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Pasteurized vs. Cultured?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Does anybody out there know and could put it in simple terms the difference and/or similarities of pasteurized and cultured cheese?:confused:
Just wondering. Thanks!:chef:
post #2 of 6
Some cheeses are make with pastuerized milk, where the milk is heated to kill bacteria. Then flavors are added, along with cheese-style-specific bacterial agents, the milk curdeled, curds strained from the whey, pressed into a form, and aged. Most commercially produced cheeses are made with pastuerized milk.

Other cheeses are made by using raw milk (unpastuerized) and the whole process described above. Generally speaking, cheeses made with raw milk have more depth of flavor due to the presence of wild bacteria and yeasts in addition to the specific cheese bacterial agents.

There are lots of ways that flavors are developed using specific, cheese making bacteria. Some are mixed into the milk before the curds are made (cheddars, monterey jack etc.). Others are sprayed with the bacteria after the curds have been pressed into forms (Brie, Camembert, St Nectaire). Yet others are injected into the pressed curds (bleus) and yet others are made with a combination of techniques.

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post #3 of 6
Hi SometimesCooks,

Foodnfoto has it right for cheeses but I think that maybe the question you are asking is about other dairy products like sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt and the like.

<Pasteurized> and <cultured> are terms that appear in Canada (I cannot speak for the US). The terms are not necessary opposite to each other but in dairy products they are somewhat antonyms.

Buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream and the like (other then cheese), are manufactured using pasteurized milk (or cream or a combo). That is not what the <pasteurized> word on the label means. The milk is inoculated with bacterial cultured and left to <ferment> until the desired consistency and flavour is achieved. The product is said <cultured> if live cultures are used to make it and the product is sold still alive (sold as is).

Many large corporations dislike when their products continue to <mature> on the shelves so they pasteurized the product after the culturing process to kill the culture and prevent additional <aging> hence increasing the aesthetic shelf life appearance of the product. These products are identified as <pasteurized> hence the opposite term of <cultured>.

I for one cannot find buttermilk in the supermarket that is unpasteurized but almost all sour creams are cultured. Yogurt is half and half depending on the manufacture.

In Canada, except for raw milk cheeses that require 60 days of ripening before being sold, all milk for consumption and culturing is homogenized and pasteurized. It is illegal to sell raw milk other then for cheese making.

On a health note, I strongly believe that cultured (hence unpasteurized) dairy products encourage good intestinal flora and are healthier then pasteurized products and homogenized/pasteurized milk. That is why I make cultured dairy products at home.

(as a foot note: Milk for cheese making is pasteurized differently (low temp, long time) then other liquid milk (high temp short time) and never homogenized. It is difficult (not impossible) to make cheese with homogenized/pasteurized supermarket milk. I know, I experimented (with success)).


Luc H.
I eat science everyday, do you?
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I eat science everyday, do you?
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post #4 of 6

I have a question for you in addition to the one asked because it sparked my interest. I have cheese it says Pasteurized on the front but in the ingredients it says Cultured milk. My son is allergic to Pasteurized milk. What does this mean to me and my son? thanks Rachel

post #5 of 6

Pasteurizing is just heating the product to a specific temperature for a specific time to limit the growth of some harmful microbes.

 

You can make yogurt--and cheese--with pasteurized milk as well as with unpasteurized milk.  

 

Most commercial yogurts are made with pasteurized milk to which live (usually lacto-bacilli) bacteria (the culture) are added. The culture ferments the milk product, turning it into buttermilk, keifer, sour cream, yogurt or cheese, depending on the type of bacteria and, in the case of cheese, sometimes mold, that is added.

 

Fermenting/culturing milk products was initially done to preserve milk before the days of refrigeration. Cultured milk products keep longer than fresh milk, whether the milk used to make them has been pasteurized or not.

 

In the US, in many states, unpasteurized dairy products are banned from sale. The USDA mandates that raw milk cheeses must be aged for 60 days before they can be sold.

post #6 of 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rachel Humphrey View Post

I have a question for you in addition to the one asked because it sparked my interest. I have cheese it says Pasteurized on the front but in the ingredients it says Cultured milk. My son is allergic to Pasteurized milk. What does this mean to me and my son? thanks Rachel

I'm not sure on this, but if your son is allergic to pasteurized milk, he will be allergic to any milk products.  Pasteurizing is simply heating the milk to kill bacteria, etc that is in it.  It doesn't really change the milk composition itself.  I've heard of people allergic to milk products being able to consume raw or cultured without any problem.  The only way to really test that is to eat a very small amount and see what happens.  If the allergy is extremely severe, don't think I'd risk it.  Just my opinion.

 

As for difference between cultured and pasteurized....as I said pasteurizing is heating the milk to a temp that will kill bacteria, etc.  Shelf stable milk is simply heated so much that it kills everything so there is nothing left to spoil.  Culturing is letting the milk "sour" or adding something to it to make a specific culture (i.e. kefir grains, yogurt cultures, and different cultures for cheeses)

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