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May 27, 2011 12:29 AM

Use Spoiled Milk in place of buttermilk?

I, recently, met a gentleman that keeps his old spoiled milk around for when he needs buttermilk in waffles or baked goods. He says they are perfectly interchangeable. This guy is a chemical engineer so I assume he knows what he is talking about.

Once we get past the initial “eeck” factor, do you folks think spoiled milk is an acceptable substitute for buttermilk in baking?

Another question. Wouldn't it be easier to acidify a cup of milk when I make waffles rather than keep buttermilk around?

I have listed some definitions below; I think we may need for this discussion. Hopefully, I haven’t butchered them too badly.

Soured Milk or Acidified Milk
1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar in a cup of milk and left standing for 5 minutes.

The thin liquid leftover from making butter.

Cultured Buttermilk
Milk which has had a culture of lactic acid bacteria added to simulate the naturally occurring bacteria found in old-fashioned buttermilk.

Spoiled Milk
It is milk that has been too long in the refrigerator and turned sour. It has a distinctive smell and appearance, depending on when the milk turned. It might taste bitter as it begins to turn. It also will smell sour. As it continues to spoil, milk develops chunks that are curdled milk.

Home made live yoghurt
The milk is first heated to kill any undesirable bacteria and make the milk proteins set together rather than form curds. The milk is then cooled. The bacteria culture is added, and the milk is fermented for 4 to 7 hours.

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  1. This reminds me of a story my wife shared with me. It seems her father liked to drink buttermilk. As a girl, she used to give him a hard time about it. She would ask.."So Dad....How do you tell when buttermilk has gone bad?"

    1. All microbiology and chemistry aside, I've tasted spoiled milk. It was unpleasant. It doesn't taste like buttermilk (which I like, even all by itself) and I wouldn't use it as a substitution,

      2 Replies
        1. re: cowboyardee

          kind of the same thing I go through often when making ricotta cheese in my kitchen.
          the consistency is correct but the flavor is off putting, thinking it tastes like spoiled milk cheese

        2. Like you, I rarely have buttermilk around if I decide I want pancakes etc, so I do tend to go off-piste with slightly dubious dairy products. I would substitute milk that was "on the turn", rather than fully sour and lumpy. I also wouldn't substitute the full amount of dodgy milk, i'd use up a mixture of whatever odds and end of sour cream/yoghurt/cream/milk that I had in the fridge.

          However if I was cooking for anyone other than myself, and anything other than a lazy breakfast, I'd probably just go out and buy some buttermilk!

          1. I often add lemon juice to milk for buttermilk. It adds more fat since I usually use whole milk vs low fat buttermilk that you get in stores. One reason for using buttermilk or lemon juice/vinegar/acid is to react to the baking soda in the recipe. I also use powdered buttermilk which also works well. I don't know if soured milk has more acidity than regular milk. The recipes I've seen for it have added acid but you do get the tart/yogurt/sour cream taste w/ the soured milk.

            1. I do know that milk that has gone off naturally (as in, turned while under refrigeration) is a fine and acceptable substitute for buttermilk, especially in small doses. I've used it many times when I didn't have a lemon around to sour milk, and whomped up a howlingly good batch of biscuits with it. On the milk-souring tip, if I do add lemon or vinegar, I stir the few drops in and let it sit for more like a half-hour........I'm sure you've noticed that your milk develops a thick top layer after a few minutes, but after a half-hour the whole cup has taken on the thicker consistency, which I think makes for a more consistent result.......especially in baking.

              1 Reply
              1. re: mamachef

                Thanks, Mamachef, you are one of my favorite hounds!. A friend just gave me an old fashioned recipe for "clabber cake". She says that when milk goes bad, she puts it in the back of the fridge until she wants to make the cake. I made a face at that, since my sour milk has always gone down the drain, and she was surprised! I am definitely going to try it. (My friend and I both live where buttermilk, even the powder, is not available.)