Don't Throw Away Curdled Milk; 5 Ways To Use It For Cooking

If you’re discarding curdled milk at home, you’re wasting a pretty solid ingredient! Often wasted as a kitchen mishap, curdled milk can be transformed into a variety of delicious recipes. From making fresh cheeses like paneer and ricotta to enhancing baked goods, soups, and sauces, curdled milk can be the base for a number of things. Additionally, whey, the byproduct of curdling, can be utilized in baking and cooking, adding nutritional value and flavour to dishes. 

For instance, curdled milk can also be used to make sour cream. Just mix curdled milk with heavy cream and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 24 hours to thicken and develop a tangy flavour. Once thickened, refrigerate the sour cream. This homemade version can be used as a topping for baked potatoes, in dips, or as an ingredient in various recipes. Here are some other things you can make with curdled milk.

Homemade Paneer

Paneer is a type of fresh cheese and can be easily made with curdled milk. To make paneer, heat the curdled milk in a large pot. If the milk hasn't curdled completely, add a few tablespoons of lemon juice or vinegar to help the process along. Once the milk has fully curdled, pour it through a cheesecloth-lined strainer to separate the curds from the whey. Rinse the curds under cold water to remove any acidic taste, then gather the cheesecloth and twist it to remove excess water. 

Place a heavy object on top to press out the remaining liquid and form a block of paneer. Once firm, cut the paneer into cubes and use it in various dishes like palak paneer, paneer tikka, or simply sautéed with spices. 

Ricotta Cheese

To prepare ricotta, heat the curdled milk in a pot until it reaches 200°F (93°C). Line a strainer with cheesecloth and pour the hot milk through it to catch the curds. Let the curds drain for about an hour, then sprinkle a little salt for flavour. Transfer the ricotta to a container and refrigerate it. This homemade ricotta can be used in lasagna, stuffed pasta, or desserts like cannoli. The creamy texture and mild flavour of ricotta made from curdled milk are perfect for both savoury and sweet dishes.

Baking with Curdled Milk

Curdled milk can serve as a substitute for buttermilk or yoghurt in baking recipes, adding moisture and tenderness to baked goods. It is particularly useful in pancakes, waffles, muffins, cakes, biscuits, and scones. 

For instance, to make pancakes with curdled milk, mix dry ingredients (flour, sugar, baking powder, and baking soda) in a bowl. In another bowl, whisk curdled milk with an egg and melted butter. Combine the wet and dry ingredients until just mixed, then cook the pancakes on a griddle or non-stick pan until golden brown on both sides. Using curdled milk in baking not only enhances the texture of your baked goods but also imparts a slightly tangy flavour.

Soups and Sauces

Curdled milk can be used to add creaminess and flavour to soups and sauces. It works particularly well in creamy soups like tomato or mushroom and in pasta sauces like Alfredo or cheese sauce. For example, to make a creamy tomato soup with curdled milk, sauté chopped onions and minced garlic in a pot until translucent. Add chopped tomatoes and cook until they soften.

Blend the mixture until smooth, return it to the pot, and add curdled milk. Simmer for 10 minutes, then season with salt, pepper, and basil. The curdled milk adds a rich, creamy texture to the soup, making it more satisfying and flavorful.

Cooking with Whey

The liquid leftover after straining curdled milk, known as whey, is nutrient-rich and can be used in various ways. Whey can replace water or milk in bread and pizza dough recipes, adding flavour and nutrition. It can also be added to smoothies for a protein boost or used as a base for soups and stews to enrich the flavour and nutritional content. 

For instance, to make whey bread, combine flour, salt, sugar, whey, yeast, and olive oil in a bowl. Knead the dough until smooth and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in size. Shape the dough into a loaf and bake it at 375°F (190°C) for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. Using whey in cooking not only enhances the taste of your dishes but also makes use of a valuable byproduct.