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How to pasteurize your milk

I thank God every day for the life I have, I am fortunate to have beautiful cows in my back yard. As a mom it makes complete sense to me that I take the very product I produce and feed it to my family. I know without hesitation that the milk provided from my farm is nutritious, wholesome, and essential to growing healthy kids. I am VERY thankful.

After the raw milk is collected from the cows it is directly stored and cooled in a bulk tank and shipped to our processor every day. A few times a week I use a couple gallons for my family – again thankful – but I don’t personally support consuming raw dairy for my family, so I pasteurize it in my kitchen. It really is such a simple process that ensures a safe product.

Disclaimer: the milk you buy from your store is most likely already pasteurized – especially in States like Michigan which require all milk for sale must be pasteurized.

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Raw milk is milk from cows, sheep, or goats that has not been pasteurized to kill potentially harmful bacteria. This raw, unpasteurized milk can carry dangerous bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria, which are responsible for causing numerous foodborne illnesses.

Pasteurization is a process that kills bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a certain amount of time.

There are advocates for the benefits of consuming raw dairy, the decision is YOURS to make however it’s just not mine for my family, be sure to research the decisions you make with dairy – a few facts I can tell you.

  • Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions. Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins.
  • Pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk’s nutritional value.
  • Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria.
  • Pasteurization DOES save lives.

Visit the website HERE for more information from the FDA regarding pasteurization.


To demonstrate how I pasteurize the milk for my family I am showing the products I use. I use a SafGuard Pasteurizer, find it here: SafGard Home Pasteurizer

Pasteurize up to 2 gallons at a time, low temperature, and designed for safe use inside your home. Everything you need to pasteurize will come with the pasteurizer, but I recommend also purchasing a food grade thermometer.

Once the raw milk has been sealed in the silver canister place it on the ledges within the pasteurizer and fill the remainder of the space with water. Put the lid on the pasteurizer and plug in the unit, there is no ON/OFF switch so be sure to only plug the SafGuard in when it’s ready to begin heating.


The water inside will heat and raise the milk temperature to an appropriate level in which harmful bacteria is killed – the milk should be heated to no less than 145°F for a minimum of 30 minutes for proper pasteurization. When milk temperature is taken immediately after pasteurizing the temperature should read 156-159°, you will need to test the temperature of your milk monthly to ensure the thermostat does not need to be adjusted.

Pasteurizing milk does not prevent bacteria from re-occurring, if you do not cool milk responsibly after pasteurizing then bacteria can begin to grow. Bacteria loves heat and the danger zone is between 40-140°F.

I remove the milk canister and put it in a cold water bath, stiring the product to help cool faster. Once the milk has reached below 70°F I bottle it and move it to the coldest part of my refrigerator. The milk must cool to less than 40°F within 2 hours or you’ll need to pasteurize the product again to prevent bacteria growth.


Bottles can be found on many online stores and in supermarkets, I prefer glass bottles and these from Stanpac have held up very well over the last year of constant use. I use 2 quart heavy-glass bottles with lids from here.

I pasteurize milk from my cows because I believe today’s dairy farmers provide the healthiest and most nutritious food source.

If you have any questions please leave me a comment ❤ Nicole

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