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Does Goat Cheese Contain Lactose?


a variety of goat's milk cheeses arranged on fresh straw
Q
I’ve been told that goat cheeses don’t contain lactose. Is this true?
A
This is false. Goat cheese does contain lactose. In fact, all cheeses do—lactose is a form of sugar present in milk. When milk is heated at the beginning of the cheesemaking process, bacteria in the milk (that culture I mentioned earlier) begins to feast on lactose, turning it to lactic acid. Some lactose remains during the process, but most will drain out with the whey, and even more will be converted during aging. The longer a cheese is aged, the less lactose it has. That’s why some people who are lactose intolerant are still able to enjoy hard cheeses in small quantities. Soft cheeses contain more lactose than hard cheeses, because they’re not aged as long and they retain more whey, part of what keeps them so soft.

Mike Hanson

Mike Hanson originally joined American Provisions, a farm-to-table specialty food store in South Boston with a carefully curated cheese counter, as a beer buyer. But it took longer than expected for the shop to obtain an alcohol license, and by then Hanson was hooked on his assignment as cheesemonger. Now, he’s the store’s cheese and beer purchaser.