July 11, 2013 by transilvanian
This is a follow up on one of my previous posts about the use of raw milk in milk kefir made at home.
I have recently used raw milk straight from my cow’s udder to make kefir, and also drink fresh, however I didn’t feed it to my 4 year old boy just yet.
I decided to put that on hold until I did some more research on the potential harmful bacteria and germs that can contaminate the milk.
Honestly, I wasn’t too worried about my health, as I learnt that TB and brucellosis were eradicated from Australia long time ago.
I simply wanted to find out if there are any other harmful creepy crawlers that may lurk in my milk without me knowing.
And it appears that there may be some, and the fact is that there is no way to tell the infected milk just by tasting it or smelling it.
An important thing to consider when it comes to the possibility of getting infected are the statistics, in the sense that the more often you drink raw un-pasteurised milk, the more likely to be exposed to harmful bacteria.
This I what I discovered: potential harmful bacteria and viruses that may infect raw milk are: Listeria, Campylobacter , Salmonella, Escherichia coli (E. coli O157), other parasites like Cryptosporidium.
Complications can become extremely severe, such as haemolytic uraemic syndrome (HUS) that can cause death in healthy people.
Young children, old people or people with weaker immune systems, as well as pregnant women and their foetuses are much more vulnerable to these bugs.
There’s quite a few recent reports of raw-milk related outbreaks around the world, and here’s a few listed by Wikipedia:
– April 2013 in Minneapolis, Minnesota US, 13 people ill with salmonellosis
– 24 people ill in Alaska in 2013
– 81 people sick out of which 10 in the hospital with campylobacter in Pennsylvania
– 3 children last year in US with HUS
– and a few other cases
Altogether, between 1993 and 2006 there were over 70 outbreaks caused by raw milk in US. More than 1,500 people got sick or were hospitalised from drinking raw milk or eating cheese made with raw milk.
(I guess the same can happen with the raw milk kefir)
Since then, I decided to pasteurise the milk myself, and rather than boiling it, which apparently scolds the milk, I do it as per most cheese-masters’ advice.
And here-s the method I use:
Pour my fresh raw milk into a large pot, twice the size of the amount of milk.
Sit the pot inside a large frying pan, where I initially placed 3 spoons face down. That way I created 3 support points to hold my pot steady
Fill the deep pan with water, half inch below the rim
Bring the water to boil, turn the heat down, and simmer it that way for ½ an hour. When I make cheese, I turn the heat off completely, and make sure the milk doesn’t heat over 65 degrees Celsius.
After 30 minutes, I take the pot with the milk out, and place it in a sink with icy water.
I stir it constantly to quickly cool down, which normally takes about 10 minutes.
The more you stir it, the faster if cool down, and this is exactly what you are after.
That’s it, my milk is now pasteurised.
Quite simple, a bit of work required, however my milk is now safe for my boy, and it also keeps all its proteins intact.
My milk kefir grains also love the home pasteurised milk too, I got grains the size of a walnut lately, something I haven’t seen before.
Then again, they were dormant for about three weeks, kind of hibernating.
It appears they have woken up quite hungry, so I have to feed them the best milk I’ve got.
More about the milk kefir grains hibernating in my next post.
Need help making your kefir? Please watch my first Youtube videos about adding milk to your grains.
If you need help with straining your kefir, watch the second video about that.
For checking out my results using raw milk, check out an early post about raw milk kefir.
That includes a photo of the beautiful water buffalo cow Ravi.
Want to find out more about me: read more in my About Me page.