There’s little more delicious than a glass of fresh goat milk but, while raw milk does have some advantages, it can also contain potentially harmful bacteria and germs.
Not so long ago, milk produced by the Valley Milk Simply Bottled of Stanislaus County was recalled after it was found to contain traces of the bacteria Campylobacter jejuni – the bacteria responsible for most cases of food poisoning in the US and Europe.
Raw milk may also contain Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria bacteria.
Although raw milk proponents are keen to point out that it contains more good bacteria than bad ones, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) isn’t as convinced.
Many states have made it illegal to sell raw milk, while others have put restrictions in place stating it can only be sold on the farm it was produced on.
While I’ve never had a bad experience with my raw goat milk, now that our production is increasing, I’m considering pasteurizing the excess, so it’s both easier and safer to sell on.
The only problem is, I don’t have a few hundred dollars lying around to spend on a pasteurization machine.
Fortunately, having such a machine isn’t essential, and there are other, more affordable ways to transform unpasteurized milk into a safer, cleaner product.
Three Ways of How to Pasteurize Goat Milk at Home
#1 Pasteurization Machine
Home pasteurizers aren’t cheap, but they do make the process of pasteurizing your goat’s milk quicker and easier than either of the alternative methods.
A home pasteurizing machine consists of a heating mechanism and a stainless-steel container.
Pour your raw, filtered milk into the clean container and place it inside the heating mechanism. The machine will then heat the milk to 165° Fahrenheit for 15 seconds.
Milky's small home pasteurizer is a dual-purpose machine. You can use it not only to pasteurize goat's milk (and other milk, of course) at home but also to make things like cheese and yogurt.
This pasteurizer is its smallest machine; it pasteurizes 3.7 gallons of milk at a time. They also offer a 7.6-gallon machine if you need to pasteurize more milk. Milky's FJ 15 has a 2.8 kW heater which heats the milk to a max of 194F within 75 minutes.
This process is known as High-Temperature Short-Term (HTST) pasteurization or flash pasteurization.
The French scientist, Louis Pasteur, discovered this thermal processing some 150 years ago and realized it was all that was required to “destroy, deactivate, or eliminate unwanted bacteria and pathogens.”
Once the heating process is over, remove the container from your pasteurization machine and place it in an ice bath where it will cool quickly, giving the milk a fresher taste.
#2 Pasteurizing Goat Milk on the Stove
If you don’t feel it necessary to invest in a pasteurization machine, you can pasteurize your milk using a double boiler or canning pot.
This is a durable, commercial-grade double boiler. It's a great size for pasteurizing goat's milk with its 8 quart pot with double boiler insert.
It's made of good quality heavy stainless steel and includes a stainless steel cover.
Heat a small amount of water in the bottom saucepan before adding your raw milk to a stainless steel pot suspended over the pot of boiling water.
Warm the milk until it reaches 165° F using a standard cooking thermometer to measure and maintain that temperature for 15 seconds before removing the milk from the heat and cooling it off in an ice water bath.
Great quality thermometer for a great price. It includes an insulated handle and adjustable pan clip. It's 12" long and made out of stainless steel. Measures in Celcius and Fahrenheit, from 100 to 400F.
Backed with a limited lifetime warranty.
An alternative method involves heating the milk to 145° F for 30 seconds before cooling.
#3 Pasteurizing Milk In an Instant Pot
The latest range of Instant Pot electric pressure cookers are excellent at removing dangerous bacteria from raw milk and enable you to perform the pasteurization process without an accurate thermometer.
Add your fresh goat milk to the inner cooking pot, select the yogurt program, select the correct temperature and time, and away you go.
If you prefer a different pasteurization method, you can use your Instant Pot to pasteurize your milk in glass jars by adding a cup of cold water to the inner pot, along with the steaming rack, and selecting the steam function.
Allow the steam to release naturally for one minute before removing and cooling your freshly pasteurized milk.
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The pressure cooking function cooks your meals up to 70% faster than traditional cooking methods, and it's quick and easy to clean.
Download the free app for tons of guided, step-by-step recipes, too!
The Benefits of Pasteurization
Not only will pasteurization remove harmful bacteria from your goat milk, but it will also extend its shelf life.
Even when refrigerated, raw goat milk only lasts three to ten days (sometimes even longer) whereas pasteurized milk will keep for two to seven weeks!
Pasteurized milk may also be better for your goat kids as it kills off any contaminants, making the milk safer and the kids healthier.
If you are unlucky enough to have a doe with Caprine arthritic encephalitis virus, heat-treating the colostrum and pasteurizing the milk is the only way to prevent the kids from becoming infected.
Home Pasteurization: The Answers You Need to Get Started
The Pros and Cons of Raw Milk
Many people drink raw goat milk without any unpleasant repercussions, but the presence of harmful bacteria is always a concern.
Heating raw milk to the correct temperature can remove all the nasty bacteria, like E. Coli and Salmonella, but removes all the good bacteria at the same time.
Raw milk can be beneficial, but it can also cause potential health issues, especially in pregnant women and people with a weakened immune system.
It’s easy enough to pasteurize fresh goat’s milk at home, assuming you’ve got a clean environment to work in.
You don’t even need a pasteurizing machine – just a couple of pots, Instant Pot, or a double boiler will do the trick just as effectively as an expensive machine, even if it requires a little more effort and means you have a few more dishes to wash at the end.