Fresh milk is derived from the mammary glands of animals like; cattle, sheep and goat. Their high nutritional content has made them a good substitute food for babies when they are still at a tender stage. In most countries, almost half of this milk produced is consumed in their liquid form without being processed into other products. Presently, milk is being used to manufacture various dairy products which are more stable than ordinary milk.
Dairy products are foods which are produced from milk. Dairy products in most cases are more palatable than ordinary milk. Turning milk into other food products gives you an opportunity to enjoy variety of food options from the same food base material. Dairy products are very common in the food industry and they include;
Butter is made from fresh milk without adding any artificial ingredient. Butter is produced by churning the cream gotten from the fresh milk. The cream is churned to separate the water from the fat in the milk. The separated fat is called Butter. The watery-by-product that is produced during churning of the cream is known as butter milk. This butter milk can be used to make margarine and other buttery flavoured spreads. Butter contains vitamin A, vitamin D, and vitamin E. These vitamins are essential for healthy eyes, healthy skin and strong bones. This nutritional benefit makes butter a highly nutritious food.
Cheese is also produced from fresh milk. Cheese is produced by adding an enzyme called rennet to the milk. This enzyme causes the milk solids/curds to separate from the watery part of the milk which is the whey. After the separation, the curds are heated to harden them, after which they are pressed into a mould and left to ripen or mature. It is during the ripening stage that it develops the characteristic flavour of cheese. The soft cheese type doesn’t go through the ripening stage. Cheese is concentrated with key nutrients like calcium, protein, vitamin A, B12 and D. They also have an average fat content of 34%.
Yoghurt is produced by fermenting fresh milk with bacteria. Cow milk is most commonly used in producing yoghurt. Beneficial bacteria are added to fresh milk to turn it sour. The bacteria cause the sugar in the milk to ferment, thereby producing lactic acid. Lactic acid then reacts with the protein in the milk to form yoghurt. Yoghurts can be flavoured with sugar and fruits. The key nutrients that yoghurts provide include; calcium, protein and vitamin B2.
- Ice cream
Ice cream is a sweetened frozen food produced from milk. It is produced by mixing the milk with sugar and colourings or alternative spices like vanilla and cocoa. These ingredients are mixed together thoroughly and a stabilizer is added to the mixture. The mixture is then stirred to incorporate air spaces and cooled below the freezing point of water. This prevents detectable ice crystals from forming. Ice creams can be served with desserts such as apple pie, or used as an ingredient in milk shakes, ice cream cakes and ice cream floats.
There are other food ingredients that are gotten from milk. These ingredients cannot be eaten as foods but are used in the preparation of different foods. These ingredients are called milk-by-products and they include;
- Cream: This is the part of milk that is rich in milk fat. Cream is extracted from fresh milk by skimming or centrifuging the milk. Creams can be used to produce other things like whipping cream, whipped cream, fermented cream, reconstituted cream and acidified cream. Creams are rich in vitamin A and vitamin D.
- Whey Products: Whey is the liquid part of milk that remains after curd separation in cheese making. Whey can be sweet or acidic. The main use of whey in food is in production of whey cheese, whey drinks and fermented whey drinks.
- Casein: Casein is the principal protein in milk. It is used as an ingredient in production of several foods like cheese and bakery products. Casein is extracted from skimmed milk by precipitation with the enzyme rennet or by using a harmless lactic acid bacterium.