Is Sour Milk the Same as Buttermilk?

| 7/10/2009 12:00:00 AM

Is sour milk the same as buttermilk? I have half a quart of gooey milk to do something with.

The traditional thing to do with (slightly) sour milk is to make pudding. I made this butterscotch pudding recipe recently, and it was really good, but super-duper-rich, and maybe too sweet. (But it calls for real Scotch — fun!)

You can also bake numerous things with milk. Make enchiladas in a creamy cheesy sauce or bake a chicken breast or fish filet with milk and herbs poured over it.

But beware. Sour milk is not the same as buttermilk. Buttermilk is either purposefully cultured to get a sour taste or is the byproduct of butter making. If raw milk sours, it’s perfectly fine to drink and that’s the way most of the world drinks milk. But if pasteurized milk sours, it’s just on its way to going bad. You make cream sauces or puddings when the milk is just a little on the sour side and not sweet enough to drink, but if it’s truly funky (and was regular pasteurized milk), throw it out!

To learn more fascinating things about milk, I highly recommend Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk Through the Ages by Anne Mendelson.

 Tabitha Alterman, senior associate editor

1/10/2014 3:59:28 PM

I have always made sour milk either with raw or pasteurized milk and have not had any health issues yet. The first batch just make sure it went "bad" the good way, and then you can inoculate more milk with it. If you can stand the flavor of buttermilk, it is pretty similar, with a sour taste and thick texture. When it goes bad the bad way, it is rotten, and you absolutely will notice it is not drinkable. I have not used slightly sour milk for cooking, usually put it outside and wait for it to sour and thicken completely, and either drink it or use it for pancakes or biscuits just like buttermilk. Here in Mexico we call it jocoque, wich is a word of arab origin, although that word is also used for different fermented lacteous products. In arab food restaurants it is more like a thick yogurth.

4/10/2013 1:25:24 AM

Because pasteurized milk is, by definition, evil and scandalous and with a bad disposition. RAW milk, on the other hand, is virtuous and clean-living, although possibly loaded with germs and is a disease vector for brucellosis and tuberculosis and other extremely nasty illnesses that people used to die from all the time until Louis Pasteur came along. And there's no reason that souring pasteurized milk would be any more dangerous for you than souring raw milk.

5/10/2012 12:02:51 PM

Why is pasteurized milk that has gone bad dangerous, but not raw milk?

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