Friday, January 25, 2013

Milk taste test

I'm always interested in good food, and how things taste.   Andrea and I did a taste taste of 4 different brands of milk tonight.  Each of us poured four glasses of milk for the other, and we each tasted and then rated the taste of the milk without knowing which brand was which. 

If you drink just one milk you really don't see the difference.  When  you set them side-by-side, you can immediately tell the difference between them. 

I'm interested in what tastes the best.   We chose whole milk, pasteurized, and when we could get it, unhomogenized.  We were not able to find a conventional brand of milk that wasn't homogenized. 

Pasteurized means that the milk was heated for a length of time and to a temperature that is calculated to kill harmful bacteria. 

Homogenized means that the cream in the milk has been broken up so that it no longer separates from the milk. 

Our number one pick for taste was:
Best tasting, $13.40/gallon
 This is a very tasty milk.  It is smooth and rich and is clearly a better milk than any of the others that we tasted in this batch.  Part of that is due to the guernsey cows producing a milk that is richer in butterfat, but the bottom line is that if we were going to buy milk to drink based on taste alone, this is the stuff we'd go for.    Grace Harbor farms blog
Close second, $11.58/gallon
 The taste of the pure eire milk was good, a very close second to the grace harbor farms, but it had milk solids that distracted from the taste.  It may have been lumps of cream, but it was distracting when you expected fluid milk.  The taste was very good.  Pure eire's website

Third, $10.92/gallon
 This milk was ok, but had nothing to set it aside from the pack.  It was an OK milk, but it wasn't as good as the first two.  It was much better than number four. 
distant fourth, $7.40/gallon
Watery, bland, just not worth drinking, in our opinion.  We gave the remainder to the dogs. 

Why so much difference? 

Fat is why ice cream tastes good.  The first two milks in this sample were from breeds of cows (Guernsey, Jersey) that produce a richer, fattier milk.  The last two samples are probably primarily from holstein cows, who are industry favorites because of the volume of milk that they produce, but produce less butterfat per gallon than the other two breeds. 

7 comments:

Unknown said...

You might be interested in whereismymilkfrom.com

At least in several stores in Western Washington, the dairy code (14-34) is the same on Western Family, Organic Valley and Darigold. It's a dairy processing plant in the Portland area.

Grace Lukens said...

Wow! Great news. I am Grace of Grace Harbor Farms. Thank you for doing the taste test, and letting us know about it. We have had many people tell us that our milk is the best they have tasted, but as far as I know you are the first to do a blind test at home. A couple of years ago the PCC stores did a test like yours with kids, and our milk became one of the "Kid's Picks" at PCC.

Grace Lukens said...

Wow! Great news. I am Grace of Grace Harbor Farms. Thank you for doing the taste test, and letting us know about it. We have had many people tell us that our milk is the best they have tasted, but as far as I know you are the first to do a blind test at home. A couple of years ago the PCC stores did a test like yours with kids, and our milk became one of the "Kid's Picks" at PCC.

Grace Lukens said...

Wow! Great news. I am Grace of Grace Harbor Farms. Thank you for doing the taste test, and letting us know about it. We have had many people tell us that our milk is the best they have tasted, but as far as I know you are the first to do a blind test at home. A couple of years ago the PCC stores did a test like yours with kids, and our milk became one of the "Kid's Picks" at PCC.

Grace Lukens said...

Wow! Great news. I am Grace of Grace Harbor Farms. Thank you for doing the taste test, and letting us know about it. We have had many people tell us that our milk is the best they have tasted, but as far as I know you are the first to do a blind test at home. A couple of years ago the PCC stores did a test like yours with kids, and our milk became one of the "Kid's Picks" at PCC.

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

Check this guy out, he's doing small batch pasteurizing and avoids the pitfalls of raw milk.

http://www.ladylanefarm.com/site/Default.aspx

There are also several good videos of his operation on Cooking Up a Story.

Grace Lukens said...

We also use low temperature vat pasteurization to retain flavor and as many enzymes as possible. We don't homogenize and we don't separate the cream!