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Sour milk - What can I do with it?

  • l
  • Louise May 24, 2005 04:48 PM
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Hi there,
I have almost one litre of organic 3,8% milk that soured and I would rather do something with it than toss it. Can you let me know if I can re-incarnate it into something yummy?
TIA!

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  1. Use it anywhere you would use buttermilk :-)

    1. Ja, I often have that problem too. I can never drink milk fast enough!

      At home (South Africa), the Xhosa community has something called 'sour milk salad', where they encouraged sour milk to go even further, and become curds, which you then eat. Our housekeeper, a Xhosa lady, would always take milk that went off and use it like this. I tried some once, and didn't much like it. In a community where people are often hungry, dishes like this evolve to prevent food being wasted.

      The other poster is right; if your milk it a bit sour (rather than straight out rotten!), you could bake with it where you'd use yoghurt or buttermilk. Put it in banana bread, pancakes, etc. Or use it to marinate chicken pieces. Or bring it to the boil, add lemon juice to make it curdle, and then strain the curds to make ricotta/paneer (the sour milk salad was a bit like this, only sour, and with tighter curds).

      1. Depends on whether it's homogenized. If it is, dump it. It's useless. If not, then proceed (as someone else mentioned) as with buttermilk.

        1. Use it as you would use buttermilk, or make "pot cheese" with it (heat it gently, let the curds form, and then drain it in a cheesecloth). Use it as you would use quark/dry cottage cheese.

          1. it was robably homogenized and is now not sour but rotted. Pitch it.

            1. how can one tell if their milk is merely sour rather than spoiled? and...what exactly *is* sour milk, anyway?

              4 Replies
              1. re: ???

                Sour milk tastes like buttermilk/yogurt/creme fresh - nice, clean tangy acidic milky taste.

                It is exactly what it says - milk where the live bacteria developed to a point where fresh milk crosses into buttermilk/yogurt category in flavor and bacterial content (these are "good bacteria").

                Rotten milk tastes bitter, smells foul, and urges you to spit it out as soon as it touches your mouth.

                I.e. the difference is way to obvious for the two to be ever confused.

                Very few brands of milk in the US will "sour" naturally if left sitting for a long time, the bulk simply rots. Has to do with the way they were pasteurized, where the bacteria that will allow milk to sour have been killed by pasteurization.

                One can force the milk to sour by adding these bacteria back - a couple of tablespoon of yogurt with live active culture, or buttermilk, or sour cream, will re-introduce the bacteria and the milk will sour, not rot.

                1. re: summertime

                  Thanks for that distinction. I've learned something new! I think people talk about milk turning sour all the time, but that must be a leftover from the old days when it wasn't homogenized out the wazoo.

                  I guess the best thing to do if you don't think you are going to use up your milk is freeze it (before it rots).

                  1. re: dillard

                    People are confusing pasteurization with homogenization. It's the pasteurization that prevents millk from souring naturally, not the homogenization.

                    Homogenization affects the texture, for lack of better word, but has no bearing on the "sterility" of milk. Pasteurization kills off the potentially bad (and most, but not all, other) bacteria present in raw milk; homogenization essentially emulsifies milk so the fat/cream doesn't rise to the surface. Pasteurized but not homogenized milk is not too rare, raw milk is pretty rare in most places (in the US and probably Europe, at least) and in fact can't legally be sold in many US states.

                    And for what it's worth, being "organic" has no bearing on whether milk will sour or not, either. Raw milk doesn't have to be organic (but probably is, usually, when you can find it for sale at all), and the overwhelming bulk of organic milk is pasteurized and, indeed, usually homogenized too.

                    1. re: MikeG

                      Faced with this same problem, I made a dense yellow cake once, that had just the faintest lovely tang of buttermilk. Which is what I claimed to the discerning sampler of said cake when he asked about it!
                      Actually, it was a cranberry upside down cake - fresh cranberries, butter and brown suger on the stove top in a ring release cake pan, then dense cake batter, with sour milk 'substituted'

                      You can also do this with (fresh) plain unsweetened yogurt, or those powdered buttermilk packets (which are easier to find here in NYC than actual buttermilk!)

                      Thanks so much for the clear distinction on sour and rotten.

                      FUN FACT: In Iceland they sell sour milk in the grocery -- "Sur mijolk" or something like that