One of the most widely used ingredients, milk is often referred to as a complete food. While cow's milk continues to be the most popular, other milks are becoming more regularly used in cooking, drinks and cheeses.
Most of the milk we buy is pasteurized, meaning it has been heated to a temperature that removes any potentially dangerous bacteria, however unpasteurized milk is becoming increasingly popular as the general preference for untreated products continues to grow.
Babies, young children, pregnant women and the elderly are advised to avoid eating or drinking unpasteurized milk products. Find out more from The Dairy Council.
Choose the best
Fresh milk from the cow, with nothing added or taken away and generally unpasteurized. Whole milk is naturally rich in a range of nutrients needed for growth, development and maintenance of the human body and has no artificial preservatives or colourings. In Britain, most whole cows' milk comes from Friesian cows, but also comes from Jersey and Guernsey cows.
Semi-skimmed and Skimmed Milk
Milk from which part or all of the fat has been removed. Semi-skimmed milk has a fat content of 1.5 to 1.8 per cent and skimmed milk has a maximum fat content of 0.1 per cent. Skimmed milk is low in calories and fat but is nutritionally almost the same.
Traditionally made from the thin liquid left over after butter-making but is now more often made from skimmed milk, mixed with milk solids and cultured with lactic acid. It contains only 0.1 per cent fat. Creamy and sour in flavour, it is commonly used in baking as it gives bread and cakes a moist texture.
A non-animal derived milk often used by vegans and those with dairy allergies. It has a thicker consistency than cows' milk and a distinctly nutty flavour. It is made from ground soya beans and used to make yogurt, cheese and cream. Use it as you would cows' milk.
Evaporated and Condensed Milk
Evaporated milk is homogenized milk with a reduced water content which means it is almost double the concentration of ordinary milk. It is great for making desserts and puddings. Condensed milk is evaporated milk with sugar added to sweeten and thicken it. Use it for making sweets and puddings.
Check the label when buying fresh milk and store in the fridge for 3-4 days. If not refrigerated fresh milk will go sour very quickly.