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by Hannah Howard
Raw milk cheese may be as close as it gets to a perfect food. It offers near-complete nutrition with the full distribution of amino acids, a balanced ratio of calories derived from proteins and fats, and an abundance of great-for-you probiotics.
The word ‘probiotics’ means “for life,” and we couldn’t sustain life without these vital tiny allies. Probiotics are the beneficial bacteria that we all have and need for our intestinal tracts and bowels to function smoothly — and probably for much more. “Raw milk cheeses have a wider diversity of bacteria, yeasts and molds, which contribute to a healthy gut biome,” says cheese expert Max McCalman, who wrote Mastering Cheese: Lessons for Connoisseurship from a Maître Fromager.
According to Stephen Massimilla and Myra Kornfeld, co-authors of Cooking with the Muse, raw milk cheeses are not just good for us, but uniquely delectable, “unrivaled for the richness and complexity of their flavors. They are, simply put, absolutely delicious.”
Great cheese starts with high-quality milk, which in turns starts with healthy cows that feed on lush grass. “As the poet Connie Wanek points out, we should never cease to marvel at how grass and ‘even pasture daisies/through the alchemy of four stomachs/may grace a king’s table,’” writes Massimilla and Kornfeld. “When it comes to raw milk cheeses, the milk is superlative because the animals have been grazing on pasture, which is what they always did before the advent of industrial farming.”