What kind of milk is used to make cheese?
Although there are many different factors on which the taste, texture, and quality of cheese depend, one element nevertheless forms the basis of its gastronomic character. You guessed it – it’s milk. Just as different types of grapes make different types of wine, various types of milk make differyent types of cheese. So, if you’ve wondered which milk makes your favorite cheese, let’s find out!
Almost any milk can be used to make cheese, but there are four basic types from which most of the cheeses on our table are made. At the top of the list of the most widespread is, of course, cow’s milk. With its optimal fat content and abundance of vitamins and minerals, it is a good choice for preparing a wide variety of cheeses. There are thousands of types of cow’s cheese in the world, and some of the most famous names are Cheddar, Gouda, Camembert, Parmesan, and Swiss cheese.
Compared to cow’s milk, sheep’s milk has an extremely high percentage of fat. This characteristic makes it less suitable for drinking but ideal for cheese production. Many famous European cheeses, such as feta, ricotta, pecorino romano, and certain blue cheeses, are made from this type of milk.
Goat’s milk is the closest to cow’s milk in terms of fat content, but it contains more fatty acids, which give cheese its characteristic taste. Goat’s milk is generally easier to digest than cow’s milk, making it a popular choice among those suffering from lactose intolerance. Most of the well-known goat cheeses are French soft cheeses, but cream cheese, semi-hard and hard cheeses are also made from this type of milk.
Probably the rarest type of milk on this list – buffalo milk, is highly prized and used in the preparation of several types of cheese. This milk has an extremely high fat content, almost 10%, which makes it ideal for certain semi-soft and soft cheeses. The most famous examples of cheese made from buffalo milk are Italian mozzarella and burrata.