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Above all, we are going to define milk as an emulsion or colloid of nutritional substances in an aqueous solution.

It is the first food of all mammalian animals, therefore we understand that it is a complex food. It contains an incalculable amount of substances that make it impossible to reproduce it in a laboratory.

What is milk made of?

For our purposes it would not make sense at this time to list all the ingredients of raw cow’s milk. Firstly because each mammal female has their own composition.

Secondly because the conservation or thermal treatments of the milk can alter their properties and composition.

Alternatively we can talk about milk’s main components that we use to make cheese:

Water

Water​ ​is​ ​milk’s​ most​ ​important​ ​ingredient. It represents around 90% of the milk.

The entire cheese-making process is aimed at removing the water. The amount of water that we eliminate and the moment in which we do it, will allow us to make completely different cheeses.

Carbohydrates

​Lactose​ ​is​ ​the​ ​most​ ​important​ ​carbohydrate in the milk taste because ​gives​ ​it ​its sweet​ ​taste​ ​and​ ​contributes​ ​approximately​ ​40%​ ​of​ ​whole​ ​cow’s​ ​milk’s​ ​calories, too.

In cheesemaking, It’s the ingredient that allows us to select the microbiology that will develop our cheese.

Lactose​ ​is​ ​a disaccharide​ ​composite​ ​of​ ​two​ ​simple​ ​sugars,​ ​glucose​ ​and​ ​galactose.

Proteins

Milk contains two clearly differentiated proteins:

  1. Caseins​ are the most important and ​make​ ​up​ ​around​ ​80%​ ​of​ ​the​ ​protein​ ​in​ ​milk,​ ​by​ ​weight.​ ​Most​ ​of​ ​the casein​ ​proteins​ ​are​ ​bound​ ​into​ ​the​ ​micelles.
  2. Lactoglobulin​ ​​ ​make​ ​up​ ​approximately​ ​20%​ ​of​ ​the​ ​protein​ ​in​ ​milk​ ​by​ ​weight. They​ ​are​ ​soluble​ ​in​ ​water,​ ​and​ ​in​ ​the​ ​end​ ​of​ ​process​ ​will​ ​be​ ​in​ ​whey

Lipids

​Milk​ ​fat​ ​is​ ​secreted​ ​in​ ​the​ ​form​ ​of​ ​a​ ​fat​ ​globule​ ​surrounded​ ​by​ ​a​ ​membrane. Although​ ​97–98%​ ​of​ ​lipids​ ​are​ ​triacyclglycerols,​ ​small​ ​amounts​ ​of​ ​di-​ ​and​ ​monoacylglycerols, free​ ​cholesterol​ ​and​ ​cholesterol​ ​esters,​ ​free​ ​fatty​ ​acids,​ ​and​ ​phospholipids​ ​are​ ​also​ ​present

A triglyceride (TG) molecule consists of a glycerol backbone esterified with three fatty acids

Minerals

​Calcium,​ ​phosphate,​ ​magnesium,​ ​sodium,​ ​potassium,​ ​citrate,​ ​and​ ​chlorine are some of the most important minerals present in milk.

Calcium and phosphorus are the two most important minerals in cheese making

Microbiology

​Milk​ ​microbiology​ ​comes​ ​from​ ​milking​ ​cows​ ​on​ ​the​ ​dairy​ ​and​ ​from​ ​the environment​ ​itself.

A large number of microorganisms in dairy products come from the milk itself

Vitamins

Milk​ ​is​ ​a​ ​good​ ​source​ ​of​ ​many​ ​other​ ​vitamins.​ ​Vitamins​ ​A,​ ​B6, B3,​ ​B12,​ ​C,​ ​D,​ ​K,​ ​E, thiamine,​ ​niacin,​ ​biotin,​ ​riboflavin,​ ​folates,​ ​and​ ​pantothenic​ ​acid

Milk’s composition

The​ ​composition​ ​of​ ​milk​ ​varies​ ​depending​ ​on​ ​the​ ​species.​ ​Below​ ​is​ ​a​ ​table​ ​summarizing​ ​the contents​ ​and​ ​characteristics​ ​of​ ​milk,​ ​depending​ ​on​ ​the​ ​mammal​ ​producer.