Cultured Butter and Buttermilk Recipe

Use culture to mimic high-quality raw cream for this recipe. Pure cream, which is hard to find in grocery stores, produces better butter.

| May 2019

Pressing the buttermilk from freshly churned butter.
Photo by Gianaclis Caldwell

Most of today's butter is made from pasteurized cream with no added culture. But in earlier times, a more flavorful variation was created using high-quality raw cream that contained natural wild bacteria that produced acid and flavor. You can mimic this product today by adding a touch of culture to pasteurized or raw cream. Only a small amount of acid results in the butter, but there is an added layer of flavor and complexity. It can be hard to find good-quality cream in the grocery store; most of it has been ultra-pasteurized and often has good-quality cream in the grocery store; most of it has been ultra-pasteurized and often has added thickeners and sweeteners. You can make butter from this type of processed cream, but if you can get your hands on pure cream, your butter will be remarkably better.

Butter can be churned from any high-fat milk. You don't have to separate out the cream, but doing so will concentrate the fat globules so that they can cluster more easily, and, thus, make your process much more efficient. When slightly cool milk or cream is heavily agitated, the fat globules smash and collide with each other and start clumping. Once the clumping starts, it finishes very rapidly. Then the remaining “butter milk” is drained and rinsed from the clump of butterfat, leaving you with butter.

What You'll Need

  • Cream: 1 qt. (250 ml) light cream (about 20% fat)
  • Culture: 1/6 tsp. (l g) Flora Danica or 1 tbsp. (15 ml) cultured buttermilk with live active cultures
  • Salt: Pure salt to taste
  • Equipment: 2 qt. glass jar with lid and/or but­ter churn, spoon, 2 bowls, ice, fine-mesh sieve or organdy (optional), 2 pairs of spoons or but­ter paddles (Scotch hands)

Process in a Nutshell

  • Time: 12 hr. inactive, 30 min. active
  • Steps: Heat cream, add culture, ripen, chill, churn, drain, salt, chill, store and use

Step by Step

Heat Cream: Pour the cream into the jar cover with the lid and let it sit until it warms to room temperature, 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20-22 degrees Celsius) Alternately, you can quickly warm the cream in a pan over low heat.

Add Culture: If using, sprinkle the culture on top of the cream, let it set for 3-5 minutes, and stir gently with a spoon for 2-5 minutes. Or stir in the buttermilk until evenly mixed.

Ripen: Cover with the lid and let the cultured cream sit at room temperature, 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit (20- 22 degrees Celsius), for 12 hours.



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