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Jun 10, 2006 01:32 AM

Ultrapasteurized Organic Whole Milk

  • d

I bought some ultrapasteurized Organic Valley whole milk at Whole Foods. It came in a 1/2 gallon carton with one of those screw-top openings like orange juice often has. The sell by date was over a month later than the date I bought the milk.

I really liked this product. I only use whole milk in my coffee or for the occasional recipe that requires it, and I have struggled with freshness issues. I've dumped more milk than I'd care to admit. I was able to use up the entire 1/2 gallon and the last drops tasted as good as the first.

I try to stay away from ultrapasteurized heavy cream when I'm using it for whipped cream or other purposes where you can discern the difference, but is there any reason to avoid ultrapasteurized organic milk?

For L.A. dwellers, where else besides Whole Foods can I get this milk? My local Gelsons in Sherman Oaks has more Organic Valley products now than ever before, but they don't carry the ultrapasteurized whole milk. I haven't talked to the management there about this but I could.

Disclosure: I am partial in any event to Organic Valley because my stepsister and her husband have a small organic dairy farm in western Wisconsin, actually very near O.V. headquarters, and they are part of the O.V. cooperative. However, I noticed that the milk I bought says it is from California farms.

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  1. Ultrapatuerized means they pastuerize the product at a higher temperature for a shorter length of time, I don't imagine there is much of a nutritional difference if that's what you mean.
    I read a study a short time ago, that seemed credible to me (someone famous in the food field) where they tested whipping both types of cream and the end result was the same, maybe it took a little longer to whip but not by much. If finding pastuerized cream takes more than a few extra minutes, they concluded that it wasn't worth the effort and extra expense!

    8 Replies
    1. re: coll
      ChowFun (derek)

      My question would be.. how this newer form of pasteurization affects (or doesn't affect) {or improves} [!] the flavor of the milk.....anyone done a comparison?

      1. re: ChowFun (derek)

        I just remember Alton Brown talking about pasteurization effects in his Cook Book... and at the time I think he was leaning towards lower temp/longer pasteurizations being friendlier to the flavor.

        This was the same book where I learned about the UHT pasteurizations that allowed for things like milk in drink boxes and stuff...

        Not sure what his take on it is now...

        1. re: ChowFun (derek)

          Ultrapasteurization usually removes more flavor than regular or the low-long forms that are common in Europe.

          It also is primarily intended to extend the shelf life of the product UNopened. Once it's opened, it doesn't necessarily have much of a longer shelf life than regular. So it's really a process designed to help the store only, not the customer. If anything, unless you like to buy well ahead of starting use, it would seem to be a net negative for a customer.

          Whole milk tends to have a longer shelf life than skim: fat acts as a mild preservative.

          Btw, if you do drink skim/lowfat milk and only use whole milk for limited uses, you don't have to buy whole milk. You can do what many people do and buy cream and add it to skim or lowfat milk to create whole or half-and-half for coffee, et cet. It eliminates the need for an inferior product. I do try to avoid ultrapasteurized cream like the plague: all the calories, much less flavor.

          1. re: Karl S

            This means, by the way, that the expiration date applies only when the milk is unopened. Once you open it, you have about a week before it begins to go bad, I believe.

            They've had UHT in England for over 30 years. Until recently, American consumers preferred fresh milk and wouldnt buy it.

            1. re: Brian S

              Right - I was buying UHT milk in Germany when I lived there in the early 70's. I still keep a couple of liters of Parmalat in the pantry for occasions when I run out of regular milk but need it for cooking (eg - Sunday AM biscuits and gravy, and I'm NOT driving to the store...)

              The Organic Ultrapasteurized milk is a more recent phenomenon. I find this milk to be quite tasty. In terms of overall taste, the 1% tastes better than the "normal" 2% to me. The tongue feel (fat) is obviously lacking - it still feels very thin. But we find it acceptable for our daily milk - cereals, etc.

              1. re: Brian S

                This is a reply to applehome: I wonder if this may have to do with the organic part of the milk rather than the pasteurization. I find organic milk to always have a fuller, richer flavor and mouth feel than the 'regular' counterpart.

              2. re: Karl S

                When I buy milk to have on cold cereal, I buy nonfat. If I'm making regular drip coffee, then I much prefer half-and-half. But ever since I got my husband a Nespresso machine for the holidays last year, we've pretty much been having espresso and I don't like mine without milk. I've been drinking coffee for over 30 years and have never been able to drink it without milk, whether brewed, iced, espresso, whatever the preparation. Since we haven't been having brewed coffee I haven't been buying half-and-half, and I don't buy nonfat all that regularly since I don't eat a lot of cereal.

                I like whole milk with the espresso. I nuke some in my cup and then foam it with one of those aerolatte wands, pour in the espresso, and I'm happy. I think half-and-half is too rich for this use and I don't like nonfat milk in coffee. If nonfat is all there is then I won't drink coffee. I know, I'm very picky.

                I have found the opposite of you with respect to which kind of milk stays fresher longer. The more fat, the sooner it goes. That's why I was thrilled to be able to use the entire 1/2 gallon of the ultrapasteurized whole milk. It probably took me over 2 weeks and like I said in my original post, I didn't detect any decline in the milk.

                1. re: Debbie W.

                  Interesting about your nonfat lasting longer - I've found that the more fat in the milk the longer it lasts hence the reason for the longer dates on things such as cream and half and half over regular milk.


          2. ultrapasteurized milk last longer unopened but has less nutritional value than regular pasteurized milk.

            1. Why not drink unadultrated certified raw - especially since you're in CA?


              1 Reply
              1. re: EMZ

                I'm not really "drinking" it alone, I'm putting it in coffee. I hardly ever just drink a glass of milk. Plus raw milk kind of scares me although I know that's irrational. I did drink some at my stepsister's farm and lived to tell the tale, but I had met the cows that the milk came from. The main thing I noticed about the ultrapasteurized product was how long it lasted, and some of the earlier responses to this thread seem to repudiate my findings. Since I have to make a special trip to Whole Foods to get this milk, and since I don't shop at Whole Foods very regularly, I haven't tried it again. Gelsons has some organic ultrapasteurized milk but it's the lactose free product and I don't buy that.

              2. Here's what Harold McGee has to say about pasteurization in <On Food and Cooking>, the revised edition, pp 22-23:

                There are three basic methods for pastueurizing milk. The simplest is batch pasteurization, in which a fixed volume of slowly agetated in a heated vat at a minimum of 145 degrees F/62 degrees C for 30-35 minutes. Industrial-scale operations use the high temperature, short-time (HTST) method, in which milk is pumped continuously through a heat exchanger and held at a minimuj of 162 degrees F/72 degrees C for 15 seconds. The batch process has a relatively mild effect on flavor, while the HTST method is hot enough to denature around 10% of the whey proteins and generate the strongly aromatic gas hydrogen sulfide. Though this "cooked" flavor was considered a defect in early days, U.S. consumers have come to expect it, and dairies now often intensify it by pasteurizing well above the minimum temperature; 171 F/ 77 C is commonly used.

                The third method of pasteurizing milk is the ultra-high temperature (UHT) method which involves heating milk at 265-300 F/130-150 C either instantaneously or for 1-3 seconds, and produces milk that, if packaged under strictly sterile conditions, can be stored for months without refrigeration. The longer UHT treatment imparts a cooked flavor and slightly brown color to milk; cream contains less lactose and protein, so its color and flavor are less affected.

                End quote.

                I do not like the flavor of ultra-pasturized milk at all. I'd rather buy a smaller container of raw or pasteurized milk, unhomogenized if possible, and buy it more often.

                Side note: Ultra pasturized cream is such a pain to whip. Because it is usually also homogenized, there is a very small window between "whipped" and "butter." Don't believe me? Try it out!

                1. I prefer the flavor of raw or pasturized milk because the flavor of an ultrapasturized milk tastes "cooked." Seriously, if you do a side by side tasting between the two you can taste a subtle difference between the two - the ultrapasterized milk's taste reminds me of warm milk.