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4 Tips for Filtering, Chilling and Cleaning Up To Ensure Clean and Safe Milk

| 2/9/2015 8:40:00 AM

In my previous posts on making clean milk I covered the definition of clean, how to find a healthy cow, how to set up a clean milk parlor and how to milk. Now I will discuss filtering, chilling and cleaning up.

1. Filter With the Quickness

After milking, I release my cows from the parlor and take the milk to my milk room. This room is a lot like a kitchen, kept clean and free of any animals. In our barn the milk parlor is downstairs and the milk room is upstairs. In here I filter my milk with a stainless milk strainer into a separate stainless milk can (for making yogurt or cheese) or directly into half-gallon jars (for sippin' milk). It's important to filter relatively quickly after milking to get any hair, dirt or manure out of the milk before it can cause widespread contamination. It will also improve the flavor and keeping quality of your milk to filter quickly. Longer filter time will directly correlate to total bacteria count. Machine milkers get the convenient benefit of an in-line filter either in the bucket or in a pipeline. This is an excellent way to filter very fast and without much trouble.

Courtesy Farm of Milk and Honey

For hand-milkers who don’t have the space for a separate milk room, your kitchen sink will do. Just make sure your filter, sponge, and milk containers are only used for milk handling and always kept clean. Using them for anything else will invite contamination.

2. Chill Out: Cool Milk Down to 40 Degrees Fahrenheit

Best least-cost practice for hand milkers is to place cans or jars of milk into an ice-water slurry to cool down to 40°F in under two hours. Simply placing warm jars into a refrigerator will not cool milk fast enough. E. coli proliferates in pasteurized and raw milk that reaches temperatures above 40°F during transportation and handling. The same may be true for homestead dairies. Try not to submerge the jar as water can get into the lid before it seals. The best high-tech option is to use a bulk tank (seen below) to maintain low temperatures. Bulk tanks agitate the milk which cools milk very fast, mixes the fat and skim layers which prevents bacterial growth and ultimately extends shelf-life and lowers bacteria counts. Shelf-life can be extended by 100 percent with a bulk tank.

Courtesy Bob-White Systems

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