Raw milk pasteurizing

Once a week I pay $6 (the equivalent of 18 eggs or an equal amount in a variety of my fresh produce) as my ‘share’ for access to a cow from whom I get 1 gallon of milk. When I get the milk back to the kitchen, I skim the raw cream off, refrigerate it and put the milk in a pasteurizer. I keep the fresh cream for our coffee (and if you have never had fresh, raw cream in your coffee you are missing out!) and pasteurize the fresh milk so I can make it into yogurt or fresh ricotta cheese.

Here is fresh milk I am about to pasteurized by hand on the stove.
Here is fresh milk I am about to pasteurize by hand on the stove.

To pasteurize, you can either buy a home pasteurizing machine, which I have now done, or do it on the stove. To do this safely on the stove, bring the milk to 145 F degrees and hold it there at temperature for 30 minutes, then cool it quickly.  Before I bought my pasteurizer, I did it this way.

Once this process is complete, remove the pot from the stove and immediately transfer it to a sink full of cold water with ice cubes, and stir the milk until the temperature comes down significantly (when it stops dropping). Once cooled, put it in a clean container and store in the fridge as you would any milk you buy from the store.

Pasteurizer filled with milk and ready for processing.
Pasteurizer filled with milk and ready for processing.

If you use a home pasteurizer, follow the directions for use. With mine, I first pour the milk into the container that fits inside the pasteurizer, then place the container inside the pasteurizer and fill the machine with water. I then place the lid on top, plug it in, and walk away until it is done. That easy. My machine has a buzzer to let me know when it is done. NOTE: the first few times of use, you should check the temperature of the milk once the cycle is complete, just to check that the machine is calibrated correctly.

Once it has finished the pasteurization through temperature process, you then sluice the container with cold, running water until the milk is cool, much the same as the above process. Then transfer it to a clean container and store in fridge until you want to use it.

NOTE: other sources say you can bring the milk to 165 F degrees for just a few seconds and then cool it immediately for safe pasteurizing.

See the following links for further information about pasteurizing milk safely:

University of Guelf Dairy Science

Health & Beyond (see table 2)

See the following Blog to read the issues around access to raw milk in Canada:

The Bovine

Go to Hoegger Goat Supply for home pasteurizing machines:

Hoegger Goat Supply


Filed under Food Security, Food Sovereignty, How to..., personal food sovereignty, Politics of Food, Preserving the harvest

19 responses to “Raw milk pasteurizing

  1. Awesome information! I had been told the process was fairly simple (sort of), but I had no idea that it could be done easily at home. You have so many good posts on your blog – I need to dedicate a time to sit down and learn some things from reading here!

  2. City Mouse: just tried your blog again, it says I must log on to WordPress to leave a comment. I don’t get this on any other blog I’ve tried to leave comments with. Do you have your settings such that a log-in is necessary? Can you turn that off?

  3. Is the dairyman(person) doing the milk share testing his milk for pathogens? It’s legal in some states here to sell raw milk, others not. Huge dairies lobby to prevent the sale of raw milk direct to the consumer.

    I was just wondering if he/she recommends pasteurizing the milk for some reason.

    Here is a good link if you are interested in more raw milk info.

  4. olddani

    I was going to ask the same as Trapper. If it’s regularly tested and clear of pathogens, I personally wouldn’t pasteurise it. Curious to know why you do.

    I miss my raw milk contact. He stopped supplying the public earlier this year.

  5. Trapper & Olddani,

    I pasteurize it to make the fresh cheese and yogurt because in the cheese making book that I have (New England Cheese Co.) it says that unless you are going to age the cheese for at least 60 days, then you should pasteurize it.

    Quite simply, I know no other way. I wasn’t raised on a farm and so have to overcome my ‘ignorant’ ways!

    Enlighten me…

  6. PS. there is no testing facility here, not even sure what that would look like or entail.

  7. LittleFfarm Dairy

    I must admit we don’t pasteurise our milk for home consumption; & we’ve never felt healthier. And of course I do use it for making cheese & yogurt at home. However as we do regularly test for pathogens & I know the exact provenance of my milk, I’m lucky that way. If you’re an infant, elderly, infirm or pregnant however, I’d recommend pasteurising ALL milk & cream, to be ‘on the safe side’.

    We do have to pasteurise the milk when making ice cream (as it’s for commecial consumption).

    Just a couple of small points – you mention testing the temperature of the milk once the cycle is complete – I’d recommend testing periodically throughout the process. I say this because I was batch pasteurising 60 litres yesterday & the temperature rose nicely above the requisite minimum, so I started timing the batch – but dipped slightly shortly afterwards so we had to recalculate the whole process. I’d also recommend regularly agitating the milk as you can get ‘cold spots’ in the vat. And make sure your buzzer only starts ticking when the milk is at the right temperaure – & that that too, is calibrated correctly – time AND temperature are equally important.

    The other point is you mention that after cooling (incidentally the milk MUST get to below 5 degrees celcius wthin 90 minutes to be correctly pasteurised – cooling is an equally important part of the process) to decant the milk into ‘clean containers’. I’d like to add the word ‘sterilised’ because pasteurisation doesn’t kill off all the bugs; & if your container isn’t sterilised they could multiply at an alarming rate.

    Also, don’t be tempted to reuse plastic milk containers frm the store – better to use glass, much less chance of contamination (plastic, being slightly porous, can retain pathogens – they found this out in Holland to their detriment when recycling milk containers – a lt of people got sick as a result!).

    Testing inolves sending a sample off to a suitably acredited laboratory where they culture it & send you readings for various pathogens: Aerobic Cell Count (overall bugs); listeria; salmonella; e.coli etc etc. There are maximum/minimum acceptable levels where if your test comes out on the high side, you can’t sell your milk. Any milk sold commercially – for whatever purpose – should be tested this way. There are all sorts of other regualtions but i won’t bore you with them…yaaawn!

  8. Interessante Informationen.

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  10. Jessica Price

    I live in Rwanda, which is a big milk country. A friend of mine is trying to find a home pasteurizing machine for his elderly mother. My friend’s mom boils milk everyday for resale but at her age it is now too much. Can you recommend some companies that sell home pasteurization machines?

    Thank you, Jessica

  11. greg yeadon

    As from this month, the only dairy here in Barbados stopped selling pastuerised fresh milk, so can only get UHT. We have started to but raw milk from a farmer. Please give me a link as to where I can order that home pastewurising machine you use. Thanks, Greg Yeadon.

    • Hello Greg and Jessica,

      I bought my pasteurizing machine from Hoegger Goat Supply. I would recommend shopping around though. There may be something better on the market that is more suitable to your specific needs.

      good luck,


  12. Mary

    Hi. Did you have any issues when you first started getting the clasp (with the ball) to lock onto the pail? I just bought the same pasteurizer used and I am having a hard time getting the clasp on. The bucket also keeps trying to float up. Do I need over a gallon of milk? Thanks,

    • I had all those problems Mary! It doesn’t look like it should work but it does. I too thought I’d have to cover the milk but you don’t. The ball goes over the hole at the top of the milk pale. That helps clamp it all down and it took me a while to figure that out!

      Good luck.


  13. In North Carolina, there is a statute that raw milk must only be used to feed animals. How can you tell if your pasteurization has reached a grade of “A”, which is what is required for human consumption in this state? I’d love to own a cow for my personal consumption but in this state they dwell on the things they shouldn’t and turn blindly away from legitimate issues.

  14. Elle

    the RAW milk is what is beneficial – all the vit, minerals, enzymes are intact. i suggest you research realmilk.com and westonaprice.com and just google raw milk – there is sooooo much info out there and many, many testimonials. personally I “reversed” osteopenia…..

  15. suzanne

    What Pasturizer did you get—I dont want to get ripped off since they are so exppensive.

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