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Your milk's gone bad, but that doesn't mean you have to toss it.

Margaret Eby
March 01, 2019

Sour milk can be an unpleasant surprise in your morning coffee or cereal. But it can also be an unexpected gift. Sour milk is the kind of thing that most of us have been taught to throw away, like garlic skins and herb stems. And yes, while you probably don't want to drink it on its own, sour milk is a great ingredient to use in baking, particularly breads and cakes. That's because the acid in the soured milk can help tenderize things without giving your food a prominent sour flavor.

It's not a new trick—back when refrigeration was less common, milk was much harder to preserve, and many recipes called for sour milk. Refrigeration might be better these days, but if you find yourself with sour milk, you can use it up to cut down on food waste. You'll also save money by using an ingredient you already have on hand. Just make sure there's no mold in the milk, and go for it. 

Use It in Soda Bread

My Irish grandmother used sour milk to make her soda bread. It's also a common ingredient in many quickbread recipes. Rather than using buttermilk or yogurt, use the same quantitity of sour milk to give your soda bread that lovely soft and chewy crumb. 

Watch: How to Make Brown Soda Bread

Use It in Cake

Similarly, you can use sour milk to make a great cake. Try it out in something like this spice cake, or swap out sour milk for a recipe that calls for buttermilk. It makes a great, easy substitution.

Use It to Marinate Chicken

Using buttermilk to marinate chicken before you roast or fry it is a good trick recently popularized by Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat. But if you don't have buttermilk and you do have some sour milk, use that instead. The acid in the milk will help tenderize the protein and ensure there's a golden brown skin on your chicken. 

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