Making Cultured Buttermilk

Sep
20

Post by community member:

Hubby loves buttermilk but buttermilk is expensive, unless you can find it on sale. With this in mind, I have been looking into making our own. I came across a reference to homemade cultured buttermilk by accident about a month ago and that started the chain of research on the subject. Why should culturing buttermilk be difficult. I have been making yogurt for decades. Can this milk culture be any more difficult?

It isn’t – it’s easier! The culture that makes “cultured” buttermilk will grow at room temperature! That makes it a lot easier to make than yogurt. No warming the milk and keeping it at that warmer temp for eight hours. This is not real buttermilk. Real buttermilk is what farmers pour off the butter after churning. This is, however, what most people drink from the grocery store, called “cultured” buttermilk. It is a mesophilic culture growing in milk. This is the same culture used to make many cheeses. I bought a small container of cultured buttermilk at the store. It is important to buy one with live culture. Only a small portion of this is needed to turn a bowl of milk into cultured buttermilk. The process takes about 24 hours at room temperature. I used store bought 2% milk and let a bowl of it warm to room temperature. I then added about a 2″ square amount of buttermilk and left it for 24 hours.

Ta-da! Buttermilk! Thick and delicious! You can freeze the buttermilk in small pieces, like in an ice cube tray, to use for baking. I have tried using the frozen cultured buttermilk as starter for more buttermilk and it has never worked for me, though others say it works. You won’t want to drink it after freezing, either. I don’t have ice cube trays, so I put a piece of plastic wrap across the top of a tiny muffin pan and poured buttermilk into each one. I set this in the freezer. When they were hard I put them all in a freezer bag and put back in the freezer. Now I can take out as much as I need for a recipe.

Because we turn our heat down at night, our kitchen is a lot colder than “room temperature”. For this reason I left it an extra half day. The next time I make it, I will put it in the yogurt maker so the temperature will stay constant. My yogurt maker is a gallon tub in a styrofoam container made for it.


Sheryl blogs at Providence Acres.

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Comments

  1. Granna says:

    Please explain what you meant by “a 2″ square of buttermilk”.

  2. Heidi says:

    I love having fresh buttermilk on hand for making cheese. You can also buy packets of starter culture from cheese making suppliers.

  3. Sheryl - Runningtrails says:

    The amount of buttermilk that would make a 2″ square. I didn’t measure it but I would think a 1/4 cup would be plenty. You don’t need an exact measurement, just enough to add some of the bacteria culture to the milk. I usually measure liquids in “glugs” (except when making soap) but thought that would probably be a be too loose, so I changed it to a 2″ square.

    I make “quark”, a soft cheese from the buttermilk that I make. Just leave the newly cultured buttermilk sitting out on the counter until it separates. Pour off the whey (save it for baking) and drain the curds in cheesecloth. It makes a great mild soft cheese. You can add a tiny bit of salt for taste and to help it keep longer, if desired. I don’t, but mine is usually gone before the next day ends. I make lemon raspberry cheese squares with it too.

    Sour cream is made the same way with the same culture, but in cream instead of milk.

  4. prvrbs31gal says:

    I use one cup of store-bought buttermilk, add 3 cups regular milk, and leave it on the counter for 24 hours. Then, refrigerate. It’s good for up to a month. When I get down to the last 8oz, I start the process all over again using the remaining buttermilk as the ‘starter’ instead of buying it (as long as it hasn’t been over a month, otherwise the cultures won’t work).

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