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?
3In some countries, other animals than cow, goat or sheep are used: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Milk#Sources– MienMay 3, 2011 at 22:59
2It'll likely be a few years before we can take advantage of the benefit of dog's milk : youtube.com/watch?v=dhjGXCk-RVU– JoeMay 4, 2011 at 1:40
4Dog milk - bleuuuuaaaarghhhh.– immutablMay 4, 2011 at 9:27
9Kid, have you ever tried to milk a pig?!– dannymanSep 30, 2011 at 23:10
1It's called "head cheese" :)– Josh StodolaDec 28, 2011 at 22:31
There are several main reasons, historically:
- 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.
- 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.
16Actually, 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.– user3093May 4, 2011 at 5:39
15From 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, 2011 at 6:32
10Don't Indians eat paneer? And lassi?– RayMay 4, 2011 at 11:46
10Most (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.– user3093May 4, 2011 at 16:43
4@LauraΨ, I interpreted Ray's comment as being on point 3 (only people of European descent really eat dairy as adults) - and if he hadn't made the point about Indians eating paneer and lassi, I would have done. Oct 1, 2011 at 6:23
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.
2Yes, 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 May 3, 2011 at 22:35
2@TFD, For the sake of the rat, I hope that nobody succeeds.– rumtscho ♦May 3, 2011 at 23:06
@rumtscho Sorry, that was a bad "Heather Mills McCartney" joke May 4, 2011 at 0:05
2I was thinking of this: simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/Squeaky_Farms_Brand_Genuine_Animal_Milk May 4, 2011 at 1:08
1@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" May 4, 2011 at 1:48
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
1The 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… :( May 4, 2011 at 4:56
Wow, really? That's amazing. I stand corrected! :) May 4, 2011 at 14:37
3Human milk is considered suitable for vegans, providing it was given freely by the producer. The ethical element departs when informed consent can be granted.– OrblingMay 6, 2011 at 11:49
I think point 1 in Carmi's answer is largely the explanation but I thought I'd add to it with some data I found in a recent article.
The AV Club (of all places) released an article in 2016 titled "Why don't we drink pigs milk?" While this question is about cheese, milk is first required for cheese to happen, so if there's difficulty in obtaining a supply of milk, one can't make cheese. So, from the article, we find that milking a pig is quite complex, from an anatomical angle.
There haven’t been machines manufactured that would efficiently milk a sow’s 14 teats.
They're also quite small by comparison. Supply wise, these teats give off (all together) much less milk.
And what milk could be produced is paltry by comparison: A sow produces one-fifth the milk of a cow.
Additionally, while a cow can get pregnant while lactating, a pig can not.
Maxwell also said the hog industry’s objective is to produce as many pigs as possible (sows give birth to roughly two dozen piglets annually)—and a sow can’t get pregnant while she’s lactating.
Even if you get past or ignore these concerns, getting a pig to cooperate with your milking contraption will likely be complicated.
Maxwell said when they obtain milk samples from sows, the animal has to be lying down. “I don’t know how difficult it would be to milk the sow standing up,” he said. “But it would be another learning curve that would potentially be difficult to overcome. It’s not a feasible scenario.”
Not that that’s stopped some people from trying. Edward Lee, the James Beard Award-nominated chef of 610 Magnolia, was so intrigued with serving pig’s milk cheese at his Louisville, Kentucky, restaurant that he experimented with different ways of milking a pig. The most extreme involved ingratiating himself to the sow by smearing pig poop on his jacket and sitting near her until she was familiar enough with him to fall asleep. Then he’d move in to milk—but even this was to no avail. In the end, as Lee told Modern Farmer, “Cows have been domesticated for so many years, they’re very docile. You get within 15 feet of a sow, she’ll get up on her hind legs and get defensive. She might charge you. And once she charges you, just forget it. She’s already identified you as an enemy.”
Lee added, “Goats don’t like to be milked either. But if you get kicked by a goat, you’ll get bruised. Get hit by a 250-pound sow, you’re dead. There’s a very basic practical reason people don’t attempt it. No one else is crazy enough to get in the barn with ’em.”
So, unless we discover it to be an elixir of life that everyone wants (and are willing to give up bacon for it), it seems unlikely that we'll see pig milk - or cheese - in the near future.
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.
7Commercially raised animals eat what the farmer feeds them, so this really shouldn't be a problem.– derobertMay 6, 2011 at 21:14
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.
1Can you post the article URL please Feb 11, 2012 at 8:53
An article on a pig cheese from Tuscany: lifeinitaly.com/food/raresttuscancheese.asp– soegaardNov 3, 2012 at 10:33
2I 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.– user14256Nov 11, 2012 at 9:54
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.
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.
2This 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, 2013 at 7:09
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
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.– KatieKOct 5, 2012 at 16:46
2A 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. Nov 20, 2012 at 1:59
@KatieK how does this not answer the question? The accepted answer states why there is no pig cheese and talks about camel ice cream which is nothing to do with cheese. Cows Goat & Sheep milk can naturally curdle, while other animals cannot. Hence there are no cheeses of other animals. Even if pigs had nipples there would still be the same amount of pig cheese. ChrisS see wiki "Camel milk" on difficulties without new tech to make cheese from camels. Hence the cheese industries are built on the 3 mentioned animals, which coagulate easily. New technologies can change whats on the shelves.– JonMar 16, 2016 at 14:22