Unhomogenised milk is becoming an increasingly common sight on supermarket shelves. Usually called milk with ‘cream on top’, it’s divided into liquid milk and a thick layer of cream.
But what exactly is this cream and how does unhomogenised milk differ from ‘regular’ milk?
Why is the Cream on Top?
No, your milk isn’t curdled! The ‘cream’ that floats to the top of unhomogenised milk is actually just fat molecules from the milk.
Fat molecules in milk are naturally drawn to each other and cluster together. As they do, they form a decadent layer of cream that rises to the top of your milk bottle. You can easily get rid of this build up by giving your milk a shake or stir.
The Homogenisation Process
Homogenisation blends the fat into the milk so it becomes one consistent liquid. This is done by heating the milk, agitating it and then passing it through a membrane at high-pressure. This process makes the fat particles so small they stay suspended and no longer rise to the top.
It’s really important to understand that homogenisation is a mechanical process. Although it changes the texture and appearance of the milk, it doesn’t add or take anything away. It also doesn’t change the milk’s chemical make-up. Homogenised and unhomogenised milk are nutritionally identical.
Which is Better: Homogenised or Unhomogenised Milk?
There’s a myriad of opinions out there about the health benefits of unhomogenised milk. But, like we mentioned before, the reality is that homogenised and unhomogenised milk are nutritionally the same. That means the difference comes down to taste and texture.
See, unhomogenised milk’s real advantage is that smooth, rich layer of cream on top. That cream can be spread on toast, goes great with fresh berries or can just be enjoyed as part of a glass of milk.
It’s not limited to unhomogenised milk either. Some yogurts made with unhomogenised milk also have a rich layer of cream on top. This is generally the case for pot-set yoghurts, where the milk and live cultures are added straight to the pot.
Is Unhomigenised Milk the Same as Organic?
The short answer is no. Unhomogenised milk is milk that simply hasn’t been through the homogenisation process.
Certified Organic milk comes from livestock that are raised and grazed according to organic standards and principles. This means it is generally free of antibiotics and hormones. However, Organic milk is often left unhomogenised to help create that ‘fresh from the farm’ feeling.