How is Cow's Milk Processed?

When you’ve poured yourself a large glass of milk or poured the cream from the top onto cereal, have you ever stopped to think about how cow’s milk is processed?

If the answer is no, read on to find out more about how milk is made at The Little Big Dairy Co.

The story starts on our family-run dairy farm in Dubbo, New South Wales amongst the lush pastures that run along the banks of the Macquarie River. Here’s where you’ll find our three herds of beautiful purebred Holstein cows without whom, our milk wouldn’t exist. Every Holstein in our field has been bred and raised on our farm. We’ve given each one a name and we know every name by heart. And when you think that we have over 1000 cows, that’s a testament to our commitment and devotion.

Our cows are our passion. We care for them deeply and ensure that they receive the best treatment and nutrition, and this shows in the quality of the milk that they produce. And they produce a lot! We deliver over 100,00 litres of fresh bottled milk direct to customers each week which amounts to over 11 million litres of milk every year!

One kilometre from the dairy shed stands our on-farm factory and it’s here where our milk is produced. Our commitment to best practice and sustainability continues here throughout the processing, bottling and distribution process. We pay particular attention to all our milk production processes and are committed to staying ahead of the curve by investing in the latest technology. All our hard work has paid off as our on-farm milk factory boasts Australia’s highest food safety licence with an A rating and we’re also an export accredited establishment. Plus, all our milk is traceable back to the cow that produced it.

Milk production starts with the pasteurisation process. For many Australian dairy farms, this is done off-site, and pasteurisation may not take place for up to 48 hours. Our milk comes direct from the cows to the processing area and is pasteurised within hours of leaving the dairy.

During pasteurisation, the milk is heated to 72oC for no less than 15 seconds, then cooled immediately to destroy any harmful bacteria and microorganisms that may be present. Thanks to the high quality of our raw milk, we’re allowed to process our milk with minimum heat treatment which is what ensures the delicious flavour of our ethically sourced dairy products.

The milk is then homogenised by forcing it through fine nozzles under pressure to disperse the fat globules. This creates a more consistent taste and texture as it stops the cream from separating and rising to the top of the milk. We also produce unhomogenised milk in our on-farm factory for those people who prefer milk like their grandma used to drink.

The milk may undergo other processes depending on the type of milk, for example, removing the lactose to produce lactose-free milk.

The first time our single-source milk leaves our farm is when it’s in a bottle. Studies have shown that milk tastes better when the cows are happy, well-fed, and well-loved. The award-winning milk from the Little Big Dairy Co proves this theory.