Ever take a big drink of milk and then – bleh!!*#@ it tastes like a cow? Or super bitter? Or like well-aged parmesan cheese (not in my milk, please!)??
If your raw milk is icky tasting read on…
Every once in awhile I get a call or email from someone across the country saying – my milk tastes weird – will I get sick?
This post may calm your fears.
Handcrafted Foods Will Be Inconsistent (and that’s a beautiful thing!)
If you drink milk long enough I’m certain you will (like I definitely have) taste almost all these flavors at least once. It happens. That’s the beauty of live animals, fresh grass and unprocessed milk.
Luckily for you (and me), these unpleasant tastes are easily fixed, it just takes some stealth detective work and usually just a good scrubbing of the equipment or better refrigeration.
Watch the video here, then scroll down to read about the off tastes and remedies, and be sure to leave a comment about your raw milk experience, or a question :
Here are a few off-flavors and their remedies:
Basic taste sensation. Sour, tart, may cause tingling sensation on tongue. “Cultured milk” or “sour” odor may be present.
Cause – Growth of lactic acid producing organisms such as Lactococcus lactis, due to poor refrigeration, especially when temperatures exceed 70°F (21°C). “Malty” milks may be acid also.
Unpleasant odor and taste of a poorly maintained barn or unpleasant feed. May be perceived as “unclean.” “Cowy” or “cow’s-breath” may present a similar defect but generally with an unpleasant medicinal or chemical (i.e., acetone) aftertaste.
Cause – Udders not clean/dry; absorbed, transmitted odor/flavor due to cow inhaling barn odors associated with poor ventilation and unclean barn conditions/dirty bedding. Similar defect may be due to ketosis in cows, but with more of a medicinal or chemical after taste.
Basic taste sensation. Pure bitter has no odor. Taste sensation is detected on the tongue after expectoration (delayed) and tends to persist.
Cause – enzymatic breakdown (microbial or milk enzymes) of milk proteins to short bitter peptides due to bacteria in the milk – (clean your equipment and dry your udders thoroughly) Certain weeds ingested by cows may also cause bitterness although this is rare.
Odor and flavor is usually pronounced, similar (not exact) to pineapple, apple or strawberry. Fermented fruit (fruity); may have more of a sauerkraut or vinegar-like odor or flavor (fermented).
Cause – growth of psychrotrophic spoilage bacteria, especially certain psychrotrophic Pseudomonas species or some of the spore-forming organisms (e.g., Bacillus, Paenibacillus). (Better cleaning practices on cow and equipment.)
Malt-like aroma or taste (like malted milk or Grape-Nuts®). May be similar to feed or cooked odors, but is considered a severe defect as microbial spoilage. Milk often is acid as well.
Cause – Growth of Lactococcus lactis var. maltigenes (or possibly other organisms) due to poor refrigeration. May be followed by “acid” or “unclean” flavors.
Cause – associated with late lactation or mastitic cows. If you think mastitis is the culprit, test the milk and identify the type so you can treat it.
Did you see the trend above?
Main causes of off-tasting milk are improper chilling procedures and dirty cows/equipment. That’s great news because these things are so easy to fix!
Producers should be encouraged, though – – every raw milk producer will at some point produce off-tasting milk. What’s important is that the producer identify it immediately (through testing) and remedy it.
If you’re a raw milk drinker be sure to forward this to your producer so they can be aware of the causes of off milk. Also, as a consumer of raw milk, we producers need your support and encouragement in these situations. We do the absolute best we can, and sometimes the milk tastes off in spite of it. Thanks for your patience while we fix it.
And, make sure your refrigerator is keeping your raw milk at 37-40 degrees F and you’re not letting it set out on the counter (teenagers make note!!)
Thank you, as usual, for listening, reading, watching and sharing 🙂
Now it’s your turn! Have you had off-tastes in your milk? What did you do? If so, I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.