Milk and Sanitation Video (Cheesemaking Part 4)



“Anything worth doing, is worth doing poorly, at first” ~Joel Salatin

Milk quality and sanitation are the two areas that I failed. The first two years I made cheese, most of them did not turn out due to milk quality and sanitation! Thus, I’m doing an entire post on the subject.

You must have clean milk from healthy cows (see picture above of our healthy milk cow “Faith”; her milk is free of disease and infection and she has horizontal “happy lines” on  her rib cage) and you must have clean sanitized cheese equipment and work area. 

Here’s a video I did to explain it all to you. I hope it helps you avoid all the errors I did the first two years I made cheese!

For the best place to find sources for real milk, visit

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To Find Them Any Fresher You Would Have To Grow


  1. Carolyn,
    Wow, I’m sorry to hear you had the same experience with mastitis with your family cow. We had the same happen to us. It seems that everyone should be aware that when you’re buying someone else’s cow, it’s probably a cull and if it’s not, you have the exception. Our story’s are not unique. I have two close friends that the same thing happened to. We got emotionally attached to our cow even though she had mastics from the start, she had a beautiful heifer that we didn’t want to give back. But, in retrospect, we should have detached ourselves from our emotions and returned the cow. Most of the time though, you can’t return the cows once you have them. That’s what happened to our friends… they’re cow died too from mastics.

    I’m just glad that we found a great healthy family cow that we’re milking now. It makes us a lot more grateful to know our milk is clean and from a healthy animal. That’s why we started milking a family cow in the first place! It definitely wasn’t to save money or time! Goodness it takes tons of time every day and having a cow is expensive, as I’m sure y’all know.

    But, we wouldn’t trade having a family cow for anything. We thank our beautiful Jersey, Faith every morning for her contribution to our the health of our family.

    • http://DeOnna%20Ganske says

      My husband and I have both been dairying our whole lives. Now we have 2 daughters that help on our small dairy. We sell raw milk cream and butter and no longer ship milk on the commercial truck. We have helped many people find a family cow( not always one out of our herd) and the number one thing to ask is “What is the somatic cell count?” If the person is hesitant ,beware. The SCC is the indicator for overall health in a dairy cow. If she has so much as a foot problem her SCC will be elevated. I’m so happy to see more people getting back the “way back when…” Way of life . That’s why we call our dairy Way Back When Just thought I’d pass along that info

      • http://Rashel says

        Thanks for writing on my blog! I’m glad to meet another fan of dairying 🙂 We learned all to well that SCC matters and when you buy a cow, you better be darn certain that that cow has never had mastitis or any infection… our first family cow was a BIG LEARNING opportunity…. we got to deal with full blown chronic mastitis and all my cheese didn’t turn out that whole year… it was a hard lesson to learn.

        Do you have a facebook page? You can find us at I’d love to connect with you.

  2. http://Carolyn says

    You know Rashel, you should be charging for this! Glad you aren’t because I couldn’t afford it right now, but you really should. Sadly, we too went the path of a Guernsey with mastitis. We knew we shouldn’t buy her, but her living conditions were deplorable for her and her calf. So yeah we bought them and gave her a good life in green pastures, but her digestive system was trashed by feeding concentrated rations. At that time I didn’t know how to help her heal. Needless to say her milk never made good cheese and whatever was wrong with her gut eventually was her demise. Lesson: don’t buy a dairy animal in less than perfect health-a very expensive lesson for us. The vet did what he could, but told us the fellow ruined her by feeding her an abnormal diet.


  1. […] Throughly clean and sanitize counters, sink and any place you will be making cheese. Refer to Part 4 of my Cheesemaking Series for more information. Optional step, check pH of cold milk. pH of good raw milk should be between […]

  2. […] ← Milk and Sanitation (Part 4 Cheesemaking Series) December 19, 2012 · 7:58 PM ↓ Jump to Comments […]

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