Sunday, December 15, 2019

I Know Why My Cheese Doesn't Melt

My 2018 Camembert

Hi Friends,

I've done a lot of research and for those interested, I'm about to talk about why my cheese is not melting; as well as the outrageous way that milk is manufactured here.

Thanks to Leanna for suggesting some things that got me started on my melting research! FINALLY I found information that didn't require me to go back to University:

"Cheese is mostly protein, fat, and water, you can kind of think of cheese as a sponge." explains David Montgomery (Outreach Specialist and Assistant Coordinator at the Center for Dairy Research in Madison, Wisconsin).

"The protein strands, also known as casein, form the spongey-part of the sponge, the structure that gives the cheese its shape. The gaps in between the strands—or the "holes" in this proverbial cheese sponge are filled with fat and water, the other two main ingredients in cheese. So when a cheese is heated up, the protein structure breaks down, releasing the fat and the water, and that is what causes cheese to melt." (

Another lovely fact: 

"The nutritional bottom line is that pasteurization and homogenization (in milk) destroy nutrients and proteins, make healthy fats rancid, and cause free radicals to form in the body." (

My 2017 Red Wine Infused Cheddar

The only "whole" milk available to me is pasteurized and homogenized. So basically the milk that I buy has pre-damaged fat molecules and protein structures that are destroyed during production. Using grocery store milk, my cheese will NEVER melt.

By the way, "...and cause free radicals to form in the body"??? This is for another discussion!

I watched a video the other day by Gavin Webber. He lives in Australia and is a fantastic home cheese maker. He said the following - I'm paraphrasing, he was answering a question about North American "whole" 3.25% milk:

- The milk and milk product producers have many sources of dairy milk. They receive milk from a large number of dairy farms and mix them all together.

To make what's labeled as "whole" milk, the producers will skim off enough of the milk fat to make a global 3.25% "whole" milk. In Australia, the norm for "whole" milk is anywhere from 3.6% to 4.2% milk fat. In North America, the regulators have decided (for us) that 3.25% milk fat is more than enough fat for us to consume. We are being gipped!!!

The producers then take the cream (milk fat) that they skimmed off the milk to make both butter and what's labeled "cream". Here is another gip: They thin out the milk fat with water to make it stretch more, then add a gelatin to thicken it. Nobody who buys store bought cream and butter is actually getting pure cream and butter. - 

Now...I knew that our "whole" milk wasn't as fatty as other countries, just from reading things on the Cheese Forum. But I really had no clue about the cream.

So I decided to pull out my Quebon brand supposed 35% milk fat Whipping Cream and check the ingredients. You can see that I circled some culprits with the word "cellulose". This is the definition of cellulose in food production (among others):

A thickener or emulsifier that mixes well with water and prevents the water from separating from the liquid used in products such as ice cream and cream.

Cellulose may also be found on ingredient lists under the names carboxymethylcellulose, microcrystalline cellulose, or MCC. Although cellulose can be found in most plant matter, the most economical sources of industrial cellulose are cotton and wood pulp. (the

Oh dear, that last sentence made me feel sick, makes me think of hot dogs and all that crap they put in as fillers. My grandfather used to say they used sawdust to fill hot dogs...I don't think he was very far off...

So when I buy my supposed "whole" milk, I am buying a milk which has had a great deal of the milk fat destroyed (not to mention the protein structure). When I posed the question "how can I get my cheeses to melt?" I read a suggestion on the cheese forum, "add cream to your milk". Adding grocery store "cream" to my milk might compensate for the destroyed fat by way of cellulose, but will it compensate for the destroyed protein structure? I'm guessing not.

In Quebec there seems to be two dairy cooperatives: Agropur and Parmalat. These cooperatives basically consist of most of the dairy farmers in Quebec who supply the coops with fresh milk. Non-Quebec based cooperatives seem to be supplied their fresh milk from the DFC - Dairy Farmer's of Canada.

I checked the Metro brand butter I buy (that's a grocery store here in Canada). Sure the ingredient says "cream"...but where does Metro purchase their milk products? Likely from coops like Agropur or Parmalat. So wouldn't it be logical to assume that the "cream" they list as the ingredient is the same cellulose-filled cream that is sold by such coops as Agropur or Parmalat?

I found this photo on the internet of the ingredients in the Parmalat "Lactancia" brand of supposed "premium" cream. It lists pretty much the same ingredients as the Agropur Quebon brand. I wonder what their idea of "premium" is? More cellulose???

I won't even start talking about antibiotics, pesticides and the pasteurization and homogenization process...

This really opened my eyes but kind of made me feel like an idiot at the same time - why didn't I know this sooner? I used to read labels meticulously...Anyway, if I want a cheese that melts, I have to find a source of raw milk - which is not available for sale here, it's illegal. I want to live in a world where I can consume a cream that lists ONE ingredient: Full Fat Milk. If I want to add "carob bean gum" hell, I'll do it myself!

Most people don't have the equipment, know-how and room to have a few cows at we have no choice but to buy this stuff if we want to have cow milk products to use in cooking or to drink; unless we are lucky enough to have a friend who owns a cow! 

I could go further and start a conspiracy theory about cheese companies lobbying the milk producers into making shabby products so consumers MUST buy cheese instead of making their own!!! 😊

Do we even know what REAL cow milk and cream tastes like???

I thought about the goat milk that's available here too...the highest fat content is also 3.25% so one can only assume they use the same processes as the cow milk manufacturers. 

I used to laugh at this scene in one of the Simpsons episodes - it's a spoof of the movie Pulp Fiction. The cops are confused by McDonald's calling their beverage a "shake" because they called theirs a Krusty the Clown Brand "Partially Gelatinated Non-Dairy Gum-Based Beverage". Ain't it the truth!

I'm not ready to start making cheese from almond milk either. But then look at the ingredient list on the Natura brand almond milk...not as bad as the cow creams, but still, gellan gum is also an artificially manufactured gelling agent. 

For another discussion: how are you supposed to feel good about drinking a vegan beverage when it's still filled with processed additives? And furthermore, how are normal people with modest incomes supposed to afford organic food? The regulators and governing bodies make it all so difficult and expensive on the organic producers that they have to charge more for their products. It's kind of depressing that a Big Mac is cheaper than a half pound of grass-fed organic beef. 

I'm really considering getting a few cows when I settle down. Some days I feel like packing my essentials, moving into the woods and becoming a self-sufficient hermit...

Now I need to figure out why some of my cheeses are too tangy.




Leanna said...

Government agencies assume that they are making food items more healthy for us when in fact they aren't. It's the additives that are killing us not the actual food itself.

Rain said...

I agree Leanna. Real food does not exist in a package.

Leigh said...

Well, the government always knows best! ;)

Very interesting post, Rain. Good job on your research. At least now you have answers.

Nothing beats your own source of milk. That's definitely a priority once you get settled on your own place.

Rain said...

Big brother huh Leigh? ;) Thanks, this took me ages to find, I don't know why (or maybe I suspect I do) this information is so tough to find in LAYMAN'S terms. I know that none of my cheeses will melt so that actually makes me feel a bit better instead of feeling frustrated as to why! I'll still make them but have no intention of making them to melt, just to snack. But once I have my own raw milk source - LOOK OUT! :)

Leftycrafter said...

I know what real milk tastes like. My paternal grandma had a farm with cows and we got fresh milk at ever meal. She had a separator that took a lit of the " cream" off the top and she made butter with it. Yes, she had a wooden butter churn. She would save some of the cream for coffee. I was never a fan of that milk. It was too rich but the butter. ....yummy.

Rain said...

I'm a little envious Marsha! I would really love to taste raw milk. I'd love to make my own butter too, I'm sure it was so good! I wouldn't mind churning either! :)

Connie said...

Very interesting post. Maybe when you get your own place you can raise goats. I've heard that their milk makes wonderful cheese and they are the sweetest of animals.

Martha said...

When you start reading ingredients on labels, you realize what horrible things we're being fed. It's pretty scary.

Rain said...

Thanks Connie :) I thought about goats too. I always thought I'd love to have a little herd. I have a lot to learn about farm animals, how to care for them, what it all entails etc...I'm heading in the self-sufficient direction that's for sure!

Rain said...

You're right Martha. Fillers, thickeners, additives...I want REAL food.

Morgana said...

Hi - new to your blog. I am in the U.S., and while many of our states allow the sale of raw milk in some stores (it is legal, but many stores will not chance the liability or stock things that don't move as quickly) it is still not the norm here. It is also VERY expensive, conventional milk being around five dollars a gallon, and raw milk retailing at around $14. per gallon. This is a topic that has had me inflamed so many times over the years. Mostly at the inconsistencies of our governing bodies. For instance, why can we buy raw meat, which some may eat in that state and become similarly ill, but we can't buy raw milk? Or, why is it even legal for pregnant women to eat raw fish in any sushi restaurant, but we cannot buy meat directly from the farmer unless it has been USDA approved? WHY ARE PEOPLE STILL ALLOWED TO SMOKE??? It boggles the mind. It has everything to do with products that the government subsidizes here in the US. If they subsidize, like they do with milk and meat, they have a heavy hand in how we are able to consume.

I can see why someone like you, a very serious hobbyist, gets frustrated. Might be time to get a cow or a few goats, eh? LOL!

I am sending hubs out now to get some raw milks to make your Swiss recipe. Love that your blog is so easy to navigate.

Rain said...

Hi Morgana!!! Oh I'm so happy to read your comment! Everything you wrote is so true...and it all has to do with who is in power and who is greasing the regulators I suppose. Everything about regulatory bodies controlling our consumption BOGGLES MY MIND that's for sure. YES...time to get a cow! But right now my hubby and I are renting here so we are stuck buying grocery store milk. When we move to our own place next year (hopefully in an unzoned area) I want to plan a hobby farm with a few cows and some goats. If I can find a farmer neighbour who would be willing to barter some raw milk, all the better.

The cheeses are GOOD, but they just don't melt. Are you going to make the Jarlsberg? We tried to melt that in a fondue and it ended up kind of like a cottage cheese, but I'd love to know how yours turns out with the raw milk!

Just a word of warning. My recipes assume grocery store milk, so I don't know if you'd need calcium chloride, I don't think it'll hurt either way, it helps to set the curd in milk that has been pasteurized and homogenized.

Please let me know how it goes!!! I'm excited to hear about it!!! And thanks so much for visiting!! :)

Alex said...

Yes goat cheese is awesome. Don't let the name fool. But it is pricey.