If you ever tried culturing dairy products at home, you probably remember using starter cultures rich with lactic acid bacteria (they help the lactose to turn into acid).
This process is called fermentation or culturing and for it, we usually use koumiss, yogurt, kefir, or store-bought starter.
What if I told you that there’s an even simpler way to culture dairy products (the level of excitement is killing me!).
That you don’t need a starter culture and that you can solely rely on bacterial microorganisms from your environment (and I don’t mean you should start licking bathroom tiles)?
Clabbered milk is an example of a wild culturing process .
Instead of using ready-made starters, you can use yeasts and wild bacteria that are already there: in the fresh food we eat, and in the air, we breathe. This is the simplest way of curdling milk.
That’s how our ancestors did it (and they’ve built the pyramids!).
In the next few paragraphs, I’ll explain further what this magnificent product is and will reveal to you special tips and tricks on how you can prepare it at home.
Don’t worry, it’s quite simple. You don’t need any special equipment, except regular kitchen stuff: a jar with a lid, a piece of cloth, and a dish to collect extra whey.
You also don’t need any extraordinary cooking experience: this is one of the simplest clabbering milk recipes.
What Is Clabbered Milk?
The first thing you need is unpasteurized, fresh, raw milk – usually cow’s.
It’s important to pick unpasteurized milk, because pasteurized doesn’t contain the necessary probiotic that raw milk is rich in Lactic Acid Bacteria, which ferments when put in a warm environment, resulting in sour milk.
If you leave it long enough to clabber, you should be able to watch the curds and whey separately.
Contrary to what people often think, this process has nothing to do with spoiling the milk. Only pasteurized milk that contains no beneficial bacteria can spoil. Otherwise, it will only ferment.
This type of milk is rich in probiotics and therefore is very healthy not only for our digestive system but our immune response and cholesterol levels as well.
If you want to learn how to clabber milk at home, keep reading.Print
Simple clabbered milk recipe that you can make quickly and easily at home.
- Raw milk
- Lemon juice (optional)
- Sterilized glass jar with a lid
- Cloth for draining
- Another dish or jar to collect drained whey
- Before we dive into details, it’s worth mentioning that you need a sterile environment to properly ferment your milk. So, the first step is to sterilize a glass jar and its lid in boiling water.
- Since glass tends to break at high temperatures, make sure to fill the jar with water and put it in cold water. Then wait for it to gradually warm-up. Leave it sitting in hot water for a few minutes.
- Dry both the jar and the lid with a clean towel and leave them to cool down before pouring raw milk inside.
- Once your jar has cooled down, pour the raw milk in. Put the lid on, but loosely.
- For your raw milk to become sour milk, you need to let it sit at room temperature (68F – 78F pr 20C – 26C) between 1 and 5 days. If you want to get super soured milk, you can add 1 tablespoon lemon juice into raw milk.
- You’ll know your milk is done clabbering once you notice that curds and whey have begun to separate.
- The next step will be to take a cloth and separate the curds and whey by draining the mixture through the cloth. The longer you drain it the thicker the end product will be.
- As you drain the curds try not to spill the whey. You can use it as a starter culture for some future milk culturing projects: cottage cheese, sour cream, cream cheese, yogurt, etc.
- Also, save a few spoons of clabber milk from this batch. It will come in handy when you decide to prepare the next batch, as it will speed up the souring process.
Clabbered Milk vs Buttermilk
Both are fermented milk products, however, they’re not the same.
The former is prepared by fermenting raw cow’s milk, while the latter is made by leaving the fat-free liquid leftover (after preparing butter) to sit at room temperature in order to develop beneficial cultures.
They can be used as substitutes for each other in different recipes, usually when baking.
Clabbered Milk vs Yogurt
The basic difference between the two is that we prepare yogurt by using starter cultures, which already contains beneficial probiotic bacteria necessary to prepare fermented dairy products.
Clabbering milk means only to let the raw milk develop that same bacteria and turn into thicker, sour milk.
Clabbered Milk vs Kefir
The latter is by far a cultured dairy product with the most strains of probiotic bacteria. It’s prepared by combining kefir grains with milk and leaving the mixture for a day or two to ferment.
Clabbered raw milk is slightly less rich with probiotic bacteria and the preparation process is much simpler, as all you need to do to clabber milk is to leave raw milk outside in a loosely closed jar between 1 and 5 days.
Is Clabbered Milk Safe?
Yes, there’s no reason to doubt the safety of drinking this type of milk, as long as you use unpasteurized milk to prepare it.
Many people mistake this process for spoiling, but these two have nothing to do with each other. In general, milk can not spoil if it’s not pasteurized. It can only clabber and become sour milk.
By further separation between the curds and whey, you can prepare other cultured milk-based products like cottage cheese, cream cheese, sour cream, etc.
Pasteurized milk may spoil if left outside the fridge because it doesn’t have any probiotic bacteria that keep it good.
Is Buttermilk Clabbered Milk?
No. These two products are somewhat similar, however, the former is made from the leftover liquid after preparing butter, while the latter is made by leaving raw milk to clabber.
You can often use sour milk as a substitute for buttermilk.
Is Clabber the Same as Yogurt?
Basically yes. It involves the same process, but different types of bacteria. Yogurt is a fermented product prepared by heating the milk and using ready-made starter cultures, while clabbering means leaving raw milk to do its own thing.
How to Use Clabbered Milk?
Here’s a list of all the food you can prepare with raw soured milk:
- In chocolate cake instead of buttermilk;
- Banana bread;
- Zucchini bread;
- Chicken soak;
- Homemade marinades;
- Use it as a starter culture for other fermented products.
Perhaps a bit unexpected, but the utilization of this product goes beyond foods. You can use it as animal food (it’s extremely healthy for them), for feeding your plants, or as a beauty product by adding it to your bath.
The Bottom Line
In this article, you learned that fermenting milk products is very simple. All you need is unpasteurized, raw milk from healthy, fresh-grass-eating cows. Every fermented product you prepare can serve as a starter culture for your other fermented food projects.
Unfortunately, we spend a lot of money on buying these products in supermarkets. This industry turns billions of dollars every year and it’s only expected to grow, while the products they sell are far, far lower in quality than those we can prepare at home.
Fermented milk-based products are so great you can just turn one into another and use them for various purposes: in soups, stews, does, cakes, marinades, smoothies, and so on.
Hopefully, you enjoyed this article and found all the information you need. For more recipes, pay a visit to our blog and find out how to make Ricotta cheese, or how to culture cream and butter. Are you ready to start fermenting?