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Clabber or Clauber


(or Bonny-Clabber)

A thickened fermented milk, made by allowing milk to curdle naturally, often with flavours such as beer or sugar added.

References to milk 'going sour' when it should 'clauber' suggest that the frement was a very specific bacterium, possibly the Lactobacillus bulgaricus of yoghurt.

The name probably derives from the Gaelic clabar: mud.

Original Receipt from The Encyclopedia of Practical Cookery, 1891

Clabber Batter Cakes. Sift the required quantity of flour into a basin, and pour in sufficient clabber, or milk curdled by souring, to make it of the proper consistence. Mix in a small quantity each of bicarbonate of soda and salt, form the Batter into cakes, cook them on the griddle over the fire, and they are ready for use.

Our German correspondent 'WK' says (Oct 2019) "Clabber is nothing else than soured milk which we loved to eat in my childhood in the 60ies with white beet sugar and a pinch of cinnamon powder added to it. It is still commercially available as Dickmilch (thick milk) in German stores and is a bit more firm than thick yoghurt. A bit like German curd (Quark) in the consistence but produced without any heating in or on stove. "

Original Receipt from 'Hull Daily Mail' - Wednesday 15 August 1917

BONNY CLABBER. answer to the question, What is 'bonny clabber'; (writes a correspondent of the Chronicle), it is milk which has been allowed to to sour, until it is solid mass of curd. This beaten up, with brown sugar, until it is liquid enough drink, though it is generally taken with spoon. Eighty or 90 years since it was a favourite dish in Staffordshire, and I believe still in Scotland

For a similar fermented milk dish, see:
Wig, or lac acidum

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