It’s actually very easy to pasteurize your own milk on the stovetop. An added bonus is that your milk won’t need to stand up to long-distance shipping and prolonged storage, so you can pasteurize it safely using lower heat and less time than many industrial milk producers use. All you need is a stainless steel pot and a simple kitchen thermometer. Just follow these simple steps for home pasteurization:
- Pour the raw milk into the stainless steel pot. If you have a double boiler, that will work even better to keep the milk from scalding. If you don’t have a double boiler, you can put one stainless steel pot inside a larger pot with a few inches of water at the bottom. If you can’t achieve this setup, then you’ll just need to be careful to heat the milk gently.
- Slowly heat the milk to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, stirring occasionally. If you are not using a double boiler, stir frequently to avoid scalding the milk.
- Hold the temperature at 145 F for exactly 30 minutes. You may need to increase and decrease the heat to keep the temperature constant.
- Remove the pot of milk from the heat and place it in a sink or large bowl filled with ice water. Stir constantly until the temperature drops to 40 F.
- Store pasteurized milk in the refrigerator.
NOTE: This information is in accordance with numerous respected cookbooks, including the timeless Joy of Cooking (Simon & Schuster, 2007) and the cheesemaker’s trusty resource, Home Cheese Making (Storey, 2002).
— Tabitha Alterman, senior associate editor