Aims: In this study, we compare seven different methods which have been designed or modified to extract total DNA from raw milk and raw milk cheese with a view to its subsequent use for the PCR of bacterial DNA. Materials and Results: Seven extraction methods were employed to extract total DNA from these foods, and their relative success with respect to the yield and purity of the DNA isolated, and its quality as a template for downstream PCR, was compared. Although all of the methods were successful with respect to the extraction of DNA naturally present in cheese, they varied in their relative ability to extract DNA from milk. However, when milk was spiked with a representative Gram-positive (Listeria monocytogenes EGDe) or Gram-negative (Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium LT2) bacterium, it was established that all methods successfully extracted DNA which was suitable for subsequent detection by PCR. Conclusions: Of the seven approaches, the PowerFood (TM) Microbial DNA Isolation kit (MoBio Laboratories Inc.) was found to most consistently extract highly concentrated and pure DNA with a view to its subsequent use for PCR-based amplification and also facilitated accurate detection by real-time quantitative PCR. Significance and Impact of the Study: Accurately assessing the bacterial composition of milk and cheese is of great importance to the dairy industry. Increasingly, DNA-based technologies are being employed to provide an accurate assessment of this microbiota. However, these approaches are dependent on our ability to extract DNA of sufficient yield and purity. This study compares a number of different options and highlights the relative success of these approaches. We also highlight the success of one method to extract DNA from different microbial populations as well as DNA which is suitable for real-time PCR of microbes of interest, a challenge often encountered by the food industry.