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I have always wondered what there is no cheese made from other milks other than cow, goat or sheep. Are they not suitable for humans? Do they taste bad? Is it even possible to make dairy products with them?

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In some countries, other animals than cow, goat or sheep are used: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk#Sources –  Mien May 3 '11 at 22:59
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It'll likely be a few years before we can take advantage of the benefit of dog's milk : youtube.com/watch?v=dhjGXCk-RVU –  Joe May 4 '11 at 1:40
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Dog milk - bleuuuuaaaarghhhh. –  5arx May 4 '11 at 9:27
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Kid, have you ever tried to milk a pig?! –  dannyman Sep 30 '11 at 23:10
    
It's called "head cheese" :) –  Josh Stodola Dec 28 '11 at 22:31
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8 Answers 8

up vote 35 down vote accepted

There are several main reasons, historically:

  1. Cows, sheep and goats have udders, and can be milked by hand into a bucket. Pigs (or cats, or humans for that matter) have nipples, where you need to suck the milk out. Consider that most of the cheese in the world was invented before machinery was able to create a vacuum, this means that the only option would have been to suck milk from the pig and spit it into the bucket.
  2. For making cheese, the fat/protein ratio in the milk is important. It changes, obviously, from species to species, which is why there aren't many hard yellow cheeses made of goat's milk.

Lastly, I have actually had camel's milk ice-cream, which goes to show that it's just a cultural thing mostly.

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Actually, yak cheese is used in a variety of East Asian dishes. I believe the Mongol army used yak and horse cheese as a form of preserved rations. –  user3093 May 4 '11 at 5:39
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From Wikipedia "A 1982 source reported that 230,000 horses were kept in the USSR specifically for producing milk to make into kumis. Rinchingiin Indra, writing about Mongolian dairying, says "it takes considerable skill to milk a mare" and describes the technique: the milker kneels on one knee, with a pail propped on the other, steadied by a string tied to an arm. One arm is wrapped behind the mare's rear leg and the other in front. A foal starts the milk flow and is pulled away by another person, but left touching the mare's side during the entire process." Hungry humans are ingenious. –  rumtscho May 4 '11 at 6:32
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@Carmi Asian adults love our dairy products. We sell all we can make to China (over 2 billion dollars worth last year). Haven't meet many that can't digest it either? –  TFD May 4 '11 at 10:29
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Don't Indians eat paneer? And lassi? –  Ray May 4 '11 at 11:46
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Most (non-mass) methods of producing cheese severely reduce the lactose in it, making it easily digestible outside of lactose-tolerant populations. As for paneer and lassi, I've read Indians are roughly as lactose tolerant as the French - by comparison, Chinese have something like 10% lactose tolerance. –  user3093 May 4 '11 at 16:43
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It's possible, but the reason why we drink cow/goat/sheep milk is because of how much easier it is to get at it. Pigs don't store their milk in udders, making each milking of them a very low-yield process.

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Yes, dairy cows, sheep, and goats, are specially breed to make large volumes of easily extracted milk. Until someone does that with a pig or rat etc, we won't see it commercially –  TFD May 3 '11 at 22:35
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@TFD, For the sake of the rat, I hope that nobody succeeds. –  rumtscho May 3 '11 at 23:06
    
@rumtscho Sorry, that was a bad "Heather Mills McCartney" joke –  TFD May 4 '11 at 0:05
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I was thinking of this: simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Squeaky_Farms_Brand_Genuine_Animal_Milk –  Brendan Long May 4 '11 at 1:08
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@rumtscho She was married to Beatle McCartney. She was quoted as saying like "people should drink rat milk to save the planet from global warming" –  TFD May 4 '11 at 1:48
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As daniel suggests, cost of production is the main issue.

But it is possible. In fact, recently in the UK a restaurant served human breast milk ice cream [Source] and I don't see any reason why we couldn't have cheeses made from human milk.

There are even cheeses* that are made without any milk for vegans [Source], and it sounds absolutely delicious

Vegan cheeses are made from ingredients such as soya protein and vegetable oil

*Not real cheese, keep it well away from my pizza

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The reason we can't make cheese from human milk, I believe, is that it doesn't curdle properly. I think, given a sufficient quantity of human milk, you'd end up with a very unsatisfying vat of disgusting liquid instead of the start of a Human Cheese Empire… :( –  Jonathan Sterling May 4 '11 at 4:56
    
In fact, Human Cheese was made in France at least as far back as 2007 [Source] and at least one place in New York has made and served Human Cheese [Source] –  Richard May 4 '11 at 10:07
    
Wow, really? That's amazing. I stand corrected! :) –  Jonathan Sterling May 4 '11 at 14:37
    
Human milk is considered suitable for vegans, providing it was given freely by the producer. The ethical element departs when informed consent can be granted. –  Orbling May 6 '11 at 11:49
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Another explanation is diet. Pigs eat pretty much anything, while cows are rather selective about the grass they eat. The milk takes on a lot of the characteristics of the food the animal eats, so cheese made from a pig would probably be pretty bad.

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Commercially raised animals eat what the farmer feeds them, so this really shouldn't be a problem. –  derobert May 6 '11 at 21:14
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cheese or butter can not be made from pig camel horse milk its just not possible it will not turn in to cheese only cow sheep and goat milk can be made into cheese

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This does not provide an answer to the question. To critique or request clarification from an author, leave a comment below their post - you can always comment on your own posts, and once you have sufficient reputation you will be able to comment on any post. –  KatieK Oct 5 '12 at 16:46
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A very small amount of research shows this answer is not quite right. While it is true that horse milk contains insufficient levels of casein to curdle, Caravane cheese is a brand of cheese made from camel milk. And various online sources, including one answer here, suggest it is quite possible, albeit rather difficult to make cheese from pig milk. –  Chris Steinbach Nov 20 '12 at 1:59
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I'm a cheese monger in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S.A. (PNW), and I've heard of a pigs milk cheese that is produced in Italy.

Some reports say that it's produced in or around Tuscany. The cheese is called Porcino (Italian for "something of the pig" - I may have the spelling wrong) and is rarely sold outside the region, and never outside of Italy.

One website that talked about Porcino cited an article on it, but later said that the article was a hoax. I have no way to confirm or deny the validity of the article. Though I have talked to cheese distributors here in the PNW, and they confirm that it is a real cheese, but that there is no way for them to procure it for sale in this part of the world.

According to my sources, some of the same Italian families have been making this cheese for over a millennium.

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Can you post the article URL please –  TFD Feb 11 '12 at 8:53
    
An article on a pig cheese from Tuscany: lifeinitaly.com/food/raresttuscancheese.asp –  soegaard Nov 3 '12 at 10:33
    
I am an Italian cheese producer and I can tell you that nobody produces pig's milk cheese in Italy. There are 2 o 3 cheese made with rennet from pigs and sheep's milk. That's all. –  user14256 Nov 11 '12 at 9:54
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You cannot make cheese from human milk. Everyone who has tried has mixed human milk with cow's milk. The have tried but failed to make cheese from purely human milk.

What they do not seem to realize is when they separate the curd from the whey, every single ounce of human milk is discarded in the whey. Human milk does not form curds - period. You cannot make cheese without curds.

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This comment on another answer to this question states the oposite, and has 2 links supporting it. Can you argument why human milk won't form curds? –  J.A.I.L. Jan 11 '13 at 7:09
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I think we are also neglecting the production costs of making pig's milk cheese. Given the amount of milk that would be needed to turn a profit or even make a single wheel compared to the amount of care and cost associated with raising and maintaining a sow for milk (which from what I understand does not produce a great deal of milk anyway) isn't very economical.

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