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Who Knows about Milk?
Old 09-28-2007, 09:30 AM   #1
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Who Knows about Milk?

We buy two gallons of milk (1% fat) per week. I consume 75% of it.

The milk generally tastes fine, but once in a while it doesn't. Not sour, just something off about it. DW doesn't notice the change, but I do.

Now, Safeway (grocery chain) has two varieties of milk. Both cost about $4.60 for one gallon, but one variety costs $6.19 for two gallons. A safeway employee said that the cheaper type was of lower quality.

Note also that the Horizon organic milk tastes much better, and costs $7.19 per gallon.

So, my questions:

What do you think is different about the two varieties of Safeway milk?

What makes milk higher or lower quality? Cows? Cow food? Processing?

What do you think happens to the milk that makes it taste bad periodically?

Do you think it's harder to make 1% milk taste good than, say, 2% milk?
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:04 AM   #2
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I know what you mean about off flavor of milk. I drink skim milk. Regular skim milk is so watery and it sometimes has that off flavor. I have been getting organic milk that is "VAT pasteurized, non-homogenized, grade A and grass fed"....really good stuff. Never have had an off flavor one yet. The only thing is when I pour my first glass I usually strain it because of the fat (ha...skim milk here) that clumps together at the top of the bottle (non-homogenized). Expensive but oh so good. Maybe it's the grass fed thing.
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:05 AM   #3
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Doesn't the taste have something to do with what Elsie had to eat that day? Really.
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:28 AM   #4
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Yes....I believe the taste of the milk is heavily influenced by the type of feed the cow has eaten.
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:35 AM   #5
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Go with the grass fed. I wouldn't buy Horizon. It is not grassfed, but rather the cows are kept in feedlots and fed organic corn. Not a good life. On the other hand, Organic Valley is actually grass fed, and organic. Go with that. It tastes a lot better!

I have been getting some AWESOME milk from the farmers market that is local (same island, even) grass fed, non homogenized and non pasturized. Also full fat, unfortunately. But delicious! You should shake up any milk to mix it up if it separates.
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:35 AM   #6
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I also thought that a portion of standard milk could be hydrated dry milk but organic milks are all fresh. I could be wrong, I just have a distant memory of reading this somewhere.
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Old 09-28-2007, 10:35 AM   #7
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T-Al:

I'm not a milkman, but I play one on message boards.

But I always try to get the purist milk available from the local store. If organic is available, that's what I get. I do know that dairy cows can be loaded with hormones and antibiotics and, um, nasty stuff. This may be causing the bad tastes you sometimes experience. Milk loaded with crap/chemicals tastes crappy IMO.

A few years back here in Minnesota, they started marking milk containers that did not have rBST in it. Farmers (and their cows) needed to be certified in order to use the non-rBST label. Milk production was lower from these cows and, consequently, the price a bit higher. I gladly pay it if organic milk isn't conveniently available.

RBST - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:01 AM   #8
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these people seem to know a lot:

Milk Grading and Defects

I wonder if this is what you taste? UV from florescent lights causes 'skunking' of beer in clear or green bottles, it is an interaction with the hops.

Quote:
Sunlight

Often confused with oxidized, this defect is caused by UV-rays from sunlight or flourescent lighting catalyzing oxidation in unprotected milk. Photo-oxidation activates riboflavin which is responsible for catalyzing the conversion of methionine to methanal. It is, therefore, a protein reaction rather than a lipid reaction. However, the end product flavour notes are similar but tends to diminish after storage of several days.


Characterized: burnt-protein or burnt-feathers-like, "medicinal"-like flavour


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Old 09-28-2007, 11:03 AM   #9
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Yikes, I just paid $3.29 a gallon for 1% and I thought that was high. Are you in an expensive area?
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:04 AM   #10
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Remember, don't add milk to your tea:

Milk wrecks the health benefits of tea - health - 09 January 2007 - New Scientist

And you've heard the one about milk casein as a promoter of cancer, right?

And the paleo diet guys would ask you what the heck you're doing drinking milk past the age of 4 anyway!
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:08 AM   #11
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It's been forever since I've bought milk, but good lord, I don't think I've ever seen it even close to $4 a gallon for Organic Valley (my preferred brand).

At least with goats, the type of goat, what they're grazing on, and if there is a male with the herd will all affect taste. I'm guessing that it's the same with cow. We just have such a uniform milk taste in the US because we use one predominant type of cow and regulate feeding fairly closely (even grass fed, I'm guessing, are kept on more uniform pastures).
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:28 AM   #12
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i'm sensitive to taste too and have noticed milk does vary from bottle to bottle...haven't noticed between brands - although my sister swears the Swiss brand from Target tastes great...but it's not organic so i don't buy it. i would agree w/ Rich that whatever Daisy eats, we get - but since big business cows don't seem to get much variety, that might not be a factor - except Daisy's mood and health factoring into flavor (ick).

the trader joe's organic is about $6 around these parts for one gallon. and my Target started selling horizon organic - and most things at Target are better priced...but now i know about the corn vs. grass fed, i might try others... Costco also sells the uber pasteurized organic stuff that won't go bad for weeks, but i can't imagine there is much stuff in there that is similar to what milk used to be after that...
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:34 AM   #13
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I'm leaning toward what Bessies ate. The milk form numerous cows are blended together so if one cow happen to graze in an area off limits to grazing that wouldn't effect the taste enough to notice a difference. However if the whole herd didn't read the memo about no grazing in the north field then it would effect the taste.
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:38 AM   #14
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Haven't noticed strange tasting milk but I hate to think about everything that goes into bessie. I pay between $4.69 and $4.99 per gallon for regular store brand milk in a small East Texas town. Nothing expensive about this town except food prices.
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:44 AM   #15
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Let's face the ugly truth, here. Poor refrigeration, poor handling, and unreasonable length of storage are behind a lot of this "bad taste" issue unless the cows are fed something pretty strong.

I don't think slightly "iffy" milk does my digestive tract any good, even if it doesn't exactly poison me. I won't drink it intentionally.

I used to think that "iffy" milk was just a fact of life, but you know what? My present grocery store has NEVER sold me milk that would taste "iffy" before I can finish it (about a week). NEVER, not once in 5+ years, Katrina and all.

If they can do it, why can't all stores?

I forgot to mention that our milk is almost $5/gallon (welcome to post-Katrina New Orleans, where everybody wants your buck).
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:44 AM   #16
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From our local newspaper. Milk is getting confusing. I hope this link doesn't wrap.

http://journalstar.com/articles/2007...d096474423.txt
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:45 AM   #17
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Well so much for that.
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:47 AM   #18
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http://journalstar.com/articles/2007...d096474423.txt
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:47 AM   #19
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Ah! You got it.
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Old 09-28-2007, 11:49 AM   #20
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Different brands taste different. There are some we won't buy. We go through so much milk: about 3 days each for 1 gal skim and 1 gal 2% (4-5 gal/week) that it is never around long enough to get iffy. $4.35/gal here.
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