I wasn’t very far into my real food journey the first time I heard the term “clabber.”
My initial thought was, “What the heck is that?” So I promptly headed to Google to check it out.
It’s amazing how something that was so common a hundred years ago is so unheard of today…
Clabber is basically thickened sour, raw milk. Part of the reason that we don’t use the term anymore is because store-bought, pasteurized milk doesn’t clabber. It just putrefies and turns nasty. So, clabber is definitely an old-fashioned concept for most folks.
If the word sounds familiar to you, it might be because it’s the name of a popular brand of baking powder. Back in the day, women would keep clabbered milk as a natural leavening agent for baked goods. Clabber is acidic, like buttermilk, so it reacts with baking soda to produce fluffy cakes and quick breads.
However, once baking powder was introduced, clabber wasn’t as necessary. But one manufacturer of baking powder, Hulman & Company, chose to name their product Clabber Baking Powder (Clabber Girl) to help consumers understand how to use it.
So there is your history lesson for the day. 😉
-> If you found this history lesson interesting, then old-fashioned from-scratch cooking might be for you. I get some feel they just don’t have the time or recipes to cook from scratch meals. I can help with that, this post will show you How to Cook from Scratch When You Have Limited Time, and The Prairie Homestead Cookbook has some great simple from-scratch recipes for you to start with. <-
Sour Raw Milk vs Spoiled Pasteurized Milk
As you know, I’m a big fan of raw milk for many reasons, but I especially love the fact that it doesn’t go “bad” like pasteurized milk does. Why is that?
Pasteurized milk is heated at high temperatures killing almost all the bacteria (good and bad). Without the presence of good bacteria, bad bacteria and mold are allowed to grow causing pasteurized milk to rot. The good bacteria killed by the pasteurization process are needed for raw milk to ferment (sour) and create clabber.
Fermentation is another old-fashioned technique used in the kitchen, it creates healthy, probiotic-rich foods. Fermentation is an old way of storing vegetables for an extended period of time. Some well-known things that are created by fermentation are sauerkraut and pickles.
When it comes to fermenting dairy products it is a little different than vegetable storage. Cultures and bacteria are added to milk to make things like cheese or yogurt. Raw milk already has the necessary bacteria and creates its own cultures when left to sour.
Once raw milk sours, it can still be used for a whole bunch of different things, unlike the cooked stuff which must be thrown out once it turns sour.
Souring Your Raw Milk
Souring raw milk intentionally is a very simple process. You take your unused Raw Milk out of the fridge and allow it to sit at room temperature. Depending on the age and temperature in your home in 2-5 days you should see it start to separate.
Raw milk goes through varying stages as it sours. It starts off by slowly decreasing in sweetness each day it sits in the fridge, and if you leave it long enough, it will eventually separate into curds and whey.
Soured raw milk will maintain a “pleasantly” sour taste and smell. Now, I’m not saying that you will want to drink it straight (although some folks do), but it shouldn’t make you want to throw up when you open the lid. (If it does, toss it!)
So, next time you end up with a gallon or two of clabber, don’t pour it down the drain– put it to good use instead:
**VERY IMPORTANT** The following ideas are only to be used with RAW milk that has soured. Do NOT attempt to use soured pasteurized milk– it is not the same and should be thrown away.
20 Ways to Use Sour (Raw) Milk
1. Make chocolate cake- use the clabber in place of the milk or buttermilk in the recipe.
2. Make zucchini bread or banana bread.
3. Add it to yeast breads or rolls.
4. Make delicious homemade waffles or pancakes.
5. Make muffins for breakfast or snacks.
6. Use it as a base for your smoothies.
7. Soak chicken or fish in sour milk to help tenderize the meat.
8. Use it as the base for a homemade marinade.
9. Use it to soak grains, Nourishing Traditions style.
10. Use it to make buttermilk biscuits (in place of the buttermilk).
11. Add it to casseroles or soups.
12. Add a little sweetener and cocoa powder to make homemade chocolate milk. (I’d do this before it starts to really separate.)
13. Make homemade pudding.
14. Feed it to your chickens, pigs, or dogs. (It’s really good for them, too!)
15. Dilute it with water, and add to your garden.
16. Use it to make homemade milk kefir
17. Dilute it with water, and give it to your tomato plants.
18. Add it to your bath- add some essential oils if you don’t care for the smell.
19. Use it as a substitute for recipes that call for buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream.
Will You Be Using Sour Raw Milk?
Sour or fermented raw milk is great for baking, gardening and can add healthy probiotics to your diet. You can’t use store-bought pasteurized milk, but the good news is even without a milk cow you can find raw milk. In some states, it is not legal to sell raw milk, but you can join a local milk share program. A milk share program is when you buy shares of a single cow and in return receive raw milk.
Maybe the idea of using sour milk isn’t something you are ready for yet, but old-fashioned from-scratch cooking is still something you are interested in. If this sounds like you then you are a perfect match for my Heritage Cooking Crash Course.
The Heritage Cooking Crash Course was designed to simplify from scratch cooking while saving you time in the kitchen. In this course, you will find step-by-step tutorials for making breads, fermenting vegetables, and other old-fashioned cooking techniques. No special equipment or extra expenses, only simple ingredients and everyday tools.
Learn more about The Heritage Cooking Crash Course and how you can start cooking from scratch now.
Other Posts for Dairy-Lovers:
- How to Make Cream Cheese
- 16 Ways to Use Whey
- How to Make Fromage Blanc (soft cheese)
- Why We Drink Raw Milk
- The Goat 101 Series
- 6 Tips for Safely Handling Raw Milk