20 Things to do With Soured Raw Milk or Cream

Raw milk or cream sours much differently from commercially prepared milk or cream. In commercially prepared milk, the product has been pasteurized, or heated at high temperatures, to kill any bacteria that may have been in the milk. As a result, not only are the pathogens killed, but also the beneficial bacteria that aid your body in digesting the milk, as well as the enzymes and most of the naturally occurring vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D and magnesium which help you body absorb the calcium in the milk. This is why artificial vitamin D is added to milk – to replace what was destroyed in the pasteurization process. Also, the milk is usually also homogenized, or forced through a screen that breaks the cream into unnaturally small particles so that it will not separate.

Because of this, pasteurized homogenized milk is much different from farm fresh milk straight from the cow. Milk that has undergone this type of processing putrefies as it sours because for one, it is a blank slate so to speak, and any wild bacteria floating around in the air can settle in the milk. In our environment many types of bacteria are commonly found which can become pathogenic, or dangerous, under the right conditions. These bacteria – e-coli, campylobacter, staphylococci, salmonella, and others – are common and generally benign in our environment until they find the right media in which to grow. Pasteurized milk provides an ideal environment, where unpasteurized milk contains many beneficial bacteria which naturally inhibit the growth of these types of pathogenic bacteria.

Try this: Set two jars of milk out on the counter in a warm location for several days – one pasteurized milk and the other raw or unpasteurized milk. The pasteurized milk will begin to stink, while the raw milk will generally have a more mild cheese like smell. The pasteurized milk would be dangerous to drink, while the raw milk would be perfectly safe, even if you did not find the flavor pleasant. Many traditional cultures actually did drink their milk clabbered, and even preferred it that way.

For pasteurized milk of course, there is really only one thing that you can do with it once it has reached this point unless you want to risk becoming seriously ill – throw it out! Soured raw milk on the other hand can be used for many things. Of course you could drink it, but many people now are unaccustomed to the sour flavor of clabbered milk, so I have put together a list of 20 things that you can do with raw milk or cream that has unexpectedly gone south while you weren’t watching.

  1. Use the whey, or the clear liquid that separates from the milk, to soak nuts, seeds, legumes, and grains, which makes the nutrients in these foods more readily digestible. You only need a tablespoon or two to add to the water that you are using to soak your grains. After the grains have soaked for 24 hours, cook them as you normally do before using them.
  2. Mix soured milk into pancake batter, biscuits, or quick breads in place of buttermilk or other liquids called for in the recipe.
  3. Mix soured cream into scrambled eggs or eggs used for french toast before cooking them.
  4. Mix soured cream into mashed potatoes instead of milk
  5. Add a little buttermilk culture and set it out on the counter for another day – then gently heat the milk until it curdles and then strain, add a little fresh cream and salt – viola, cottage cheese!
  6. Add a little buttermilk culture and allow it to sit until fully separated. Then strain soured milk in cheesecloth until you have cream cheese.
  7. Use the soured cream on sandwiches instead of mayonnaise.
  8. Warm slightly soured milk on the stove top and add cocoa powder and raw honey or raw cane sugar for a delightful cup of creamy hot chocolate.
  9. Use soured cream to make white sauce or cheese sauce
  10. Use it to make kefir or yogurt
  11. Use a dollop of soured cream to top a baked potato or a bowl of chili
  12. Add seasonings to the cream and turn it into a yummy ranch dip for veggies.
  13. Whip slightly soured cream with a bit of cream cheese and raw honey for a delightful whipped topping for fruit filled crepes
  14. Make mozzarella cheese – it’s easier than it sounds!
  15. Add a little buttermilk culture to slightly soured cream, allow it to sit on the counter for a day, and then pour it into your food processor or blender and make it into cultured butter.
  16. Throw it into the blender with berries an a banana to make a yummy smoothie
  17. Use the soured milk or cream in any recipe that calls for milk – pumpkin pie, clam chowder, etc.
  18. Treat your pets, chickens, pigs.
  19. Pour it on your compost pile.
  20. Put a cup of sour milk in a gallon of water and spray it on your garden for a fabulous fertilizer.

I am sure that there are many other things that you could make or do with sour raw milk or cream – experiment and be creative! – but this should be a good start for those of you who are wondering “What do I do with this now!?”

How to make mozzarella: http://www.cheesemaking.com/store/pg/21.html – It is not necessary to microwave the curd – just drain the curd, heat the whey to about 175 F  and use heavy kitchen gloves to hold the cheese ball under the water for several seconds, then remove it and stretch it; if it breaks repeat the process, but do not leave the cheese in the boiling water or it will dissolve into the water and you will lose your cheese!

45 Comments

  1. Amy
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    How do you make mozzarella? I would love to know.

  2. Andrea Walshak
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Could I copy the 20 uses of raw milk to save in a word document for future use? We get raw milk from a friend and would like to try some of your suggestions. I was going to save paper by not printing just saving it to my documents. THANKS

  3. Posted January 24, 2011 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Andrea, that is fine – if you share it with others, please credit my blog! Thank you 😀

  4. Posted January 24, 2011 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    This is a great link for making homemade mozzarella. I found this website years ago, and refer to it for all kinds of cheese making questions! http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/Mozzarella/MOZZARELLA_jn0.HTM of course he says that mozzarella is difficult, but I disagree with him on that – mozzarella is one of the easiest cheeses to make.

  5. Jess
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 10:14 am | Permalink

    I don’t like the sour taste and find that it tends to permeate whatever I put it in. But my favorite way to use a lot of sour mill in one swoop is to put it in something that should taste sour anyway, like lemon pudding.
    I’ve been a bit hesitant though, since most cultures that drink sour milk let it sour at warm temps while mine sours in the fridge, using different (cold-loving rather than warm-loving) bacteria and presumably with a different result…

  6. Posted January 24, 2011 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Jess, the bacteria that grows in the milk in the fridge is the same as what would grow in the milk in a warm location – the cold just slows the bacteria growth so it takes longer to go sour, but it is the same bacteria.

  7. trudy
    Posted January 24, 2011 at 6:32 pm | Permalink

    Hi, I’m a city gal and have always been a city gal. My mom started using soured pasturized milk in cakes, and sauces when I was a kid. Never got sick. So when my store bought milk goes soure I use it the same way my mom did. Cakes, breads, sauces whatever. Never get sick. Does cooking the soured milk destroy the bacteria that would make a person get sick?

  8. Posted January 25, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Trudy, cooking it would destroy the bacteria, so that is probably ok – of course I prefer raw milk because of the enzymes and beneficial bacteria, and you can use that in smoothies, yogurt, or other uncooked items rather than just baked or cooked foods :) but I would never use sour milk from the store without cooking it first! Plus the fact that it is homogenized bothers me too . . . along with the fact that most of that milk comes from CAFO farms and contains rBST and antibiotics, and other things I wouldn’t want to eat.

  9. Posted May 16, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Hello there! I stumbled across you in search of a way to make cream cheese from soured raw milk… and I was a bit tickled at the name of your blog because my own blog is called Tomato Soup Cake- so we’re kinda weird-soup-name-blog-sisters… or something;-} Anyhoo, a quick question if you don’t mind: so you basically just allow your milk (whole I presume?) to sour until it separates, strain out the whey and what is left is cream cheese? I guess I always assumed one would have to start with cream to make cream cheese, but no? I’m seriously hoping that I can do it with milk, since I’ve got an entire half gallon which has soured and I’d love an easy-peasy cream cheese recipe.
    Thanks ever so much?

  10. tammy
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    i have some raw full cream grass fed yummy milk sitting out (on purpose) right now… i’m gonna make cream cheese and whey out of it.. i just let it sit until it separates and take off the solid stuff (cream cheese) and save the clear liquid (whey)

  11. Teri
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    How do you make buttermilk? I LOVE buttermilk!!!

  12. Posted June 3, 2011 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Sorry that I haven’t gotten back to you sooner! I love the name of your blog :) Good cream cheese also has a cheese culture added. You can make cream cheese by simply souring the milk, but it will have a lot more tang to it than the sour cream you buy at the store. Here is an easy recipe:
    2 cups whole raw milk
    2 cups heavy raw cream
    2 tablespoons fresh cultured buttermilk or ¼ teaspoon mesophilic culture
    ¼ tablet rennet
    ¼ cup cool water
    1 large square of clean linen or several layers cheesecloth
    1 teaspoon sea salt

    Mix milk and cream over low heat until it reaches about 70°F and add buttermilk or powdered culture. Pour into a glass jar and cover with cheesecloth. Allow it to sit for about 15 minutes
    Dissolve your quarter tablet of rennet in ¼ cup of cool water and stir the rennet solution into your milk. Cover and allow it to stand overnight at room temperature – it should be between 70 and 75°F.
    In the morning, it should be gelled. Line a large strainer with your linen or layers of cheesecloth and pour in your cultured milk. Sprinkle on the salt and do a quick stir to break up the curds into pea sized bits. Let it drain for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it begins to become more or less a solid mass. Turn the mass over in your strainer and allow it to strain for another 15 or 20 minutes. Now you have a really yummy cream cheese! Keep it in the refrigerator and use it within a week or so (if you can even make it last that long!)

  13. Posted June 3, 2011 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Buttermilk is what is left after making butter. When you make your butter, the first liquid that you pour off of your butter is buttermilk. To culture it, add 1 tablespoon of cultured buttermilk, stir it and put it in a jar on your counter top overnight at about 70 to 75°. In the morning you will have cultured buttermilk :)

  14. michele walker
    Posted August 6, 2011 at 8:29 pm | Permalink

    I found a quart of my raw milk in the back of the fridge and it is probably 2 months old. There is a blob of white stuff at the bottom and the liquid which is the whey i guess is cloudy. Can i use the whey to soak my grains? I have enough to soak mostly in whey, but most recipe’s say to only add a couple of tab to other liquid.

  15. D. Smith
    Posted October 24, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Explain “cultured” please? Do you BUY cultured buttermilk from the store and use that as your culture? I thought cultured meant just naturally soured/clabbered?? I may be wrong here because I’m not good with using soured raw milk and cream and am always looking for ideas. Everyone talks about using cultured milk added to the cream to make this or that, but no one ever specifies what they mean by cultured.

    Please do, k?

  16. Posted October 26, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Yes, you can. It only takes a couple of tablespoons mixed with water, but if you want to use more, or if you want to use only whey it won’t hurt. The more you use, the more sour your grains will taste.

  17. Posted October 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    D. there are many different bacteria that can grow in milk. ‘Cultures’ are different strains of bacteria that people have used to prepare milk, and each one has it’s own unique texture and flavor. These cultures have been isolated and developed by our ancestors over the last thousands of years. Hundreds of years ago, different families often had their own special trademark cultures that they specialized in. Naturally soured milk is also cultured, but you have no idea with what unless you test it, so you have no way of knowing exactly how it will taste or how it will turn out exactly. Now you can buy different prepared cultures, powdered in packets, or you can buy already cultured products that contain live cultures, like buttermilk or yogurt. With those, unless another strain of bacteria overpowers it, you will get predictable results. Buttermilk culture is a mild sort of cheesy culture that has a less sour flavor than the naturally occurring culture of milk that has been left to clabber on its own, so it is very useful to make things that you want to have a milk flavor, like cream cheese, goat chevre, or even mild flavored yogurt for smoothies. You can buy prepared cultured buttermilk to use as a buttermilk culture, or you can buy buttermilk culture in a powdered form in packets from http://www.culturesforhealth.com

  18. Celeste
    Posted November 19, 2011 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    I have some raw cream that I found in the back of my fridge. There is some white “mold” growing on the sides of the container and some on the top of the cream. Is this still good to use? Should I just remove the white mold and use the cream or should I throw it out? Also, I have some raw milk kefir that is about 2 months old….very sour and a little alcohol taste. It has separated and it is very grainy. Is this still good? Can I drink it? It is rather thick.
    Thank,
    Celeste

  19. Posted December 7, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    Taste a little bit and if it doesn’t have an off flavor, scrape off the white mold and use it. As for the kefir, that can be good for several months – I have kefir I used after 4 months and would have kept up to 6 months. If it garden with it.

  20. Renee
    Posted December 29, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    I also have a couple jars of raw cream in my fridge about two months old. The cream is now solid in a cloudy liquid. I am pretty new to the whole raw milk scene so I am not too sure what I have. Could you please give me some insight?

    Thanks

  21. Posted January 19, 2012 at 12:37 am | Permalink

    Does it smell sour? How solid? if it is still soft enough to spoon and doesn’t smell bad, then what you have is sour cream in whey. If it is harder than that, you probably have cream cheese, but it is hard to say without being able to see it. Good luck!

  22. Craig
    Posted February 7, 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Regarding pasteurized milk: If it is a “blank slate” such that the souring of it is from outside bacteria, then how can it sour even if it has never been opened?

    Milk pasteurization is incomplete. To heat it fully and create a truly pasteurized product, would be to make shelf milk. You cannot put a gallon of normal milk on the shelf because it contains living organisms.

  23. Posted February 7, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    That may be true, but it isn’t bacteria I would want in my system – pasteurized milk gone sour will make you extremely ill, while raw milk gone sour is still a food.

  24. Sarah
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Hey there,

    I have been following this thread as a lurker. Have some questions. My first attempt at making butter by skimming the cream off the top of the raw milk did not work. I tried all types of methods to agitate the cream, but it never thickened. It was souring in the fridge for 2 weeks before I used it and it sat out on the counter and was brought to room temp before I tried. What went wrong?

    I still have the soured milk. I don’t dare pour it out as I know there are several uses for it. Should I take it out of the fridge and set it on the counter for several days?

    All of the wonderful websites about making butter and I can’t figure it out. Help!

    Thanks,
    Sarah

  25. Posted February 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Sarah, does it appear to be curdling? Sometimes if it is too warm, it wont form a ball of butter even if the cream separates into whey and butterfat. If it gets too warm, the butterfat will just melt and it won’t separate.

  26. Sarah
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    Hey Anji,

    It wasn’t warm at all. Quite cool actually. It set out for about an hour or less after taking it out of the fridge. And, no, it never did curdle.

  27. Posted February 29, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    Sarah, too cold then? Your cream should be room temperature. I have never really had a problem getting mine to turn – what are you using? (blender, food processor, etc.)

  28. Jackie
    Posted February 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Anji, I have cream that I was going to use to make coffee creamer, but it’s 7 days old (milked from the cow 7 days ago). That sounds like nothing when I hear people are using milk and cream months old, but since I’m new to raw milk I’m not sure what to do. Can I still use it for creamer, should I (could I) make butter? How long would butter or perhaps creamer last in my fridge? I’m not ready to try cream cheese or cottage cheese yet! Too nerve racking! :)

  29. Posted February 29, 2012 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    For coffee creamer, you will want the cream to still be somewhat sweet. It really depends on how the cream smells – if it is barely starting to turn, then it should be fine. The milk I get will usually last about 2 weeks in the fridge (that is if the kids don’t drink it all!) If you think it tastes too sour to use for creamer, then make sour cream or butter. Sour cream is easy, just add a couple of tablespoons of buttermilk and let it sit on the counter overnight, or until it sets. Better yet, make half into butter and half into sour cream and have a baked potato 😀

  30. Deb
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Hi. I tried my first attempt at making raw cream cheese. I think I poured it through the cheesecloth before it was separated thoroughly, because most of it just poured into the bowl and looked like skim milk. A little of the curd stayed in the cheese cloth. My question is, what I can use this pitcher-full of soured liquid for? I is now refrigerated. Thank you.

    (I tried a second and third batch, and they turned out perfectly, with more cheese curds and whey.)

  31. Posted March 3, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Deb, congratulations! One thing that you can do if your curds are kind of thin is to fold the cheesecloth over a couple of times so that it is a few layers thick. Otherwise, you lose a lot of your milk solids – but it sounds like you got a better result on the next few batches 😀 You can use the whey for making pancakes or other baked goods, also put a couple of tablespoons in a bowl of water and soak your grains before you cook them – for example, steel cut oats or cracked wheat cereal. You can also put a little in the water that you use to soak black or pinto beans (not white beans or kidney beans – for those use a little baking soda instead) to make them more digestible, and it reduces gas. You can also use it as fertilizer in your garden or give it to pets :)

  32. Sarah
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    Hey Anji,

    I tried a blender, then a food processor, then a stand mixer. None of them worked. Is it possible that milk can be too sour to work with?

    I still have the soured milk in my fridge.

    Thanks for your help!

  33. Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Sarah, I have made butter from really sour cream, so I don’t think that is it – if the cream is too sour, the butter just doesn’t taste good. I wonder if the cream that you are getting just doesn’t have a high enough butterfat content. Did you skim the cream yourself, or did you buy it already skimmed?

  34. Sarah
    Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    Anji,

    I skimmed the cream off myself. I put the milk into a large mouth gallon jar and, when separation occurred, I used a baster to suck up all the cream. While I did get a little bit of milk towards the end, it was minimal. I spoke with Amber, the woman who sells the milk, and they uses her milk to also make butter. It must be operator error. Should I let the milk sit overnight and try to separate again tomorrow?

  35. Posted March 3, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    I think that is what I would do – if that doesn’t work, then you have me stumped! It can be really easy to get to much milk mixed in with your cream while skimming. If you can let it sit for a while and then just skim the heaviest cream from the top of the jar, that might be the answer to this dilemma – otherwise, I don’t think I could figure it out without actually seeing it myself. Good luck, and let me know if it works.

  36. Ellen
    Posted April 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    Love your site thank you :)

    I’m a newbie at all of this. I have a quart of old raw goat milk that is a little too sour for my taste (smells more like cheese) and came on your site to learn how to make yogurt from it BUT don’t have ‘previous’ yogurt OR starter NOR am I interested in using heat.

    Is it possible to get yogurt by just letting it sit out on the counter? What are the stages of raw goat milk as it ages?

    Thank you so much.

  37. Posted April 2, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    Ellen, you do not have to heat it, just keep it warm. you can even just stir in a couple of tablespoons of plain yogurt that has live cultures, and then let it sit on the counter in a warm place if you like. It works best if you can keep it at about 80 degrees – if you can put it in a food dehydrator on low heat, in a warm oven with the light on, or even in a cooler filled with hot water for several hours, you can get yogurt. Because the milk has already begun to sour and it has an unregulated mix of bacteria, the yogurt that you get may have some unpredictable results (that is why people began heating milk before making yogurt – so they could control the results better) it is most likely not going to be anything like yogurt you get at the store, it could turn out a little slimy in texture, and it will probably still be pretty sour tasting, but it is certainly worth a try 😀 If you don’t like the results, pets love to eat it, and you can always add it to pancake batter or biscuits. You can also strain it with cheesecloth and make yogurt cream cheese.

  38. beverly G.
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    Is there anyway to get around the “rennet” in Mozzarella making? i neither have nor know how to get rennet.. have ALOT of Sour Milk, since this is our first goat and I’m just learning what to do with it and how to do it! I really really really want to make Mozzarella, but that rennet thing…. LOL!

  39. beverly G.
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    and a note to anyone having trouble with butter, my first (and only) attempt i thought our arms were gonna fall off and it just wouldn’t form, then i read that it helps to put it (warm) in a cool container…. so as a last ditch effort i cooled a quart jar in the freezer and gave it one last try, Wha La!!! Beautiful Fresh Delicious Butter! Mmmmm!

  40. Posted May 4, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

    Beverly, I have never tried to make mozzarella without rennet. From what I have read, it is a huge gamble and since mozzarella takes so much time, you want to do everything that you can to make sure it turns out right. you can get rennet – both animal based and plant based – on amazon.com, or from a cheese making supply site like cheesesupply.com. Cultures for health also sells rennet at culturesforhealth.com and there are also a few websites out there that will tell you how to make your own rennet. Here is a link to how to make your own animal rennet on eHow http://www.ehow.com/how_5134833_make-rennet.html here is how to make vegetable rennet with nettles on wiki answers: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_do_you_make_vegetable_rennet_from_nettles

  41. Arlene
    Posted May 31, 2012 at 6:27 am | Permalink

    I had some raw milk sour, so I used some in pancakes, and left the rest on the counter. It separated into whey and a thick product, that resembles soft farmers cheese. What is it? What can I do with it? Seems like it would work in cheese cake.

  42. Posted May 31, 2012 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    :) that is exactly what you have! I would definitely be whipping up a fab cheesecake ASAP!

  43. kate
    Posted August 19, 2012 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    what a wonderful blog! so i have about 1/2 gallon of raw milk in the fridge (that is TWO months old) … it has seperated for sure. so is the clear liquid on top the whey? and the blob of white at the bottom cream cheese? sour cream? obviously i am super new to this, but i know it can still be used for other things. any answers and/or advice would be welcomed! thank you

  44. Posted August 20, 2012 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    As long as it smells ok, yes that is pretty much what you have (cheese and whey) Likely it will be crumbly cheese that is fairly sour tasting. It is great for adding to salads, or you can add a little sweet cream and make cottage cheese. For a mild and creamy cream cheese, you would use a cheese culture or a buttermilk culture and it is usually the cream only that is cultured, or maybe half and half. Sour cream is usually cream that you have cultured with a yogurt or buttermilk culture.

  45. Posted June 1, 2013 at 9:03 pm | Permalink

    I need an answer to something… I had 2 gallons of pure grass fed raw milk. It was in a cooler with ice, I forgot about it. The ice melted, turned to water. One of the gallons leaked into the water, so that a goner… But the other was completely separated into whey. This heas been at room temp for about 2 months. I do not want to throw out my liquid gold and I am making cream cheese. It takes fine to me… What would you do. Then again, I love the sour taste.. But .. You can tell it is not “bad”