ConsumerismFermentingHealth & DiseaseProcessing & Food Preservation

Raw Milk Butter Making at Zaytuna Farm

Milking a cow in central Europe
Photo © Craig Mackintosh
(Other photos below: Salah Hammad)

Raw milk! Yes raw milk! For me, it was a first time! I grew up loving milk and milk products, but also grew up afraid of raw milk. We’ve always been taught that milk needs to be boiled. In University during my Food Technology courses we called it pasteurized and Ultra Heat Treated (UHT) milk.

Huge amounts of milk were produced by grain by-product fed cows. Due to the commercialization of milk production there was a need to control the unsanitary conditions that were prevailing which resulted in milk that is unfit for consumption. One easy option was to pasteurize all the milk before it left the dairy, ensuring that all pathogens were eradicated and milk was safe for human consumption.

On the other hand, grass-fed, healthy cows will produce milk which can be considered complete balanced food which we can live on exclusively if required, and some of the differences compared to heat treated milk as described by Kay Baxter and Bob Corker in their book (Change of Heart, the ecology of nourishing food) is that:

  1. Significant amounts of vitamins are lost in pasteurization.
  2. Many minerals, and some proteins become less bio-available.
  3. Enzymes are destroyed in pasteurization, which means that instead of the milk digesting itself inside our stomach, we are putting strain on our digestive system resulting in milk allergies.
  4. Raw milk tastes better!

As long as you know where the cows are grazing, and know where they’re being milked (and probably even giving a hand with that), then there’s no reason to worry, and I do encourage every person to go out there, find a milk source for yourself, get engaged with the process, give a hand and you will appreciate the milk and dairy products you are having much more.

Raw milk is super alive, as mentioned above. The enzymes are alive, the beneficial micro-organisms are happy and kicking, and the fat and water soluble vitamins are waiting to be absorbed with the minerals. This means that all products made from this raw milk will be alive as well.

PRI’s student and intern head count drops, obviously, between courses, so the demand for fresh milk for breakfast, coffee and tea decreases at these times, but with the two cows still milking as usual we had a lot of milk in the fridge, some stored for a few days already, so the fat has already separated and formed a good layer of cream which we could spoon out and collect.

Milk with a layer of Cream

Two jars of this cream was collected, around 4-5 litres, and was whipped in a food processor until the buttermilk separated from the butter. Some suggest to keep the cream out of the fridge for 12 hours before we want to make it into butter to allow a natural fermentation process to start which will give a sour flavor for the butter.

To separate the butter from the remaining whey, either apply a bit of pressure on top of the butter or hold it under a cold tap while squeezing until the whey stops coming out, adding salt at this point and mixing it well and putting it in the fridge.

Buttermilk is what we have left. It could be used to make feta cheese, or could be added while making bread, or left to ferment and make Shaneena from!

It was an enjoyable day in the kitchen today. I learned a lot and experienced raw dairy science first hand!

One last word, question everything you eat, and explore what worked for generations before ours.


  1. I weas raised on and worked on dairy farms in the middle of the North Island New Zealand south of Hamilton and drank ownly raw milk up until I was about 21yrs of age and left the rural life to live in the city and pursue a building career and from that time on ownly rearly drank milk and used milk products as town milk tasted horrible and still dose to my mind
    I also rember going to stay at my nannas during school holidays and helping her to make butter from raw milk in a wooden churn that I can still invisage to this day (being a retired wood worker maybe I should make a churn like she had could be a need for things like that in the future , project number 5 )and all the home cooking that kept us fit and healthy . Sometimes when whiping cream we would over do it and finnish up with unsalted butter that we did’nt realy like but was used for cooking.Those were were the days of home grown fruit and vegeies and we were fit and healthy out in the sun with no sun cream or sloshing around in the mud or rain and never got sick. Kids are so molly-codled and sickly these days poor devils , I’m 72 this year and have mostly lived a life free of sickness except for the odd ache and pain but we still keep pushing the boundaries, you die if you sit down for to long move it man ROGER

  2. I grew up in Europe, I worked in the European organic dairy industry for several years, then moved down under and worked in the dairy industry in New Zealand and Australia. I drank thousands of litres of raw milk, ate raw milk cheeses, yoghurts, etc. in my life. But honestly, I wouldn’t want to drink raw milk from the average Australian or New Zealand farm. They have way too many cows and they work dirty. In Europe farms have much fewer cows. Sometimes just 10, 20 or 30. The utter of every cow gets washed before milking, every cow gets monitored for health issues, milk gets tested regurarly. On Australian and New Zealand dairy “factories” they have hundreds, even thousand of cows per farm. They work very fast and very rough. It’s cheap mass production. Lots of dirt goes into the milk. Milk from sick cows as well. It’s a mess. The farmers here work like knowing everything gets pasteurised anyway, so they don’t care. That’s the problem. The end product (pasteurized milk in the supermarket) is rubbish. It’s so bad, I don’t buy it anymore. The real reason the government punishes people for selling raw milk is because the political parties get paid by big business who want to keep out competition from small farmers. They don’t want small farmers to be independent. It’s a mafia system, it only benefits a few billionaires. Everyone else is worse off: The farmers who slave for the big dairy giants + the consumers who get a poor product. The politicians do what the billionaires order them to do. And that’s ALWAYS bad for the people…

  3. Good article, I remember the dairy farmer who delivered chilled raw milk to our north Brisbane home
    and business until the early 1950’s. The milk was delicious and my parents battled to keep the supply as long as they could. But the dairy farm was sold and the milk company agreed to deliver bulk milk which was pasteurised. Later homogenisation of milk was forced on the community in the same way. The process was sold to the community as being no different but that is untrue as pasteurised homogenised milk is even more difficult to digest than the pasteurised product. Homogenisation simply prevents milk from souring, and the cream from rising. All the hype about milk having to be pasteurised was simply to scare the public and steer the market towards mass marketed milk.
    Thus dairy farmers are tied to the owners of factories which process milk and we the public denied a healthy product, and anyone who wants to sell raw milk is likely to be fined for ‘endangering health’.

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