A few readers kindly reminded me last week that I had said in my “Homemade Butter Tutorial” that I would do a post about culturing buttermilk.
The first thing to mention is that the buttermilk that you get from the process of making butter is not the same as buttermilk that you buy at the store. The buttermilk from butter is simply the liquid from the cream, which has separated from the solids (the butter). The buttermilk from the store is cultured milk, meaning that good bacteria has been grown in it to make it probiotic, like yogurt. While you can culture buttermilk (from butter-making) and turn it into cultured buttermilk, it’s not necessary. Any milk can be made into “cultured buttermilk”.
The second thing to mention is that I *love* culturing dairy! Culturing makes dairy more digestible, increases the vitamin content, increases good bacteria… pop on over to this post to read more about why you should culture dairy!
Now, let’s get down to business. This is crazy easy, friends!
What You’ll Need
- Store-bought cultured buttermilk (the ingredients should only say “cultured milk” or “milk with cultures”- it must have active cultures for it to work.)
- Buttermilk Starter Culture (from Cultures for Health- one of my favorite affiliates!)
- Milk: We use raw milk, but you can use anything. If using store-bought, the best option would be organic, low-temp pasteurized from grass-fed cows. Any type of milk will benefit from culturing, though, so use whatever you’re able to get. 🙂 )
What To Do
This is so easy- ready??
If using store-bought buttermilk as your “starter”…
- Fill a clean glass container (I use 2-quart mason jars) 1/3 of the way with the cultured buttermilk from the store. Smell the buttermilk, so that you know what it should smell like.
- Fill the other 2/3 of the jar with your milk. (You don’t have to make 2 quarts at a time, just remember that it’s at least 1 part buttermilk to 2 parts milk).
- Stir well with a non-metalic spoon and cover the jar with a coffee filter or tea towel.
- Leave the jar in a warm place (74 to 78 degrees is ideal) overnight.
- After 12 hours, I like to stir and check the consistency. If it isn’t thickened after 12 hours, leave it out and just check and stir every 6 to 8 hours.
- Once the buttermilk has thickened, put a lid on it and put it in the fridge. It should smell the same as when you started (kind of tangy, but good). If it smells bad, then something went wrong. Most likely, the cultured buttermilk wasn’t active.
- It will keep for a few weeks (I’ve kept mine for three weeks with no problem).
If you are using the Buttermilk Starter from Cultures for Health, there are directions on the package. Basically, it’s the same process, except that the milk should be warmed, first. For raw milk, it can just be warmed to 77 degrees, then the culture is added and you proceed with step 3. If using pasteurized milk, you are supposed to heat the milk to 185, then cool it to 77 degrees, add the culture and continue as shown above.
How to Use Buttermilk
Buttermilk is so versatile! Here are a few ideas:
- Use it in place of yogurt in smoothies.
- Try Baked Oatmeal.
- Use it to make Homemade Sour Cream!
- Find a good buttermilk biscuit recipe.
- Buttermilk pancakes (our recipe is coming soon)
I’d love to see your favorite recipes that call for buttermilk! Add them (or links to them) in the comments! 🙂
Be sure to check out some of my other popular recipe tutorials:
- All-Natural Homemade Mocha
- Homemade Yogurt in the Cooler
- Dried Pineapple
- Crockpot Applesauce
- Herbed Butter
- Homemade “Jello”