Amish Cows And The Milk They Produce
So what is Amish milk and what do the Amish farmers make from it? Do the Amish drink raw milk without it causing health problems? Is raw Amish milk any different than pasteurized milk from the local store? I know that everyone has heard of drinking unpasteurized milk or maybe even drank it. But, did you know the Amish drink unpasteurized milk everyday!!!
* We are not recommending that you consume raw unpasteurized or "pet milk" directly from the cows, goats or any animal. We are just talking about what the Amish do for themselves*
The Crockett Cooner here again at The Amish of Ethridge, I've done a little research on Amish milk and here is the cream that floated to the top...
What Is Unpasteurized Milk
If you have ever heard of the Amish, then you already know that most of the Amish are farmers along with other trades they are skilled in. On these Amish farms many Amish families have cattle for beef and cattle that produce milk. Now in my area of the country we have the "Old Order Amish" known as the Swartzentruber. In the old Order Amish way of life many chores around the farm are still done they way they where in the late 1800's, and milking cows is know different. Each day depending on the number of cows and the amount of nutrition the cows intake. An Amish family will get many gallons of "Raw" milk, straight from the cow. So what is raw or unpasteurized milk? Pasteurization or pasteurized milk is milk that has been through a heating process of 161 degrees Fahrenheit for no less than 15 seconds. This process of heating the milk will remove any pathogens from the milk for safe human consumption, and makes the milk last longer in the refrigerator. So the milk the Amish use is straight from the cow and never been heated, its unpasteurized!!!
Now you might be asking yourself since the Swartzentruber Amish do not believe in electricity, how do they keep the milk they get each day cold especially since its unpasteurized!!! The Amish in my part of the country still milk their cows by hand, then transfer the milk from milking buckets to metal 12 gallon milk churns just like the milking process was in years past. Then the large churns are put in a "Milk House" or "Milk room". This milk room is usually made of concrete block or stone with thick walls to help keep it cool and is usually located by the north wall or north side of the milk barn. Inside of the milk room there are concrete square shaped boxes located in the floor, close to or on top of a water well or spring. The large churns of milk are then lowered into the concrete baths of cold well or spring water that is usually 55 degrees year round, to stay fresh...
Points To Remember About Raw Unpasteurized Milk
- Raw warm milk will only last a few hours before bacteria becomes present
- Raw milk can have pathogens present in it
- Old types of stone milk rooms don't always have a regulated temperature
- Raw milk that has been boiled is NOT the same as pasteurized milk
What Breeds Of Cows Do The Amish Milk
When you think Amish dairy cow the Holstein cow comes to mind for most. You know the black and white cows that most people associate with milk. How ever have you ever seen the Brown Swiss dairy cow found on many Amish farms? Usually with the different breeds of dairy cows you will find different amounts of fats and proteins in the milk. So you might ask, what are the possible breeds of dairy cattle found in any Amish heard? There are usually five different breeds of dairy cows the Amish could be milking at any time, those are Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey. Now consider this, each breed of cow gives different amounts of fats and proteins in their milk. So, you can only imagine how the amounts of fats and proteins might change with a heard consisting of different breeds, when the milk is mixed together!!! Now with a mixed heard of cattle the Amish usually get a rich in flavor thick raw butter type of milk!!!
The Products The Amish Make From Unpasteurized Rich Thick Raw Milk And Why
One of the most talked about products made by the Amish with unpasteurized milk is cheese. The old myth of making cheese in this fashion is that when leaving the milk unpasteurized the cheese produced will be unique in flavor and NOT able to be copied by other farms. So, when the cheese is made the internal microflora found in the cheese will give the cheese a more full rich flavor. So certain types of unpasteurized cheeses made by the Amish are Brie, Camembert, and many Mexican types of cheeses are made by the Amish mixed with the peppers the Amish grow such as Queso Fresco and Panela.
Other products you might not know that is made by the Amish with unpasteurized milk is Yogurt. The normal plain and vanilla flavors of yogurts are made by the Amish. But, because of the large gardens and orchards the Amish have, they also make many varieties of fruit and berry flavored yogurts. The benefits the Amish believe they get from using unpasteurized milk is, the yogurt still has all of the fats, enzymes, vitamins, and linoleic acid. Another product the Amish make with raw milk is pudding. The pudding made with raw milk is "supposed" to give more flavor and be thicker than pudding made with pasteurized milk.
Did I mention the butter the Amish make? The Amish use a recipes that calls for raw milk in butter because in the process of making butter in this way the cream will rise to the top of the milk and cause a separation. You can start the butter making process with cream that is then skimmed from the top of the raw milk, after the milk has set of a while after being collect in the churns. Now this brings about an interesting idea what if the Amish decide not to use milk from their cows that is unpasteurized. This is where the Amish use unhomogenized milk bought from a local store. Homogenized milk is milk that has had air pumped through it to break up the fat particles so the cream stays mixed into the milk instead of rising to the top. So in the Amish way of making butter it would be better for the cream to separate.
What Is Bad About Unpasteurized Milk
Now that I've written about what can be made with raw milk, I feel it is only fitting to mention the health problems that can come from products made with unpasteurized milk. When bad bacteria is present in unpasteurized milk bacteria such as Brucella, Listeria, Salmonella, E Coli, Cryptosporidium, and Campylobacter are present. When spoiled or unpasteurized milk is consumed by humans with these types of bacteria. The human body can have symptoms that last many days these symptoms are diarrhea, stomach cramping, and vomiting in the best cases... In the worst cases victims consuming raw milk with bad bacteria can have stroke and kidney failure, as a result of hemolytic uremic syndrome, and paralysis from Guillain Barre syndrome, then in the worst case death!!!
"A little personal experience from the Cooner on drinking unpasteurized milk and eating milk products that have NOT been pasteurized. I've personally tried raw milk straight from the cow!!! I have to saw I don't care for the taste, in my opinion. It left a thick unpleasant taste that smelled the way sour spoiled milk smells, in my mouth!!!" Crockett Cooner
A Guide To Visiting A Creamery Or Dairy
- You will need to locate a dairy or creamery that gives tours? A great example is Flowers Creamery located in Ethridge Tennessee. Not only will you see the entire dairy process, you can buy dairy products that are pasteurized fresh and delicious, from the cows you see on your tour. If you chose a visit a different dairy and buy products, make sure to see if their products as pasteurized and safe for consumption.
- Make sure if you are planning a large group to visit the dairy or just a few people, you express that to the owner. Many times dairy cattle don't like to be disturbed by strangers in the milking process, the visit needs to be at the correct time of day to not inhibit milking.
- Make sure to dress and wear the correct clothing and shoes when visiting a dairy. After all if you are viewing the cows and where they are housed it floor can have droppings and weather temperatures and conditions play a role for a great visit.
- Lastly, if you are buying dairy products and have a long commute home make sure to bring a cooler or have a way to keep your products cold for your trip home.
Yes, many times unpasteurized milk is much thicker and has a taste of raw butter milk. Also, depending on what the milk cows have been eating for example wild onions, it will affect the taste of the unpasteurized milk.
Many times you can find Amish bread cattle at the local livestock sales found around Amish communities. Also, a trip to your local Amish community can yield some great results when you looking for a single milk cow or are interested in starting your own heard. Another great option, make sure to keep an eye out for signs in front of Amish homes and businesses for livestock sales.
I would not suggest that ANYONE try to pasteurize their own milk at home. I would say a safe bet would be to, leave the process of pasteurization up to trained professionals at your local new style dairies and food production companies that specialize in dairy products.
Yes, most Amish farmers are happy to speak with you about milk production on their farm. Also, if you would like to see how a new style dairy is operated just a check around your own local community can give you some good results.
Trips to a dairy farm are great for children on field trips from schools, people interested in starting a dairy farm, individuals interested in the idea of how dairy products are produced, and people that want fresh day old products can visit a dairy farm with a creamery that specialize in sales of their own products.