Milk contains fat (cream) in the form of small globules which vary in size and distribution depending on the breed of animal, feed, stage of lactation, frequency of milking.
When homogenized milk was first introduced it gave an even distribution of cream throughout the "pint" or "litre" of retail milk and this gave a consistency as the fat did not rise to form a cream layer
Once milk is homogenized it does not form a cream layer which in un-homogenized milk this was common and one would look for the cream line on a pint of milk and if you did not want the cream to come out first then the bottle was given a good shake to redistribute the cream.
With lower and lower fat milks homogenization has become more accepted, understood and commonplace and is used in spray drying of infant formula milk powders to ensure even distribution of fat and also the two stage homogenization process reduces the ammount of "free fat" in the powder
The milk is forced under very high pressures through a very small orifice and this splits the fat globules and they do not re-combine (particularly with 2 stage homogenization) but remain suspended in the serum and mainly due to the smaller size and greater distribution the tendency to rise is much reduced.
There are many effects of homogenization from giving a uniform product to whitening effect and reduced crystallization of fats.
It is important in buttermaking to NOT homogenise the fat as this will affect greatly the crystallization essential to buttermaking
Cheese will generally benefit from homogenizing the cream as it assists in a more even fat distribution and binding the proteins and giving a greater yield.
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