One of the best things to come from raw milk is nata. Nata is the cream that thickens and congeals from boiling raw milk. It’s naturally sweet, creamy, silky, and tastes absolutely fabulous dolloped on top of toasted homemade, European style bread.
Today, many people that drink raw milk are under the assumption that its a traditional practice. Really, the way its gone mainstream specifically within various health groups is quite modern.
Traditionally, the people that drank raw milk were farmers – those that owned their own dairy cows.
In most other countries and cultures, raw milk has always been boiled first to kill off any pathogens or bacteria before being consumed. This is true for my family in Spain as well as my cultural friends that have come to live in the United States from various locations throughout the world. They have each grown up drinking raw milk; however, it has always been boiled before being consumed.
One of the things that brings the biggest smiles to their faces is when I mention raw milk. Not for the milk, but for the nata. It’s one of those treasured flavors that can only come from boiling milk with cream. Either raw or non-homogenized pasteurized milk.
Many people would never think to boil their raw milk; however, one thing to note is that when most people boiled their milk at home, they would only bring it just to a boil – A temperature of about 110F – 120F. At that temperature, although some of the beneficial bacteria and enzymes are destroyed, many are still preserved and the danger of any pathogens present in the milk are destroyed.
Today, the lowest temperature of pasteurized milk that we can find at the market is VAT at 185F. As you can see, raw milk boiled over the stove top at home is a more nourishing alternative with the added benefit of being able to enjoy nata.
My family currently drinks raw milk, but in truly learning what has been traditional to my family I am thinking about starting to boil our milk before consuming it. Although I completely endorse anyone that makes the decision to feed their family raw milk, stories like this help me understand why my family in Spain took the time to boil their milk first.
Currently, I boil VAT pasteurized, non homogenized milk when I make my families homemade yogurt.