Milking it for What it's Worth

30/01/2011

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Milking it for What it


Whether it’s due to intolerances, allergies, lifestyle choices or just plain flavour, there are a number of varieties of milk on the market. Although most people start off drinking from our mothers supply, it is not long before they’re turning to another mammal and adding cow’s milk to their cereals, milkshakes, coffees, and any other dairy based dishes.

Drinking milk can have many health benefits too such as the protection against tooth decay and osteoporosis. It’s good for strong bones, teeth, nails and hair and acts a good antacid.

Drinking a hot glass of milk before bedtime has been known to soothe your nerves and relax your tense muscles putting you off to sleep immediately. Milk is also known to be full of nutrients that our body requires to operate properly.

It contains vitamins (for red blood cells), calcium (for strong bones), carbohydrates (for energy), magnesium (for supple muscles), phosphorus (for utilizing the energy), potassium (for a good nervous system), protein (for growth and healing processes), riboflavin (for a healthy and glowing skin) and zinc (to boost the immune system).

But cow’s milk isn’t for everyone, there are lots of alternatives out there and they’re gaining popularity all over. Some people are forced to drink a different kind but some just like to experiment.

Here is a list of some of the popular kinds of milk available.

Cow’s Milk
This is the most common milk. You will find it in supermarkets, shops and service stations available in full cream, low fat, skim, lactose free, organic, flavoured, and more.

Soy Milk
Soy milk, made from soybeans, is the most popular alternative to cow’s milk. Many vegans and vegetarians drink soy milk in preference to cow's milk, as do people with lactose intolerance.

Rice Milk
Rice milk is a kind of grain milk processed from rice. It is mostly made from brown rice and commonly unsweetened. Compared to cow's milk, rice milk contains more carbohydrates, but does not contain significant amounts of calcium or protein, and no cholesterol or lactose. Commercial brands of rice milk, however, are often fortified with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, vitamin B12, vitamin B, and iron.

Sheep’s Milk
This milk is thick and creamy and not widely drunk in any modern culture. It’s mainly used in cheeses and Greek-style yoghurts.

Oat Milk
Oat milk is sweeter and higher in fibre than most other milks. It’s usually available in the UHT section of the supermarket.

Buffalo’s Milk
Buffalo milk is sweet and creamy making it great for coffee.

Buttermilk or Cultured Milk
This has a tangy flavour and is ideal for baking. A special starter culture is added to the pasteurised milk to develop the flavour and acidity.

UHT Milk
UHT or ultra heat treated milk is a form of milk that has been heated to a temperature of at least 135°C in order to kill off any harmful micro-organisms which may be present in the milk. The milk is then packaged into sterile containers.

All milk that is available for sale to consumers through supermarkets must be pasteurized i.e. heated to 71.7°C in order to make it safe for consumers and improve its shelf life. However UHT milks have a longer shelf life as a result of the higher temperatures to which they are heated and the packaging used to store them.

Condensed Milk
Condensed milk is cow's milk from which water has been removed and to which sugar has been added, resulting in a very thick, sweet product which when canned can last for years without refrigeration if unopened. Condensed milk is used in numerous dessert dishes in many countries.

Goat’s Milk
Goat’s milk is slightly sweet with a salty undertone. It can be used as an alternative to cow’s milk and it’s also used for cheeses.

Matt Clark Culinary Consultant, Freelance Writer and Culinary Madness

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