When someone first tried to explain ultrafiltration to me, after about 10 minutes of this dairy expert talking, I literally paused, scratched my head, and was like "Umm what?" I just didn't get it. But finally, I found someone to translate it into normal-person vernacular for me, so that's what I'm going to do here.
I'm impatient and long reads are hard to get through, so I'll try to be quick.
Milk naturally contains 12g of lactose sugar per 8oz. That means a pint of milk has 24g of sugar. That's too much for our liking. So we ultrafilter it.
An ultrafiltration machine just looks like a huge series of tubes, well at least the one I saw did. Respectfully, for its value/how much it improves milk, SUPER underwhelming appearance. Anyways, inside these tubes are a ton of little filters that catch (or redirect) lactose, and some water... hence, ultrafiltration! And, these machines can be adjusted to catch more or less lactose, based on the machine. Simple? Yes. Legendary for our diets? In my humble opinion, also yes. This machine is low-key HUGE for sugar reduction!
So, in conclusion (all my old English teachers would be so proud of me right now) if you remove the lactose sugar and some water from milk, what you're left with is a sugar-reduced, very slightly condensed (but still 100% liquid) milk base - called ultrafiltered milk. Because it's condensed, it also has more protein per ounce than regular milk.
Less sugar and more protein... Is ultrafiltered milk the future of all of dairy? I'd bet on it.
Questions? Let me know. I've learned a few things about ultrafiltration in the past couple years.
Written by Manny Lubin, Co-Founder at Slate Milk