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Clabber Milk: Information and Uses

Similar in principle to Sourdough, the art of clabbering milk is certainly making a come back! 

Clabber milk is a naturally fermented milk product.  It can be eaten raw or used in recipes as it naturally leavens baked goods.  Clabber is made from raw milk that has set at room temperature for 1-2 day or refrigerated for over 20 days.  Raw cow’s milk is full of naturally occurring beneficial lactic acid bacteria.  When the bacteria are in a warm environment it ferments into a cross between yogurt and kefirIf it ferments long enough it turns into curds and whey.  Fermenting or souring milk is VERY different than having milk spoil. Spoiled milk only occurs if the beneficial bacteria found in clean raw cow’s milk have been killed by pasteurization, thus allowing mold spores or other contaminants to flourish.  In a fermented milk product, the lactic acid bacteria have soured the milk with the lactic acids they produce while consuming lactose.  The higher acidity keeps other microbes that can be harmful to humans from growing.  It is very important that you use only high-quality raw milk from clean grass-fed cows when making clabber milk.

Harold McGee’s book “On Food and Cooking, The Science and Lore of the Kitchen”  “The Health Benefits of Fermented Milks,” stating: “The standard industrial yogurt and buttermilk bacteria are specialized to grow well in milk and can’t survive inside the human body. But other bacteria found in traditional, spontaneously fermented milk-Lactobacillus fermentum, L. casei, and L. brevis, for example-as well as L. planetarium from pickled vegetables, and the intestinal native L. acidophilus, do take up residence in us. articular strains of these bacteria vPariously adhere to and shield the intestinal wall, secrete antibacterial compounds, boost the body’s immune response to particular disease microbes, dismantle cholesterol and cholesterol-consuming bile acids, and reduce the production of potential carcinogens.”

Making Clabber Milk-

·        Start by sterilizing a glass jar and lid in boiling water. To do so, fill your jar with hot tap water to avoid shattering the glass with the heat difference. Add the lid directly to the pan of boiling water, empty the jar of the warm water and pour boiling water into the warmed jar, and let it sit for a few minutes. Empty the jar and air dry the lid and jar on a clean towel. Let the jar and lid cool completely before using.

·        Add the raw milk to the sterilized jar and secure the lid loosely.

·        Ferment the raw milk at room temperature until the milk sours and starts to separate. This can take between 1 to 5 days depending on the age of the milk, the temperature in your home, and the natural bacteria in the milk itself.

·        When the clabber has solidified it can then be skimmed off the clotted cream, used for baking, eaten like yogurt, or strained to separate the curds from the whey.

Using Clabber-

·        After straining the clabber, the whey can be used as a starter for any lacto-fermented project from veggies to grains, and is especially useful for starting a new batch of clabber milk.

·        Using a tablespoon of clabber whey in the new batch of milk will speed the fermentation process along considerably.

·        The curds will thicken and sweeten with straining and take on a cream cheese-like texture.

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