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Jan 22, 2013 11:41 AM

New to cheesemaking - have ingredient questions:

Hi - First let me apologize if this question has been asked previously, but I did a search and couldn't find anything about it, so bear with me.

I am determined to make cheese. I have a fairly simple goat cheese recipe to start with, I have liquid animal rennet, and I will be getting some starter culture as soon as the local cheese guy is over the flu.

My question concerns goat's milk - once I started looking it seems I see it everywhere - but only the ultrapasteurized, which all my recipes say specifically to avoid. So where can I find just the regular pasteurized kind? I asked my cheese guy, but the local dairies (which I know will be a suggestion) don't sell retail, and it's illegal to sell unpasteurized (as is my understanding). I asked around a bit and am amazed at how many people I know have goats, or goats in the family, but no one milks.

Can anyone give me some tips? This is something I'd love to get into, but every step seems to lead to a locked door. Thanks in advance for anything helpful.

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    1. My SIL raises and milks goats in a location that makes it very difficult for her to sell the raw milk for human consumption, as a small scale rancher. She gets around this by selling it as supplement milk for animals. Her regulars know that she is milking for them, she just can't say that. So you might try looking down that route?

      1. Thanks for all the advice, but I'm running into brick walls. Any tricks on how to make ultra-pasteurized milk work? Recipe adjustments, anything?

        1 Reply
        1. re: NonnieMuss

          I'd try calling the folks who market cheesemaking supplies.

        2. I don't know where you are and how hard good goat's milk is to find there, but don't bother with the ultra pasteurized. It will never set up the way you need it to. I would suggest making cow's milk cheese instead. There are some very simple recipes on the web. Milk quality is really not the place to cut ends when making cheese.

          1. The US is a patchwork quilt concerning the legality of selling raw milk. Each state has its own set of laws and standards, so availability depends on where you live. Some states allow raw milk to be sold at retail, while others allow farm sales, but not retail. In other states, you must buy a "herdshare" from a farmer, i.e., you are technically buying a piece of an animal and earning the right to obtain a certain percentage of its milk. In still other states, the sale of raw milk for human consumption is forbidden, but its sale for animal consumption is legal, so people can easily skirt the law by telling the farmer that they are buying the milk for their pet and then using it for whatever they want, e.g., cheesemaking.

            Finally, the sale of raw milk for whatever purpose is prohibited in eleven states. It sounds like you may live in one of these states. If so, you're stuck, unless you are willing to travel to the nearest state that has some form of legal sale or you know of a farmer who would be willing to give you a little of his/her milk. I would also note that interstate sales of raw milk are illegal across the US, so mail order isn't an option. Some producers have tried doing it (mostly by driving from one state to another and delivering their milk to buyers), and some may be doing it now, but at the peril of getting caught and severely sanctioned, which has happened.

            Besides the list of producers maintained by the New England Cheesemaking Company, the link to which Madrid posted earlier, check out, which probably has a more extensive and up-to-date list:


            It's actually harder to find good information on pasteurized (but not ultrapasteurized) milk producers than on raw milk producers, although both of the above lists may include some references to them. A small minority sell both raw and pasteurized milk. Best of luck finding what you need. As others have said, I would avoid ultrapasteurized milk, if at all possible.

            1 Reply
            1. re: cheesemaestro

              (Shakes fist at sky). Yeah, I live in one of those areas. I've contacted several cheesemakers around my city and can't get a lead on any milk at all. I've checked with grocery stores to see if they can special-order items, but no. And I've stumbled upon the real milk website, but any producers are more than 2-3 hours drive away. Big sigh. I guess I'll have to pay attention when I'm traveling to see if my destination has any hope of milk. Thanks everyone for the input - truly I appreciate it. Sadly if I wanted to buy drugs I could probably have some in my pocket by lunchtime, but raw milk - not a chance!