UNIT-4 Dairy products- milk –its uses composition
and storage, classification and uses of
cheese, butter, cream

Milk composition

Milk provides essential nutrients and is an important source of dietary energy, high-quality proteins and fats.

Milk can make a significant contribution to the required nutrient intakes for calcium, magnesium, selenium,riboflavin, vitamin B12 and pantothenic acid.

Milk and milk products are nutrient dense foods and their consumption can add diversity to plant based diets.

Animal milk can play an important role in the diets of children in populations with very low fat intakes and limited access to other animal source foods.

The species of dairy animal, its breed, age and diet, along with the stage of lactation, farming system, physical environment and season influence the colour, flavour and composition of milk and allow the production of a variety of milk products:

  • Cow milk: Fat constitutes approximately 3 to 4 percent of the solid content of cow milk, protein about 3.5 percent and lactose 5 percent, but the gross chemical composition of cow milk varies depending on the breed.
  • Buffalo milk has a very high fat content, which is on average twice as high as that of cow milk. The fat-to-protein ratio in buffalo milk is about 2:1.The high calcium content of casein facilitates cheese making.
  • Camel milk has a similar composition to cow milk but is slightly saltier. Camel milk can be three times as rich in vitamin C as cow milk and represents a vital source of this vitamin for people living in arid and semi-arid areas, who often cannot obtain vitamin C from fruits and vegetables. Camel milk is also rich in unsaturated fatty acids and B vitamins. Milk from Bactrian camels has a higher percentage of fat than milk from dromedaries, but levels of proteins and lactose are similar. Generally, camel milk is consumed raw or fermented.
  • Sheep milk has higher fat and protein contents than goat and cow milk; only buffalo and yak milk contain more fat. Sheep milk also generally has a higher lactose content than milk from cows, buffaloes and goats. The high protein and overall solid contents of sheep milk make it particularly appropriate for cheese and yoghurt making. Milk from sheep is important in the Mediterranean region, where most of it is processed into cheese.
  • Goat milk has a similar composition to cow milk. In Mediterranean countries and in Latin America, goat milk is generally transformed into cheese; in Africa and South Asia, it is usually consumed raw or acidified.
  • Yak milk tastes sweet and has a fragrant, sweetish smell. It has higher solid, fat and protein contents than cow and goat milk, and resembles buffalo milk. Raw milk is used mainly by herders and their families in milky tea. Yak milk can be processed into a variety of milk products including butter, cheese and fermented milk products.
  • Equine milk: Horse and donkey milk have very similar compositions. Equine milk, like human milk, is relatively low in proteins (particularly caseins) and ashes and rich in lactose. Compared with that of other dairy species, equine milk contains low levels of fat and protein. Most equine milk is consumed fermented and it is not suitable for cheese making.

Water is the principal constituent of milk. The water contents of milk from different dairy species – cattle, buffaloes, yaks, sheep, goats, horses and donkeys – range from 83 percent in yaks to 91 percent

Role of milk and milk products in cookery

• It contributes to the nutritive value of the diet, e.g., milk shakes, plain milk, flavoured milk, cheese toast.

• Milk adds taste and flavour to the product, e.g., kheer, tea, coffee.

• It acts as a thickening agent along with starch, e.g., white sauce or cream soups.

• Milk is also used in desserts, e.g., ice-cream, puddings.

• Curd or buttermilk is used as a leavening agent and to improve the texture, e.g., dhokla, bhatura.

• Curd is used as a marinating agent, e.g., marinating chicken and meat.

• Curd is used as a souring agent, e.g. dry curd chillies.

• Khoa is used as a binding agent, e.g., carrot halwa.

• Milk and curd increase shelf-life poories preserve better when the dough is mixed with milk/curd.

• To prevent browning in vegetables, e.g., butter milk is used for preventing browning when plantain stem is cut.

• Variety to the diet, e.g., butter milk and mutter paneer.

• Cheese is used as garnishing agent.

• Milk is used as clarifying agent in sugar syrup.

• Salted butter milk is used for quenching thirst 

The classification of cheeses

Cheeses are normally classified according to firmness, which varies with the degree of moisture. The moisture content of firm cheeses may be as low as 30%, while that of soft or fresh cheeses may be as high as 80%. The most common designations include fresh (or unripened) cheeses, soft ripened cheeses, firm or semi-firm cheeses, blue-veined, processed and goat’s-milk cheeses.

Fresh cheeses

Fresh or unripened cheeses are coagulated under the action of lactic acid fermentation in the milk instead of adding rennet. While they are drained after formation of the curd, they are neither ripened nor fermented. This category includes cottage cheese, ricotta, mascarpone, cream cheese and quark. Fresh cheeses are mainly used in baking and desserts, plain or flavored with vegetables, fruits, herbs or spices.

Soft cheeses

Soft cheeses are ripened for a relatively short period of time before being drained and turned into molds without being pressed or cooked. They have a moisture content of 50% to 60% and their fat content represents 20% to 26% of the cheese’s weight. They develop a soft rind that can be more or less satiny and are usually eaten with bread, since they tend to lose a lot of flavor when heated.

Soft cheeses are divided in two categories according to the characteristics of the rind: the surface-ripened soft cheeses (covered with a thin layer of a white down or mold) like Brie, Camembert and Coulommiers, and the interior-ripened soft cheeses (washed in light brine to maintain the moisture level and softness of the cheese) like Munster, Pont-l’Évèque and Époisses.

Firm and semi-firm cheeses

Semi-firm cheeses are uncooked pressed cheeses that are dense and usually pale yellow in color. They include Cheddar, Cantal, Reblochon, Edam, Gouda and Monterey Jack. Firm cheeses are cheeses that have been cooked and pressed. The curd is heated for an hour in order to make it more concentrated, which, upon pressing, produces a more compact cheese. Their texture is usually firm, although some hard cheeses, like Parmesan and Romano, may have a rather granular texture. Gruyère, Emmenthal, Jarlsberg, Raclette and Beaufort also are a part of that category.

Pressed cheeses

A hard cheese (as cheddar) that has been subjected to pressure to remove the whey, to produce physical conditions essential to ripening, and to give it a form convenient for handling

Blue-veined cheeses

Blue-veined (or blue) cheeses are neither cooked nor pressed; the curd is inoculated with a species of blue-green mold, which is injected into the cheese by means of long needles. Fermentation occurs from the inside toward the outside. Those cheeses – including Roquefort, Gorgonzola, Stilton, Bleu de Bresse and Danish Blue – have a strong and sharp, peppery flavor and are often crumbled in texture.

Processed cheeses

Process cheeses are cheeses made from one or several cooked or uncooked pressed cheeses that are remelted, and to which milk, cream or butter is added; they keep for a long time. Depending on the product, stabilizers, emulsifiers, salt, colors, sweeteners and seasonings may be added. A more or less soft and elastic texture and a mild flavor are obtained. In North America, these cheeses are mostly made using Cheddar cheese, whereas in Europe, Emmental and Gruyère predominate. Process cheeses have different names depending on the quantity of cheese they contain (process cheese, process cheese food, cheese spread).

Goat’s-milk cheeses

Goat’s-milk (or goat) cheeses are soft cheeses with a natural rind; they may be made from 100% goat’s milk or from a mixture of goat’s milk and cow’s milk. They are available unripened, soft and surface-ripened, or in some cases hard. Whiter than cheeses made from cow’s milk, they also tend to have a more pronounced flavor. These cheeses are often very salty, a factor which has the effect of prolonging their storage life.

Cheeses in this family include Crottin de Chavignol, Valençay, Chevrotin and feta.


Unsalted Butter

Sometimes called “sweet cream butter,” this is the most versatile variety. It will see you through every cooking job, from baking to sautéing. Made from only milk or cream (or sometimes both), it contains at least 80 percent milk fat—the fatty particles in milk that are separated out to make cream.

Salted Butter

Just like the original, but with (surprise) the addition of salt. Many people reach for this when buttering bread, but use caution when you’re cooking or baking, since most recipes call for unsalted butter.

Clarified Butter

Butter is an emulsion made from fat, water, and milk solids. When you heat butter slowly, you’ll notice that it starts to separate into these three components: white milk solids, foam (which is the water evaporating), and bright yellow clarified butter fat. Basically, clarified butter is “pure” fat without the milk solids or water—it’s richer and more shelf-stable than traditional butter. It has its own deliciously toasty flavor and a higher smoke point, too, which make it ideal for high-heat searing and roasting, or for finishing dishes. Ghee is one well-known type of clarified butter.

Organic Butter

Comes from cattle raised without antibiotics or growth hormones and given 100 percent organic feed grown without toxic pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. It is available unsalted and salted and can be used like conventional butter.

Whipped Butter

This variety has air or some other gas, such as nitrogen, added to it to make it less dense than standard butter, so a little goes a long way. The increased volume results in fewer calories per tablespoon (often half) and a lighter texture. Best for spreading on toast and finishing dishes, whipped butter is not recommended for baking or cooking.

European-Style Butter

This is the reason French croissants are so utterly irresistible: Loaded with extra milk fat—82 to 85 percent for most brands—European-style butter has less moisture than standard butter and so produces extra-flaky pastries and tender, fluffy cakes. Because it is made with fermented (also called “cultured”) cream, it has a slight tang. European-style butter can be used for all cooking tasks.

Plant-Based Butter

These are a game changer for those with dairy allergies or anyone practicing a vegan diet. Plant-based butters, made with ingredients like avocado, almond, or olive oil, taste like butter and can be swapped one-for-one for dairy butter in all your favorite recipes. You can find them in both tubs and sticks, so it’s just as easy to bake and cook with as well as spread on toast or bagels.

Spreadable Butter

A combination of regular butter and vegetable oil (and sometimes other flavorings and fillers), this product maintains a soft texture even when refrigerated. It is not recommended for baking or cooking.

Light Butter

This option has half the calories of standard butter because it contains less milk fat—40 percent at most. The rest is made up of water, lactic acid, and other fillers. It is not recommended for baking or cooking.

Pasteurized and Ultra-pasteurized:

Creams will generally be labeled pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized. Pasteurized will provide a better flavor, will whip up fluffier, and will hold up longer. As ultra-pasteurized whipping cream has been heated to above 280 degrees F. to extend its shelf life, it is more temperamental when it comes to whipping. Ultra-Pasteurized Heavy Cream “will not work” if peaks or frothing are required in your recipe.


Varieties of Cream

Extra thick double cream

A rich, thick cream that is made with milk from Guernsey and Jersey cows, it can be used straight from the tub. It has a fat content of 48%. Uses: Spoon over puddings or fruit or add to sauces for a rich, creamy taste. Also ideal for using to fill sponge cakes or gateaux. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date.

Chantilly Cream

Is another name for vanilla-flavored whipped cream. Note: In Italy, crema chantilly is made by folding whipped cream into crema pasticcera (pastry cream) to make a wonderfully decadent concoction.

Clotted cream

Clotted cream is the thickest and richest type available and is traditionally made in Devon or Cornwall (also known as Devonshire or Devon). It is gently scalded to produce its golden crust. It has a spoonable consistency and does not need to be whipped before serving. It has a fat content of 55%- 60% and is not recommended for cooking because it tends to separate on heating. Uses: Traditionally served on scones with jam, also good on fresh fruit and ice cream. A decadent accompaniment to desserts, used in place of regular/pure cream. Ideal as a filling in desserts, and included in sauces and risottos. A great partner to a fresh berry assortment. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 2 weeks and consume by the use by date. It can be frozen for up to 1 month.

Crème fraîche

This is fresh cream which is treated with a bacteria culture that thickens it and gives it a slightly sour taste. It is suitable for spooning, is widely used in French cookery and is becoming increasingly popular in Britain. It has a fat content of 39% and cannot be whipped. For a healthier alternative choose the half fat version. Uses: Crème fraîche is ideal for serving with fruit and puddings, it can also be used for making salad dressings and dips. It can be used in cooking to add a creamy taste to curries, sauces and casseroles. Crème Fraiche is valued by chefs as it is stable when heated and has a more refined flavour. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date. It cannot be frozen.

Double cream (also called “country style”)

This is the most versatile type of fresh cream, it can be used as it is or whipped. It contains 48% fat. Uses: It can be used for pouring over fruit and puddings, used in cooking or whipped and incorporated into dishes or served separately. Whipped double cream can be spooned or piped on to desserts and cakes. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date. It can be frozen for up to 2 months when lightly whipped.

Extra thick single cream

This has the same fat content as single cream (18%) but it has been homogenised to produce a thick spoonable consistency similar to double: it cannot be whipped. Uses: Serve with fruit and desserts. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date. It is unsuitable for freezing.

Flavoured creams

Available at Christmas, Brandy, Calvados, and cinnamon creams are made from a combination of double cream, sugar and alcohol. Uses: Serve with Christmas pudding, apple tart or any chocolate or nut pudding. Spoon over warm mince pies or use to fill brandy snaps. A spoonful of flavoured cream in hot chocolate is delicious. To store: Keep in the fridge and consume by the use by date. Once opened use within 3 days.

Goat’s milk double cream

Made from pasteurised goat’s milk from St Helen’s Farm in Yorkshire, goat’s milk double cream has an ice white appearance and tastes smooth and mild. It is suitable for cow’s milk-free and vegetarian diets. Uses: It can be used for whipping, pouring or simply spooning on to desserts. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date. It can be frozen for up to 2 months when lightly whipped.

Half-and-Half (Also called Coffee Cream)

Is a mixture of half cream and half milk. The milk fat content is 10-12 percent. This cream cannot be whipped. In the United States, half and half is a mix of 1/2 whole milk and ½ cream and is typically used in coffee. Half-and-half does not whip, but it can be used in place of whipping (heavy) cream in many recipes for less fat cooking and may replace whole homogenized milk (3.25% m.f.) in some recipes for a fuller, richer flavor.

Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream

Has the highest amount of milk fat, which is usually between 36 and 40 percent in the United States and as high as 48 percent elsewhere. In the U.S., it is mostly found in gourmet food stores. This cream whips denser than whipping cream. Whips up well and holds its shape. Doubles in volume when whipped.

Long Life Cream (UHT)

Long life cream has undergone ultra heat treatment (UHT) to extend its shelf life. It is heated at high temperatures for a short period to stabilise it. Available in cartons, long life usually contains 35% milk fat. It will whip well if chilled and can be spooned over desserts or used in cooking. Also available in reduced fat.

Manufacturing cream

Has a fat content over 40%, and is generally not available in retail stores. It is primarily used in professional food service.

Pressure Pack Whipped Cream

Convenient packaging for whipped cream (with a minimum of 25% milk fat.! A harmless nitrous oxide gas propellant dissipates rapidly when the pack’s valve is depressed. It delivers already whipped cream to cakes and desserts.

Reduced fat extra thick cream

With 50% less fat than standard thick double cream but all the delicious flavour, this variety contains 24% fat. It is not suitable for whipping or boiling. Uses: Serve with fruit or puddings or use in cooking for a rich, creamy flavour. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date. It is unsuitable for freezing.

Reduced fat single cream

With 25% less fat than standard single cream (it has 12% fat) this is an ideal low fat alternative. It is not suitable for whipping or boiling. Uses: In sauces, soups and dressings and coffee and to pour over fruit. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date. It is unsuitable for freezing.

Single cream

Single cream is a thin cream traditionally used for pouring and for enriching cooked dishes, it contains 18%-20% fat. Also known as light cream. Uses: For pouring over fruit and puddings and in cooking, especially in soups and sauces although it should never be allowed to boil. It is not suitable for whipping. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date. It cannot be frozen unless it is incorporated into a cooked dish.

Sour cream

This is a tangy variety made from fresh single cream. To sour, a culture is added and the cream is heated to about 20°C for 12–14 hours. The lactic acid produced in this process gives a slightly sour taste and a thicker than normal consistency. It is commercially soured by adding a culture – similar to that used in the production of yogurt. It has a fat content of 18% and cannot be whipped. Uses: With its slightly tart flavor, sour cream is often used in soups, sauces and dressings, casseroles and cakes or served on vegetables. Good for savoury dishes such as beef stroganoff and as a base for savoury dips. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date. It cannot be frozen.

Whipping cream

This cream will whip to double its original volume, which makes it perfect for adding to dishes where a light result is needed. Whipping cream contains 30%- 38% fat. Uses: Perfect for mousses and soufflés, filling cakes and gateaux, decorating trifles and topping fruit and ice cream. Float whipped cream on coffee or hot chocolate. Once whipped the cream does not hold its volume for long so it should be used straight away. To store: Keep in the fridge for up to 5 days, once opened use within 3 days and consume by the use by date. Whipping cream can be frozen for up to 2 months when lightly whipped.