Natural Living

What to Make with Sour Raw Milk: Clabbered Milk Uses

What to Make with Sour Raw Milk: Clabbered Milk Uses

Sour raw milk is not spoiled milk- in fact, it is full of good bacteria and beneficial enzymes that make sour milk a superfood! There are many creative ways you can use soured milk, putting it to good use instead of wasting it.

Why Soured Milk Isn’t Spoiled Milk

Raw milk is “alive”, meaning the microorganisms are still active, and prevent harmful bacteria from multiplying. This is very different from a commercial milk carton. In the process of pasteurization, the bacteria that prevent spoilage are killed -this is why pasteurized milk spoils. If this is your first time encountering soured raw milk, you will notice the smell is very different from that of pasteurized milk that has been in the fridge for an extended period of time. Instead of spoiling, raw milk sours. This means the beneficial bacteria actually multiply! 

Health Benefits of Sour Raw Milk

With beneficial bacteria, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats, the benefits of raw milk are becoming more well know. You can see this post to learn more about the benefits of raw, fresh milk. Considering that in the process of souring good bacteria are multiplying, soured milk has even more beneficial bacteria and are great for your gut! In fact, many of the strains of bacteria used in commercial yogurt don’t actually survive in our gut. The bacteria in raw milk products are able to stay on the walls of the intestine, helping our gut and improving our immune system. 

What Does Sour Raw Milk Taste Like?

Soured raw milk is called “clabbered milk”. As milk ages, the milk sugar gets eaten by the bacteria and lactic acid is produced. This lactic acid then “clots” or curdles the milk, thickening or separating the milk solids from the liquid.  I have seen this souring process happen two different ways: in the refrigerator and on the countertop. 

One time I neglected a half gallon of extra raw milk in my refrigerator for about 3 weeks. I wasn’t sure if I would have to throw it out, but when I opened the lid and smelled it, it smelled just like yogurt. To my pleasant surprise, it was the most fresh, delicious yogurt I had ever tasted! In the colder temperature of the refrigerator, the bacteria that multiplied over time turned the milk into a thick and creamy delectable treat!

I have also purposefully left raw milk on the counter to clabber. I waited until the milk solids were separating from the clear whey. Upon tasting, to me this tasted like a very strong kefir. It was a much more sour flavor than the yogurt-like clabbered milk that I accidentally made in the refrigerator. 

With that being said, I think the way to use soured raw milk depends on how the milk soured, which I believe depends on a variety of factors. For example, how long it has been souring, and at what temperature. 

Ways to Use Creamy Soured Milk:

If your clabbered milk was left in the refrigerator for a long time, it may have turned thick and creamy, with the pleasant smell of yogurt. In this case, you have many different options! Keep in mind the cream on top may have a bitter taste, in which case you can simply scrape that portion off. 

  • Use it just like you would use yogurt: eat it with a spoon, drink it by blending it with a smoothie or on its own, or enjoy atop fresh fruit.
  • Top your favorite meals with it in place of sour cream.
  • Use it to make deliciously moist baked goods in place of buttermilk.
  • Straining it to make a thick, high protein homemade yogurt is also a great idea. See this post to learn in more detail the process of straining and  whipping ( just skip the part where you heat and ferment the milk!)  Remember to save the whey that was strained out. You can use that whey as a yogurt culture to help control the fermentation of another batch of raw milk yogurt, or even as a starter culture in making fermented vegetables and beverages!

Ways to Use Curdled Sour Milk:

Once you see the white milk and clearish whey separating, clabbered milk will have more of a sour taste and a more clumpy texture. This usually happens when it has been left at room temperature for a couple days. While there is nothing wrong with eating this as-is, you may prefer to make something else with it. This sour flavor takes some getting used to- it tastes like homemade kefir in my experience. 

Farmers Cheese

One of my favorite ways to use milk that has soured to this degree is to make a nicely tart cottage cheese or farmers cheese! Simply heat the milk that has gone sour in a pot on low (to keep it raw) until the lactic acid curdles the milk into clumps. Then, strain through a cheesecloth and squeeze until you have reached a desired consistency. If you don’t have quite enough lacgtic acid for it to curdle. you could add some lemon juice.

For a more American style homemade cottage cheese, add some raw cream and a little salt. This can be served with fresh fruit, alongside smoked meats, on crackers, used in casseroles, dips and other recipes, or in smoothies! Check out this post for more detailed farmers cheese recipes.

Baked Goods

One exciting way to use soured milk is as a leavening agent in baked goods. Have you ever watched vinegar and baking soda react to one another? When combined with baking soda, the lactic acid in soured milk reacts and creates a fluffier end result. Clabbered milk was a common ingredient in baking before baking powder was invented. I like to add soured raw milk to sourdough discard recipes, like muffins and pancakes. 

What if It’s Only a Little Sour?

If your raw milk is still in a liquid form and just starting to smell sour, you could use it up in a delicious recipe instead of waiting for it to sour more. My favorite ways to use up extra milk that is beginning to sour are:

  • Ice cream- Does anyone dislike ice cream? See this post for high protein raw milk ice cream recipes. Ice cream is a weekly treat in our home in the summer months. 
  • Homemade pudding- one of our favorites is traditional banana pudding- you steep bananas in warmed milk until the milk extracts the banana flavor- a great way to mask any sour flavor in the milk! Chocolate pudding is also a great idea.
  • In a delicious custard or bread pudding.
  • In a smoothie with dates and frozen fruit.

Milk that Has Soured Too Much

Maybe your milk is more sour than you want to taste…the good news is you can still put it to good use!

  • Give it to animals as a probiotic.
  • Pour it in the garden to give nutrients to the soil.
  • Make soap! Ever heard of goat milk soap? You can make soap with any kind of milk, even with soured milk.

So, next time you have raw milk that is past its expiration date or going sour, try some of these ideas to use your soured milk instead of disgarding it. 

Bad Raw Milk?

​If your raw milk smells very unpleasant for some reason – just like with any food – be on the safe side and don’t drink it! Then consider consuting with your raw milk source to see why the milk may have had this unpleasant smell. Souring raw milk should just smell sour, not spoiled or putrid.

Where to Find Raw Milk

Are you looking for a raw milk source? Is raw milk illegal to sell commercially in your area? You can be a part of a herd share, meaning you pay a membership fee to be a “part owner” of the herd, and that means you get a portion of milk! See the bottom of this post for raw milk near you resources.

Comment below with your favorite ways to use soured raw milk!

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