How To Check The Quality Of Milk At Home?

Milk is a product that is in every fridge, and given that it is mostly consumed by our children, you need to know what to look for when buying it.

The type of milk you want to buy

There are four main types of milk: sterilized, pasteurized, ultra-pasteurized, and baked.

  • Pasteurized milk is heated at the factory at a temperature of about (70-75) °C. The beneficial components of milk are preserved, while harmful bacteria are destroyed. Pasteurized milk sours in 5-10 days. It contains all the beneficial properties and should be stored in the refrigerator. It is ideal for daily consumption.
  • Baked milk is heated at a temperature of (85-99) °C for several hours. Compared to pasteurized milk, it has a higher percentage of fat (usually 6%), and more calcium, iron, and vitamin A, while containing fewer vitamins C and B1. The shelf life of baked milk is 5-7 days.
  • Ultrapasteurized milk is heated at a temperature of up to 150 °C for several seconds. Thanks to such technological operations, producers extend the shelf life of milk due to the fact that very little foreign microflora remains in it. Ultra-pasteurized milk can be stored in a closed container without refrigeration for up to 180 days. Such milk can be taken with you on trips, and hikes or used in any environment where it is not possible to store food in the refrigerator.
  • Sterilized milk can be stored for the longest time, which is achieved through high-temperature processing (130-140 °C). The processing destroys all harmful microflora and bacteria in such milk. However, this does not mean that sterilized milk cannot be healthy – for example, vitaminized sterilized milk is now being produced, which has health benefits.

Only pasteurized milk retains its beneficial properties.

Percentage of fat

The percentage of fat is the second most important criterion for choosing milk in a store (after choosing the type of milk). Today, you can find milk with different fat content on store shelves – from 1% to 6%.

What to consider when choosing milk fat content:

The higher the percentage of fat, the more calories in the milk (for example, 1% milk has 42 calories, 2.6% milk has 52 calories, and 3.2% milk has 60 calories). Calorie content may vary depending on the type of milk. If you are on a diet and watching your figure, this point should be taken into account. Milk with minimal fat content is recommended for people involved in fitness, bodybuilding, and other sports that involve intense exercise.

Milk fat content does not affect protein content. The amount of protein will be the same in milk with 1% fat and 3.2% fat.

Calcium is absorbed in combination with vitamin D, so if you consume skim milk, it may not be absorbed (vitamin D requires fatty foods rich in this vitamin to be absorbed).

Date of manufacture and expiration date

If you’ve already decided on the type of milk and percentage of fat, the next thing you should pay attention to is the date of manufacture, expiration date, and storage conditions. If the date of production is illegible, do not buy such milk under any circumstances.

Packaging integrity

A similar recommendation applies to packaging: if the integrity of the packaging is compromised (or suspicious), it is strictly not recommended to buy such milk. It is advisable that the package or bottle be equipped with a special cap or tape that ensures that the container is not opened before purchase.

Here are some recommendations on how to check the quality of milk:

Iodine will show starch

Unscrupulous producers add starch to the milk to give it the necessary density. This is usually done in the winter and spring when milk yields drop and milk is produced from dry milk harvested in the summer.

But when it is diluted, such milk becomes unnaturally liquid, so the manufacturer is forced to add starch to hide the “reconstituted” milk.

To detect a product with such an additive, drop a few drops of iodine into it. If you are looking at natural milk fresh from the cow, it will turn yellow. And if it is diluted dry milk with starch, it will turn blue.

Sour cream will reveal the antibiotic

If a producer wants to save time and money on pasteurization, he adds antibiotics to milk to slow down its souring. Also, antibiotics can get into the product from the milk of sick cows or cows that have completed their treatment less than ten days before the start of production.

The easiest way to check for antibiotics is to leave the milk to sour. To make this process faster, add a teaspoon of sour cream to a glass of milk and leave it at room temperature of 22-24 C. If the milk turns sour after 3-4 hours, it means that it does not contain antibiotics.

If you decide to use our recipe for quick curd with 10% calcium chloride, pay attention to how quickly the milk begins to curdle after adding the pharmacy drug. The faster this happens, the less likely it is to contain antibiotics.

Alcohol will detect water

To determine whether the purchased milk package contains water and what percentage of it (milk is often diluted to increase its volume), mix 50 g of milk with 100 g of alcohol in a bottle, shake it for 2-3 minutes, and pour the entire contents into a bowl. Time how long it takes for flakes to form in the milk. If white layers become visible immediately, then the milk has not been diluted with water. But the thickening of the product after half an hour indicates that there is about half the water in this milk.

Milk is a product of daily consumption, so when choosing a particular brand, it is worth researching it. Ask about the history of the company, its reputation, whether it has its own raw material base, what manufacturing methods are used, and the values of the manufacturing company. In fact, the latter is a strong argument in favor of choosing your own brand.

If you want to buy milk of guaranteed high quality, we recommend that you find information about the manufacturer on the Internet. Pay attention to the following points:

  • The presence of the manufacturer’s website (or the group of companies that includes the manufacturer). You must admit that today every self-respecting company, and its consumers, is represented on the Internet. And if you can’t find any information about the manufacturer, it should at least be alarming.
  • Certification according to international standards of quality management and control ISO 9000 and HACCP (if the company has a website, you can easily find this information there).
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Written by Bella Adams

I'm a professionally-trained, executive chef with over ten years in Restaurant Culinary and hospitality management. Experienced in specialized diets, including Vegetarian, Vegan, Raw foods, whole food, plant-based, allergy-friendly, farm-to-table, and more. Outside of the kitchen, I write about lifestyle factors that impact well-being.

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