Food - Drink
What’s The Deal With Raw Milk Cheese
By AUTUMN SWIERS
Raw milk cheeses are softer, stinkier, gamier, and funkier than your average cheese, and include Maytag Blue, Bravo Cheddar, and countless others. However, all that flavor comes with a big catch, as the CDC names raw milk as “one of the riskiest foods,” but sometimes, according to Anthony Bourdain, “good food [...] is all about risk.”
According to Cheesetique, raw milk cheese comes from unpasteurized milk. Pasteurization is the process by which milk is heated for a period long enough to wipe out dangerous bacteria, but it also neutralizes all the useful bacteria in milk — bacteria that helps cheese age gracefully, and that gives cheeses their idiosyncratic characteristics.
Bacteria separates one cheese from the next, and adds the distinct flavors, aromas, and textures that make your favorite cheeses unique. In addition to the risks, raw milk cheese has some solid health benefits — it’s packed with probiotics, is easier to digest, and often has more B vitamins and vitamin C than pasteurized varieties.
Raw milk has the potential to carry harmful bacteria and pathogens including E. coli, Listeria, Brucella, and Salmonella, which is why selling a gallon of the stuff is illegal in 23 U.S. states. Still, in the hands of a skilled cheesemonger, raw milk cheese is safe as long as the proper protocols are followed.