Ancestral Clabber

A traditional dish: clabbered oatmeal with cinnamon

Taking a break from writing affairs, I’ve explored some ancestral recipes that return me to my Celtic roots. One of them is clabbered milk. Clabber is raw milk left to sit at room temperature.

What is Clabber?

Many may balk at the idea, but cultures have drank clabber for millennia. This isn’t like typical store-bought yogurts.

Raw milk clabber is different.

It uses wild fermentation to sour. This brings in untold amounts of vitamins and minerals, plus probiotic strains that support gut health and overall wellbeing. The lactic acid in clabber stimulates the colon and the pancreas, promoting digestive enzymes.

In his book, Harold McGee mentions how store-bought yogurt doesn’t support our gut health like clabber does. The wild strains take up residence and shield the colon wall, while yogurt strains die off in the body—yogurt cultures can only live in yogurt!

Clabbered oatmeal, this time with berries and dates

Benefits of Clabber

The benefits of clabber are many:

  • Versatile, and I’ve used it to ferment everything from fruit, to grains like oatmeal
  • Requires no cooking—clabber jars, like the one shown above, are simple to make
  • They’re filling with their high protein and fiber, and antioxidant-rich fruits
  • Good on-the-go breakfast idea for busy people
  • They taste great—sweet, sour, and floral
  • Full of calcium, fat-soluable vitamins, minerals, and probiotics

How to Make Clabber?

For those open-minded souls, clabber is easy and quick.

Get some raw dairy from a farmer, or use either a plant-based mylk like almond or cashew (this second method will require a quality probiotic to culture the batch).

Next, dump the mixture in a jar. Many sources recommend sterilizing the jar, but this isn’t crucial as the lactic acid from the probiotics act as its own sterilizer.

Finally, add in oatmeal, fruits, spices, and anything else. Mix well with a spoon and allow it to sit for at least 12 hours.

My Recipes

The web is full of clabber recipes, but finding the right ratios vary from person to person. I’ve not experimented with too many recipes, but below are the ones I use for my specific needs:

1. Simple Overnight Oats

  • 1/2 to 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup clabber
  • dash of cinnamon & cardamon (which add sweetness and warm up the dish)

Works great for a plain, quick breakfast. Takes about 3 minutes to prep. Works in a 16 oz mason jar.

2. Power Overnight Oats

  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1 cup clabber
  • 1 cup of berries or mixed fruit
  • 3 pitted dates or 2 bananas, for added thickness and sweetness
  • several shakes of cinnamon & cardamon (which add more sweetness and warm up the dish)

A more complicated ferment for added energy on those long days. Takes about 5 to 7 minutes to prep. I use a 32 oz mason jar.


  • Always leave a little room in the mason jar, especially if the lid is sealed. Clabber likes to expand due to its innate rising ability—likened to sourdoush bread rising.
  • Use only organic grass-fed clabber, or unpasteruized nut and seed mylks.
  • Allow the “mother” batch to sit for a few days to sour fully. This will create a rich, fully activated clabber (note: I haven’t worked with many nut mylks as much as I have raw dairy, so my experience with them is limited).

This ancestral recipe has been a staple in our diets for millennia. Clabber is one of my favorite tools in my kitchen arsenal, and it’s also debuted in my upcoming novel, Blade of Dragons. Pepper is a big fan of it. 🙂


Raw cow clabber (left), and raw goat clabber (right)

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Aspectä rey’lief, fair reader, and thanks for reading!
—Ed R. White

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