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What is raw cheese, and how is it different from pasteurized cheese?

posted on

February 15, 2023

Cheesemaking was mainly done at home before the Industrial Era in the United States. If you had a family farm with dairy animals, and you were the wife, you would make cheese to prolong the life of milk before it spoiled. The cheese was predominantly made with raw milk during this time, which, naturally, made raw cheese. But in this time period, there was no pasteurized or raw cheese; cheese was just cheese.

The difference between raw and pasteurized cheese is how the milk is handled and heated. When making raw cheese, the milk is never heated above the temperature of the milk at the time of milking, which is around 102°F.

Raw milk cheeses are said to offer a more complex flavor profile that you simply cannot get from pasteurized cheeses. Once the milk is pasteurized, the “harmful” bacteria killed during the heating process also kill off the bacteria that develop flavors and aromas that can’t be replicated.

Some say that raw cheese is a unique food because it takes on so much flavor from the region it was produced in. The cheese takes on the flavor of the location, the animal the milk comes from, the microorganisms in the milk, and the equipment and technique used to create the cheese. This is known as terroir. It’s all truly fascinating! 

The nutritional benefits are greater, too, since it is made from raw milk. Cheese, especially raw cheese, is considered a complete protein. It has all of the essential amino acids we need. It is also a good source of:

  • Vitamins A, B, D, E, and K
  • Calcium, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, and copper
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids; Conjugated Linoleic Acid (helps reduce body fat and improve the immune system), and butyrate (helps maintain the gut lining)
  • Rich in gut-healthy probiotics and enzymes

There are also multiple scientific studies that show the benefits of raw milk and how it has helped people suffering from asthma and allergies. A study done in February 2019 discusses how growing up on a farm and being exposed to the rural outdoors greatly reduces the development of allergies and asthma! The next best thing, according to the study, is raw milk because of its protective properties.

A study was done on children from the Alpine regions who drank raw milk during their first year of life and discovered they were less likely to develop asthma and allergies. It’s believed that raw milk's proteins, fat, fatty acids, and bacterial components help improve immune system function. The study also found that drinking pasteurized milk alone did not offer any health benefits like raw milk.

So if raw cheese is made from raw milk… yup, you guessed it. Pasteurized cheese is made from pasteurized milk!

Pasteurization was invented in 1862. The process involves heating and then cooling down milk to kill bacteria. The milk undergoes a heating process for pasteurized cheeses to reach partial sterilization to become pasteurized.

But why is pasteurized cheese the preferred choice? For one thing, besides it being legal in America, the consistency in taste. If I buy grass fed, pasteurized cheddar cheese, it’s always going to taste the same!

Pasteurization stops the variation of flavor caused by terroir. A majority of people and cheesemakers prefer consistency. If you’re a little more on the spontaneous side, you may prefer raw cheese because each batch will most likely taste different. 

Whether you prefer pasteurized or raw cheeses, the choice is yours! There may be greater health benefits from one, but it all depends on what you are comfortable with. All raw cheeses made in the United States are legally required to be aged at least 60 days with a minimum heating temperature of 35°F. The cheeses of Simply Grassfed are the next best thing to booking a flight to the Alpine regions of Europe and enjoying raw cheeses.

All of our A2/A2 artisanal cheeses are:

  • Certified Organic
  • Handmade in Small Batches
  • Made with Milk from Pasture Raised, 100% Grass-Fed Cows
  • No Hormones, Antibiotics, or GMOs
  • Contains 100% A2 Beta-Casein Protein
  • Made from Organic Raw Milk
  • We only use Organic Animal Rennet in our cheese making.

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