Soured milk is a probiotic-rich cultured dairy food you can make with your raw milk. A terrific technique to use up older raw milk as well.
Soured milk made naturally, in the old way, from raw (unpasteurized) whole milk that has been left out is a traditional dairy product that has an incredible array of uses. It's an old way to leaven bread but it can also be drunk straight or fermented even further until it separates into curds and whey and eaten as a type of yogurt.
If you have older raw milk kicking around — do not let it go to waste. Make sour milk instead.
Sour Milk vs. Buttermilk vs. Clabbered Milk vs. Spoiled Milk
Buttermilk is the liquid left over from the cream used in the butter-making process. It can be made from sweet cream or cream that has been left to culture (i.e ferment) at room temperature for about 24 hours.
I describe this process in great detail here:
Soured Milk is raw milk, usually whole milk, that has been left out at room or warm temperatures for a period of time until it becomes slightly thicker and takes on a sour taste.
The timeframe is usually around 24 hours too.
Clabbered Milk or Bonny Clabber (Bainne Clábair) is a type of soured milk. Bonny clabber is, again, raw whole milk left out at room or warmer temperatures until it sours and thickens up even more than simple soured milk.
Clabbered Milk is the same as Curds & Whey as it will separate into thick sour curds leaving the whey at the bottom.
In my experience, this can take as long as 72 hours but it depends on your kitchen and climate.
Soured Milk does not ferment long enough for this separation to occur.
Clabbered milk can be considered a type of yogurt.
Spoiled Milk is milk that has gone bad and is not fit for consumption Spoiled milk can be quite dangerous as it's teeming with all sorts of bacteria, many hostile to the human digestive tract.
Spoiled milk will not have the pleasantly sour, fermented taste of soured or clabbered milk but will taste and smell absolutely disgusting.
Your nose will tell you that the milk is bad. Listen.
Please note that dangerous pathogens can flourish and multiply in any milk whether it smells or tastes "off" or not. This is true for unpasteurized and pasteurized milk alike.
But despite what some official sources will try and tell you, the majority of illnesses will be caused by pasteurized milk and dairy and the statistics back that up.
But that's another article for another day.
A Shortcut To Sour Milk
You may have come across recipes that advise you to just add some vinegar or lemon juice to milk as a shortcut to making soured milk.
This will work in a pinch but it is not even remotely close to true soured milk.
However, if you need some RIGHT NOW for a baking project — add 1 tablespoon of plain vinegar or lemon juice per 1 cup of milk and after letting that sit for 5-10 minutes you will have a facsimile that would work decently enough in something like Traditional Irish Soda Bread.
You can use pasteurized or raw milk for this technique, but again, this is not true soured milk and I recommend trying out the real stuff.
10 Ways To Use Sour Raw Milk
There are many uses for soured milk. Here are just a few.
- Substitute soured milk for kefir in my Raw Kefir Smoothie With Berries, Collagen & Egg Yolks recipe.
- Drink it on its own. Why buy expensive probiotic supplements if you have access to nourishing raw milk? It's teeming with beneficial gut bacteria.
- Use soured milk as a leavener to make my Traditional Irish Soda Bread From Einkorn Wheat recipe.
- Remove the bitterness from liver. Soak your liver in soured milk for 4-8 hours, or even overnight. This will remove any bitterness and may win over liver haters.
- Tenderize meat. Soured milk will tenderize any tough cut of meat you have.
- Bake/cook anything. Any recipe calling for buttermilk can generally also be substituted with soured milk. There are a ton of recipes out there for fried buttermilk chicken, cookies, pancakes, scones, cake etc.
- Soak grains. Properly prepare your grains by soaking them in soured milk. This process will render many of the toxic anti-nutrients naturally found in grains inert or at least greatly diminish the effect. I use this technique in the Soda Bread Recipe.
- Gardening. Dilute the soured milk with plain water and use it as a nourishing source of calcium and other things in your vegetable gardens.
- Skincare. Lactic acid is a common and powerful ingredient used in skincare. It exfoliates the top layers of your skin leaving it refreshed and glowing. Try this once a week to start. Just rub some soured milk on your face and wash it off after about 20 minutes before applying your moisturizer. Can be used after a deeper pore cleansing salicylic acid treatment too.
- Leave it out longer until it separates into curds and whey — make clabbered milk or bonny clabber. This can take up to 72 hours but will depend entirely on the conditions (temperature and humidity) of your kitchen. Enjoy plain or spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, raw honey etc.
Make Soured Milk From Raw Milk
Easily make soured milk from raw whole milk. This traditional food is teeming with natural gut-healthy probiotics and has many uses in your kitchen and beyond.
- 1-litre or 1-quart of raw whole milk
- Leve your raw, whole milk (covered) at room temperature for 24 hours or until it has become soured and slightly thickened but not separated.
- To make clabbered milk, leave the milk out longer (up to 72 hours or more) until it naturally separates into curds and whey.
- Spoon out the curds and eat them plain or flavoured with spices and fruits.
- Use the leftover whey in smoothies.