Chef's Breast Milk Cheese Curdles Up Controversy
Looks like... cheese. The cheese in question, encrusted with carmelized pumpkin (Photo: Daniel Angerer)
Last week, New York City chef Daniel Angerer, owner of Klee Brasserie and new parent, managed to incur the wrath of the Department of Health with his tongue-in-cheek offer on his blog for people to come try what he called Mother's Milk Cheese - made from his spouse's breast milk. Apparently, his wife and co-owner Lori Mason had pumped out an excess amount of milk for their newborn that was sitting in their small freezer at home. Not wanting to waste this liquid "gold" and in a moment of culinary inspiration, Angerer decided to experiment with this all-natural ingredient in front of him, and volia! real breast milk cheese.
"My cooking instincts are rather natural (e.g., sourcing ingredients from the local market, eating sustainable seafood, buying free-range-all-natural poultry," writes Angerer on his blog. "But THIS is a whole other level of 'natural'." The recipe itself calls for two cups of breast milk, two cups of any other animal milk (breast milk's lower protein content prevents it from curdling properly), yogurt, rennet and sea salt.
Breast milk ethics
Breast milk definitely has its eco-friendly advantages and breast milk cheese isn't even something that new and daring (check out this French site that sells cheese made with human milk). Even so, Angerer had questioned himself about the ethics of making such a cheese, saying: "I was concerned a little bit with the thought of making cheese out of mother's milk. I wondered if it was ethical - since I haven't seen it on any restaurant menu yet."
But he finally concluded with his spouse that "our baby has plenty back-up mother's milk in the freezer so whoever wants to try it is welcome to try it as long as supply lasts (please consider cheese aging time)."
That's when the health department nippled it in the bud. Though he says he never had the intention of selling Mother's Milk Cheese at his restaurant, the NYC Department of Health nevertheless warned Angerer against doing so, rather humourlessly stating that "cheese made from breast milk is not for public consumption, whether sold or given away. While breast milk is healthy, we recommend it for infants, and any experiments with it as a food ingredient are best left for the home."
Breast milk key lime pie
Comments from Angerer's blog ranged from creepy to enthusiastically supportive, with some commenters mentioning their own gastronomic attempts, including a key lime pie that fooled the neighbours. There was even a taste test on the Today Show.
And how does it taste compared to other cheeses? "It tastes like cow's milk cheese, kind of sweet," says Angerer.
The verdict? Great that breast milk is going gourmet, but we'll have to take your word on that one.
More on Breast Milk
From Breast to Plate: Mommy's Milk Cheese Recipe (Seriously!)
Human Cheese, Sweet and Tangy
Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream With Breast Milk?
Breastfeeding is Eco-Friendly
Phthalates in Breast Milk
Triclosan in Human Breast Milk