Don’t throw away raw milk or cream that smells sour. Instead, learn how to use soured milk safely to make cheese, bake bread, and much more.
Milk has been one of those things that I call, “experiencing the burden of abundance”. We are thankful for abundance, but sometimes it can get really overwhelming to manage and avoid waste.
As a first-time dairy owner, you may relate with seasons where you have more milk than you know what to do with.
If your raw cream or milk is souring or starting to smell like vinegar, don’t throw it away! Read on to learn how to use soured milk safely to make cheese, bake bread, and much more.
What is Soured Milk?
Soured milk is milk in your fridge that has been there a little too long and is beginning to have a sour flavor or milk that was soured through acidification or fermentation intentionally.
The best way to tell the difference is with your nose. If the milk does not have a bad smell then you can still use it.
Sour milk is still safe for consumption but you’ll want to use it in different ways than normal. Pouring yourself a big glass for breakfast is not recommended, but using it for baked goods is a great idea.
The Difference Between Soured Milk and Spoiled Milk
Soured milk is not the same as spoiled milk, and it’s important to understand the difference between the two.
Fresh milk starts out slightly acidic with a pH of about 6.5. In some cases, milk is soured intentionally to make cheese. This souring process is called fermentation. Milk soured by fermentation will eventually turn into curds and whey.
Souring milk (fermentation) adds good bacteria to the milk which is great for gut health. Soured milk foods include kefir, yogurt, buttermilk, or sour cream and soured milk is also a great option for baking.
Spoiled milk is a different story altogether. The spoilage is caused by bad bacteria and the milk will actually separate. It will taste and smell bad and will most likely upset your stomach if you try to drink it.
Raw milk may sour slightly faster than if your milk is pasteurized, but it generally doesn't spoil, it just changes. This is just one more reason why we love raw milk, plus you can’t beat the taste of fresh raw milk.
Pasteurized milk, once spoiled, isn't useable. If you tried to use spoiled milk in your baking, your baked goods would taste off so it’s best to just throw it out.
How to Use Soured Milk
In order to avoid letting those seasons of abundance create waste on the farm, here are some creative ways to use up milk that has soured.
When milk is beginning to sour, skim off the cream and use it for making butter. The cream will sour slower than the milk because it contains more sugar. Pro Tip: Use the cream to make butter and then throw the butter into the freezer for recipes that require melted butter.
A Substitute for Buttermilk
If your recipes call for buttermilk and you don’t have any on hand, you can make it by adding 1 tablespoon of white vinegar or lemon juice to a cup of fresh milk.
However, soured milk works the same as buttermilk and there’s no need to add a thing. Pro-Tip: The lactic acid in sour milk works with the leavening agent in your baking soda or baking powder to give you fluffy and delicious baked goods. Think buttermilk pancakes and biscuits. Soured milk works the same.
In Place of Sour Cream
Sour milk can be used in place of sour cream. Since it will not be as thick as sour cream, you should add softened butter. For every ¾ cup sour milk, add ⅓ cup softened butter in place of 1 cup of sour cream.
If you have milk that’s just beginning to sour, it’s perfect for making homemade mozzarella cheese and cottage cheese.
If you aren’t careful, animal feed can get out of hand. The wonderful thing about pigs is that they eat your abundance. Add your soured milk to your pig’s food and they will thank you. You can learn more about affordable ways we feed our animals and storage tips here.
As a Marinade
Use soured milk to marinate meat, especially chicken. In a couple of hours, you will have tender meat with great flavor.
Add soured milk to your bath to soften your skin. If you find the smell offensive, just add a couple of drops of skin-safe essential oils.