Raw Milk…Cooked!

About a year and a half ago I wrote a post about my interest in raw milk.  All the milk sold in American grocery stores is pasteurized at either 161 degrees for 15 seconds or 145 degrees for 30 minutes.  Pasteurization kills any dangerous bacteria potentially lurking around, but this process also “destroys enzymes, diminishes vitamin content, denatures fragile milk proteins, destroys vitamins C, B12 and B6, kills beneficial bacteria, promotes pathogens and is associated with allergies, increased tooth decay, colic in infants, growth problems in children, osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease and cancer,” according to the Weston A. Price Foundation.  The government strictly controls raw milk sales, and it is largely illegal in most states.  To purchase it, you often need to join a co-op (like what we did), own a cow or drive to a farm with your own containers.  A lot of hoops to jump through for something much safer than legal indulgences like cigarettes.

I drink raw milk occasionally, but more often than not the milk we drink with our dinner comes from Castle Rock Organic Farms.  It is only lightly pasturized and non-homogenized, so a line of lovely cream floats on top of every returnable glass bottle.  It is truly delicious, and I feel safe serving it to my little ones.

However, every two weeks I buy a gallon of raw milk from our co-op.  Not only do I like supporting my farmers, but I support the notion that Americans deserve the freedom to buy milk in whatever form we like.  If the government is ok with citizens smoking cigarettes and jumping out of airplanes, then I don’t understand why raw milk has become such a contentious and polarizing issue.

Most of the raw milk we purchase is put to use in cooked recipes.  I particularly love making delightful batches of homemade yogurt, but raw milk makes any recipe calling for milk significantly better.  If you can get your hands on raw milk, try a cold glass on its own, or turn it into:

*Homemade Yogurt: Yogurt made with raw milk is a dream.  It doesn’t resemble a gelatinous blob like the stuff bought at the grocery store.  Rather, it is creamy, light and totally satisfying.  Because the process of making homemade yogurt requires heating the milk to 180 degrees, it is safe to share with young and old alike.

We stir raw honey from our co-op into fresh homemade yogurt, and the kids can’t get enough of it.  I like to sprinkle in some walnuts and a shaved tart green apple.  Divine!

Here’s my method for making homemade yogurt (with or without raw milk): https://homemademothering.com/2009/05/homemade-yogurt-yummmmmm.html

*Oatmeal: Oh la la! Oatmeal made with raw milk tastes so rich and satisfying! We buy organic oats in bulk from Green Grocer Chicago – priced right and I can bring in my own bag so we cut down on the waste we generate.

To make a simple batch big enough to feed all four of us, I heat 2 cups raw milk to nearly a boil, stir in 4 cups old fashioned oats and reduce the heat.  Five minutes later, I pour the oats into bowls and top off with a generous drizzle of maple syrup (also from our co-op), a palmful of walnuts and a sprinkling of dried berries.  A healthy and filling way to start the day!

*Creamy Soups: Raw milk is wonderful in any soup recipe that calls for milk or cream. The natural fat rounds out the taste and adds a smooth consistency.  I won’t make a milk or cream based soup unless I have raw milk in the fridge.

Here are a few soup recipes I make with raw milk:

Potato Soup: https://homemademothering.com/2010/11/a-potato-soup-so-good-an-8-month-old-likes-it.html

Cream of Mushroom Soup: https://homemademothering.com/2009/12/soup-for-a-chilly-day.html

Broccoli-Cheddar Soup: http://sisterkitchn.blogspot.com/2011/04/broccoli-cheddar-soup.html

*Breakfast Strata: This is a family favorite, and its even better when made with raw milk.

*Baked Goods: If your favorite cake recipe calls for milk, try it with raw milk.  My new favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe requires three tablespoons of milk, and they always turn out better when I use raw milk.

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8 Comments for this entry

  1. gloria says:

    just a hint I learned when cooking with raw milk with plenty of cream in it when you are making a cake and it calls for oil most likely you wont need any because of the oil /cream in the milk. My friend had jersey cows and the cream that came to the top of a jar was about 4″ we skimmed that off and used in our scalloped potatoes, soups, pies and her moms old recipe for sour cream choc cake. If you see an old recipe for cake or something that doesnt call for oil or shortening thats probably why . even if you used sour cream from the grocery store you will need to add some butter oro oil of some kind to make a moiist cake

  2. I love this post. Here in Wisconsin, raw milk is completely illegal. That’s the dairy state for you!

  3. Melissa says:

    I’m a huge fan of raw milk, and like you, I question why it is such a liability for grocers to offer such wholesome goodness from nature but it’s okay for them to stock shelves with hydrogenated, processed, corn syrup laden foods?

  4. Stacy says:


    Our family has been using raw milk exclusively for the past 6 years, and we have never had any safety issues. You are doing a disservice to the many farmers who provide a clean, safe source of raw milk when you imply that you won’t feed it to your children without cooking (read: pasteurizing) it first. You also do a disservice to the families who may have been on the fence, but are now scared off by your lack of confidence.

    If you are uncomfortable feeding your children the raw milk that you are purchasing, then you should find another supplier. You should know the farmers, you should be welcome to visit the cows as well as the milking parlor and the storage facility, and the milk should meet rigorous testing standards. If a farm does not meet your expectations, you should let them know why and move on. Savvy, educated consumers who put their money where their mouth is will make for a better product overall.

    For anyone just beginning to think about raw milk, I recommend the book “The Untold Story of Milk” by Ron Schmid. A starting point for finding raw milk in any state can be found at realmilk.com. Word of mouth will turn up more.


    • Maureen says:

      Thanks for your comment, Stacy. I appreciate your passion for raw milk. I recognize and understand the health benefits of consuming raw and unprocessed foods, which is why I make such an effort to prepare homemade meals using local and organic ingredients.

      I started learning about raw milk a couple months before my son was born (he is now 16 months old). I had never heard of it before, and I was very intrigued. I did some research and found our wonderful co-op. I trust our farmers 110% to provide safe, healthy and clean raw milk to anyone who joins. That includes my family.

      However, I am holding off on switching entirely to raw milk when it comes to my kids. Please let me explain why:

      When my son was 13 days old, he spent a week in the hospital for a blood infection that turned out to be E coli. He was hooked up to every tube possible, and once we finally brought him home I had to administer IV antibiotics for two weeks and then oral antibiotics for an additional 3 months. Without the wonderful (and immediate) medical care he received at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago, he likely would have died.

      Although his sickness wasn’t at all related to raw milk (it possibly came from the hospital where he was born), the whole experience was terrifying for me. He was so tiny and so helpless. Because his sickness happened at roughly the same time I was researching raw milk, I decided that I needed to stick with the pasturized (but non-homogenized) organic milk we were already drinking. I am sure that once my kids are a little older I’ll make the switch, but for right now I feel as though I am making the right decision for my young family.

      And to answer your point about my post “scaring away” potential raw milk drinkers – I really don’t think that’s true. If anything, my post aims to to A) teach people about the existence of raw milk, B) help people gradually “ease”raw milk into a daily diet C) show that raw milk can be used for more than just drinking and D) openly share my experience with it.

      Thanks again for your comments. I know you are a wonderful mother doing what is best for your family.

  5. Kasandra says:

    I read an article from CNN.com about the huge risks people take by consuming raw milk and cheese (it was written by a food scientist I believe) around the time there was the E.Coli outbreak in Germany. I also took a food science class a year ago – since then I’ve been really nervous about Food Borne Illnesses! (Sidenote: It has just recently occurred to me that my professor helped create a certain type of cereal bar that is very processed which is probably why he used to rave about how safe and well processed foods are and why he criticized organic foods!)

    Anyway… I’ve always had a fear of home canning and raw milk – due to contamination risks. But after joining your site I really think I could start doing this! I think that so often we get skewed information and for many people, that’s all they have access to!
    I think that your insight (in this article in particular) encourages us to see there is a way to start trying a healthier approach! =)

    I guess I’d just like to say thank you for all your ideas! I am so excited to start making my own things. Thank you so much for being so willing to share this information for free! =) I really truly appreciate it.

    PS -I think stores and the FDA ban “raw” products because farms are just too huge! And too unsanitary! I also had a bad feeling that whatever is pumped into the cows would be much worse if it was consumed via raw milk and there are too much to risk (farmers, big businesses, funding for the government) to ban growth hormones and vaccinations, etc. We’re not people to them, just consumers! The government can’t profit off of organic farming they way they’ve set up our agricultural system. And I think they’d have to admit what they’ve been doing to cows has been wrong — and that won’t be happening anytime soon!

  6. Cherie says:

    Hi Maureen,
    I just found your site and love what you’re doing. The more education people have about all the benifits of raw milk opposed to all the harm factory farmed milk can do, the better!

    I also wanted to comment about your son. I’m so sorry your famly had to go through such a scary ordeal and so glad he is doing well now. I would like to suggest though that you research a condition called Candida Overgrowth (Candida Albicans). I too was pumped full of antibiotics as a child and they did not know to tell my Mom that I needed a lot of probiotics to reestablish the healthy bacteria in the intestines that are destroyed by the antibiotics and that any form of surgar is the bad bacteria’s favorite food to grow. I suffered most my life with health issues no one realized was all because of that. I went to work for an MD that practiced Alternative medicine & helped me figure a lot of this out. I’ve been on an Anti-Candida diet & eat yogurt, fermented foods, ect., for a few years now and have never been healther & all issues resolved. If I can answer any questions, please let me know. Sorry this is so long!

    Take care!

    • Maureen says:

      Thanks, Cherie! I too was worried about what all those (live-saving!) antibiotics could be doing to my little boy. He eats a LOT of yogurt that I make from raw milk, and he LOVES it! Everytime I look at him I’m amazed by how strong and resilient he is!

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