Camel's milk has supported Bedouin, nomad and pastoral cultures since the domestication of camels millennia ago. Herders may for periods survive solely on the milk when taking the camels on long distances to graze in desert and arid environments.
Camel dairy farming is an alternative to cow dairy farming in dry regions of the world where cow farming consumes large amounts of water and electricity to power air-conditioned halls and cooling sprinkler systems. Camel farming, by using a native species well-adapted to arid regions, may facilitate the reversal of desertification by UNESCO. Camel milk can be found in supermarkets in Mongolia, UK, UAE, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Mauritania, and the United States.
Compared to cow milk, camel milk is richer in fat and protein.
Cheese from camel milk is more difficult to make than cheese from the milk of other dairy animals. It does not coagulate easily and bovine rennet fails to coagulate the milk effectively. In camel herding communities camel milk cheeses use spontaneous fermentation, or lactic fermentation to achieve a sour curd. In camel farms in Sudan, the Rashaida tribe use this method to store surplus milk in the rainy season, pulverizing the dried curds and adding water for consumption in the dry season.
In Mongolia, camel milk is consumed as a product at various stages of the curd-making process. Recent advances in cheese making technology have made it possible to coagulate camel milk with vegetable rennet and camel rennet.