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sour milk

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Just as I was about to pour down the sink the remains of my half gallon of milk which has begun to sour I had a revelation. Why can't I freeze this to use in baked goods that call for sour or butter milk? Is this a no brainer that just dawned on me or is there some reason to dump it?

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  1. Does it taste sour but good like yogurt and buttermilk, or just bad?

    3 Replies
    1. re: paulj

      there is a line here indeed and you don't want to be mucking about with potential pathogens.

      1. re: paulj

        I'd say it's on the verge. I'm thinking about when I sour milk with vinegar or lemon. I wouldn't drink that but I guess I'm wondering about bacteria vs. an additive to induce curdling. Mine isn't curdled, just getting funky.

        1. re: tweetie

          You may want to try nuking the milk to the point where the surface is just beginning to tremble. Then cool and put into a clean container. Years ago I read this suggestion, which stops the souring process and allows the milk to be usable from the fridge for a few more days. If your milk has already gone too far to still be drinkable after nuking (which DOES give it a bit of a cooked/evaporated milk taste), you can certainly freeze it and use for baking. Do so in 4 or 8 ounce amounts so you don't need to thaw and refreeze repeatedly. It will probably separated when thawed, but just shake it up well right before you add it to your recips.

      2. From what I understand, ultra-pasteurized milk, which is primarily what you'd find at your average grocery store, is devoid of the "good" bacteria that would allow it to sour naturally. If it was raw milk that had soured, it would still be usable, but ultra-pasteurized milk just spoils. I've tasted milk that's just begun to spoil and I think the smell and taste is disgusting. I can't imagine doing anything but dumping it down the drain.

        1. I usually use sour milk as you suggest for e.g. soda bread or cornbread. But, as other posters have correctly noted, you need to catch it "on the right day" - once it's gone too far, it's of no use. And the milk needs to be "pasteurised" (or raw), not "ultra-pasteurised" or UHT; the latter types as noted just spoil, although this is fairly obvious. I think it's best to make whatever it is you might bake with it using the milk, that day, and if not wanted immediately, to freeze the result rather than the milk. Freezing really separates milk and I don't know how it would reconstitute in a sour state upon defrosting.

          There's also milk that one might call "on the edge"; it's not exactly sour, but you can tell that it's just about to do so. There is a subtle change in flavour at this point, it becomes more developed, nuttier. While there might be some risk in this, I find that's when it has its best flavour (albeit for one day, no longer) and is good for applications where the flavour of the milk is paramount: semolina and rice puddings, cold cereal, certain sauces. I don't know exactly what the risk level is with cold cereal but I have a feeling it's not far off the risk level with raw milk, i.e. it *probably* won't kill you, but those with weak stomachs or vulnerable physiologies might not want to chance it. These are guesses.

          1. LOL, I have no idea what the answer is but this is the sort of question that brings me to Chowhound. Who would even think to ask this? A Chowhound!

            1. Isn't there a difference between soured and spoiled?

              1. Depends on the quality of the milk. If you use UHT or ultra-P it is spoiled not sour. Toss it.

                If it is raw or good quality pasteurized then use you can use it. But really, "sour" milk is not old milk but raw milk that is a little past its prime. It isn't really a modern product.