How Do I Pasteurize Raw Milk at Home?

| 5/1/2008 12:00:00 AM

Tags: pasteurize, raw milk, cheesemaking, cheese,

How do I pasteurize raw milk at home?

Ashok Ambekar
Mumbai, India

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Hold the temperature at 145 F for exactly 30 minutes. You may need to increase and decrease the heat to keep the temperature constant.
  4. 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.
  5. 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

2/7/2016 6:04:07 PM

I know this is an older post but we pasteurized our firat milk today and it has a very rich smell to it... its not a bad smell just rich. Is this normal? Thanks!

12/12/2013 5:47:43 AM

A handy way to pasteurize is using a digital sous vide controller with digital display and temperature sensor (Dorkfood sous vide - $100 online or others) and a rice cooker. The sous vide controller can keep the temperature at exactly 145 degrees F.

2/9/2013 4:59:06 AM

If everything falls apart the way they say it will this year, I will own a goat or two and a dairy cow. Thanks for this.

kim northrop
3/26/2012 3:36:00 PM

A great way to pasteurize milk is using a solar oven--no fear of burning. Kim Northrop,

5/17/2011 6:19:09 PM

It may be three years since you posted this, but I'm happy to find it now anyway. It will be very useful when next we go visiting my husband's family in Syria. Most milk there is sold warm, hand-scooped from a big, open plastic barrel. Until now, I've been boiling it as my in-laws do, but just the stink of boiling milk is enough to make me feel ill. (My grandmother's remedy for loose stool was to drink well boiled milk. Blech!) If I can also figure out how to remove the butter fat, I may be able to drink some milk the next trip. I haven't drunk what passes for whole milk since the 60's; even at 3.75% bf, it tastes pretty bad to me. Thank you.

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