a diet where dairy is prohibited (and carbs for 3 more weeks) and truly miss my even bowl of cereal.

    I pastored 14 years in 2 small Wisconsin dairy communities. We got our milk from the coolers at farms in glass gallon bottles. Let the cream separate and our kids loved that raw farm milk.

    I got fat.
     
  13. Jon-Marc

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    I buy the powered fat-free milk--mostly because it can be kept a lot longer than regular milk without spoiling, and I don't have to go to the store as often. I use extra milk powder to give it more taste, and powdered milk has improved considerably in taste since I was a boy. Powdered milk back in the 1950's was barely fit to drink. I don't think I save much money that way, but it is much more convenient. I buy the 64-oz box, although I use about three of them per month. I use it for baking as well as drinking. When I was buying the gallon bottles of milk, a gallon would only last about 2 days.
     
  14. glfredrick

    glfredrick
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    Skim milk is completely the same product as whole or 2% milk minus the cream. Cream (fat) is what gives the richness and flavor!



    Glad that I could share a bit about milk and dairy production.
     
  15. TC

    TC
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    I mostly drink skim milk now. I have a glass almost every night before going to bed.
     
  16. Steven2006

    Steven2006
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    LOL, that is how I felt, but now that we started drinking organic milk, the fat free tastes even more like real milk than the 2% non-organic did. You should give it a try. (Kroger has it) Healthy and good yum!
     
  17. Amy.G

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    I'll have to check that out. I shop weekly at Kroger...or biweekly....or every other day....:laugh:
     

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