Friday, March 5, 2010

Clabbered Milk


Clabbered milk is the next thing to take up residence on my very overcrowded counter.  I have read that you should just keep a jar sitting out all the time. Whenever you use any, just add some milk back into it.  My philosophy of adding one thing at a time into our routine brings me to this next.  I am headed to some other raw milk stuff, but need to get this step figured out.  So.... my clabber jar will be living right next to my sourdough starter crock.  I hope it does not smell terrible.

One important note, the clabbering process only works with raw or unpasteurized milk. Pasteurized milk, if left out, only produces the nasty sour milk that we all know and don't love today.

What is clabber?  Clabber is naturally soured raw milk.  It is also the beginning of all raw cheese. Take a 1/2 quart of fresh milk and leave it out (cover with a towel or cheese cloth, it must be able to breathe). Wait for it to thicken. Depending on the temperature in your house this could take one to three days. It should be the consistency of pudding. Bacteria in the milk begin their process of converting lactose (a sugar, and therefore sweet) into lactic acid (which being an acid, is tart or sour.)  This gives the milk a sour, acidic taste that is more tangy than buttermilk or yogurt.

It will smell very sour at this phase.... probably too sour to use. Dump half the jar out and replace with fresh milk and mix. Let that sit a day till it "clabbers" again. It won't be so sour now.  Again, a similar process to growing a sourdough starter.   If necessary, you could again dump half of this and make a third generation, but with the price of raw milk, I don't think so.  I confess that some creme fraiche will be going into the first batch to get it started and none of it is going to be thrown out!  I will use it in something.

The clabbered milk you have produced can then either be left out (if it is not too warm in your house or you use it often) or refrigerated. When you need some in a milk product, scrape the stuff off the top and toss it (it sounds like a "bloom" on other cultured stuff), then spoon out what you need and refill the  jar with fresh milk. Just keep your little clabber garden going.

Now, on to the bigger question....What do you use it for?
  • It is the beginning of all cheese (which I want to learn how to make)
  • Starter for cottage cheese
  • Starter for sour cream
  • Starter for cultured butter
  • Add texture to baked goods such as pancakes, bread, muffins. 
I don't know how this will all turn out, but plan to give it the old college try.  This is just the next step in our raw milk adventure.  I did find out where the word came from...  The word ‘clabber’ comes from the Irish word for thickened or the Scots word for mud, whichever you like, and the Irish word for milk is banne (thank you MacBain’s Dictionary). Together they make up the word ‘bonnyclabber’, which is what we know as buttermilk..

Best of Health to you

New Book - Radical Homemakers

Today I came across a book that looks so good.  It looks like this family had the sense to write a book for this time,  when all of us are busy reassessing what we know about our homes, our families our money and our lives.  I plan to read it soon and hope it is not way out there.  The author wrote a couple of extensive articles which I will list.  If anyone beats me and reads this first, can you do a report for everyone else.

We have recently felt that the economic downturn has made our family reassess everything.  Two years ago would I have spent the better part of two days gathering the best ingredients, culturing and prepping them, carefully labelling and storing them, making sponges so we wouldn't run out of bread, researching new ways to use common, healthy ingredients.... then being delighted that borsch turned out to taste good?

Looking into a cow, turning the guys back into farmers, using a lot of resource to make our grass into protein, figuring out how to butcher our own chickens.... two years ago this would not have even been on my horizon.  One of the new truths in our life is "we are going to look back on this time of shaking as a gift from God to force us to reassess what is important"   I firmly believe that in five years we will be GRATEFUL that the economy made us change.  Frankly, I am grateful right now.

Is it possible to use the changes rocking our world to learn to live a different way?  I think so.  What resource do you have?  Can you and your spouse learn to work together to be healthy, happy and in line with God?  Do you really need what our current world says is a "necessity"? 

Perhaps it is time to figure out what is really best for your family.  I know it is past time for us.  We will continue these changes with joy and peace.  My husband and I are partners in this journey.... and our children and children in love (law)  are walking strongly into this new / old lifestyle themselves.  I can't wait to see what they will make of this new world... they are young and change is easier.

I love to hear about how all of you are changing the world you live in.  Thank you for being so open.  It helps.