Dairy, Spring Recipes
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Clabbered Milk

Clabbered milk refers to fresh milk that is left to ferment at room temperature. The taste and flavour of clabbered milk varies depending on where you live since every region has a different set of wild yeasts and LABs. The taste of clabbered milk in the south west of France is very different to the one in Belgium though the texture is the same: thick and clotted. If you don’t like the clots in the milk give the bottle a good shake before you drink it. (For more information on clabbered milk see below). It is also useful to have a bottle of clabbered milk at hand for some baking recipes.



1 lt. or 1 pt. of fresh raw milk OR

1 lt. or 1 pt. of pasteurised full fat milk[1]


For fresh raw milk

Leave the milk to rest either on the counter or on a shelf in the kitchen at room temperature. Within 24 hours the fresh, raw milk will have fermented spontaneously into thick clabbered milk. Once it has fermented leave it in the fridge to drink chilled – either on it’s own or with a fresh home-made coulis or with a tsp. of honey.

For pasteurised full-fat milk

If, like me, you live in a country where it is illegal to sell unpasteurised milk you will have to get your starter culture from an organic bottle of buttermilk. Pasteurised milk does not ferment spontaneously. It just goes off and tastes vile. This is because the natural enzymes and wild LABs responsible for fermenting the milk have been destroyed through the pasteurisation process.

To make clabbered milk from pasteurised milk add at least 1 cm of soured, organic buttermilk to the bottom of a glass bottle or jar. Top the remaining bottle or jar up with the fresh milk. Give it a good shake and leave it to rest in the kitchen at room temperature for 24 hours. Your first batch might take longer to ferment so be patient. Once the culture is established the fermentation goes quicker and should happen within 12-14 hours.


Once the milk has clabbered leave it in the fridge to drink – either on it’s own or with a fresh home-made coulis or with a tsp. of honey.

Clabbered milk is also excellent for making fresh cream cheese, scones, soda bread, pancakes, waffles ….

Some background on clabbered milk.

Clabbered milk was common in northern European countries. In the absence of refrigeration it was far more common to drink clabberd as opposed to fresh milk. For modern populations the reverse is true. More people drink and use fresh milk with few drinking soured milk. Further, many in northern Europe have abandoned their native ferments in favour of more “exotic” fermented dairy products such as yoghurt or kefir. The microorganisms which ferment dairy into yoghurt originate from south eastern Europe and Turkey. Yet, more people today will have eaten yoghurt than clabbered milk. Thanks to heavy corporate marketing yoghurt is the only “healthy” dairy in town. It is true that yoghurt is healthy but equally so are the natural, traditional clabbered milks of northern Europe. Further, for those who live in cooler climates it is far, far easier to make clabbered milk regularly than yoghurt.

A word of warning it can hard to convert those unfamiliar with clabbered milk – particularly children and teenagers. It is best to start early so they drink or eat it from toddler-hood upwards. Remember one daily cup of either buttermilk or clabbered milk is a brilliant way to eat wild, natural micro-organisms, which we all depend upon for our overall well being.

[1] Try not use UHT or homogenized milk


  1. trumkbranches says

    Love this article. My dad grew up drinking and eating clabber

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