Dairy ingredients are generally the products of milk from mammals, and they are used in a variety of different ways. Almost all of the dairy consumed by humans is derived from domesticated herbivores, such as cows, goats, sheep, buffalo, etc. Dairy products from cows are most prominent globally, but many cultures and specialty products rely on other animal sources.
Most dairy products have a white or off-white color and a mild, slightly sweet flavor—the exception is fermented dairy products, which develop more complex flavors and, sometimes, different coloration. Unless the fat has been removed, dairy products are rich.
All dairy products begin with milk, which is processed in a variety of ways.
Milk fat Edit
- Clarified butter
Fermented milk Edit
Cheese is produced by coagulating milk, separating the curds from the whey and letting it ripen, generally with bacteria and sometimes also with certain molds.
Frozen products Edit
Most dairy products—especially fresh ones—are perishable, and they must be stored carefully in the refrigerator. Fermented, cured, and pasteurized dairy products have a longer shelf life, but some may still be perishable, depending on the method of production.
Dairy products have a wide range of uses in cooking, where they typically contribute to flavor and texture. Both the proteins and sugars in dairy products can contribute to the maillard reaction, resulting in the generation of browning and complex flavors. Dairy products containing fat will also contribute richness, tenderness, and flavor to dishes. Fermented dairy products can add acidity. All dairy products will also contribute moisture, although the amount will depend on the specific product.
Under the Jewish laws of kashrut, dairy products may not be combined with meat. Vegans abstain from all animal products, including dairy. Individuals with lactose intolerance may need to avoid certain dairy products, most often fresh dairy products where the lactose has not been broken down by fermentation.
For a full list of dairy ingredients, see Category:Dairy or browse below: