Have you ever been in a gourmet or natural food store and seen cultured butter or European style butter? It is often times sold in smaller quantities (4 oz or 8 oz) and it is more expensive than "regular" butter. As an example, if you go here you can purchase 1 pound of Vermont Butter and Cheese Company cultured butter for...are you sitting down?......$11.50. Yup! You read that right, $11.50 for a pound of cultured butter.
Now, how about making your own for MUCH less? It just takes two ingredients: some non-homogenized NOT ultra pasteurized whipping cream and either some buttermilk or plain yogurt.
It's super simple and so worth it! Before I show you how to make cultured butter, let me tell you a bit more about what it is.
"Regular" Butter: What is commonly sold in the US is called "Sweet Cream Butter". It is basically just whipping cream that is whipped until the milk fat turns into butter and buttermilk remains. If you'd like to make some you can see how here.
Cultured Butter (European Style Butter): This butter is also known as "Soured Butter". It is made by adding the bacteria that is used in other cultured dairy products (i.e. yogurt and sour cream) and allowing the cream to ferment before churning it into butter. Cultured butter is supposedly easier to digest than sweet butter.
So, my US friends, many of you probably have never had cultured butter. Well, let me tell you, it is so yummy spread onto some fresh baked bread. Are you ready to see how to make some? Let's head to the kitchen!
4 Cups whipping cream (non-homogenized and NOT ultra pasturized)
1/2 cup either plain yogurt OR cultured buttermilk (see notes below)
In a 2 quart jar (I found these at a local co-op but you can find them here), place 4 cups whipping cream and 1/2 cup yogurt OR 1/2 cup buttermilk. (I made 2 batches that is why you see two jars). Place the lid back onto the jar and shake.
Remove the lid from your jar and place a piece of cheesecloth on top. Secure the cheesecloth onto your jar with either a rubber band or with canning lid rings (as I did). You want the cream mixture to be able to breathe without becoming contaminated with dust or bugs. Then put your jar in a warm place for 18-24 hours (I put mine on top of my refrigerator)
Check your cream and it should be thicker and cling to a spoon (see this picture) with a slight sour odor. If it does not, place your jar back in a warm spot for an additional 12 hours.
Place your cultured cream in a food processor fitted with a large blade and with the lid on and blend. It only takes about two minutes and look, the buttermilk and butter have separated. You will know that your butter is done when the buttermilk sloshes to the top of your food processor bowl...it will make you think, "Wow, I'm glad there's a lid on this!"
I strained my butter/buttermilk mixture by pouring it into a handheld colander over a bowl (to catch the butter milk). Look at all that butter...but we're not done yet!
Any buttermilk that is left behind in your butter will cause it to go bad much more quickly. So, under cold running water, rinse your butter, squeezing it with your hands, until the liquid runs clear when you squeeze your butter.
Wrap your butter in waxed paper or put it in a crock. Be sure to serve some up with some freshly baked bread. Trust me, this butter is out of this world!
- If you like a creamier lighter tasting cultured butter, I suggest making it with yogurt.
- If you like a tangier tasting cultured butter, I suggest using buttermilk (it tastes as if you made butter from sour cream)
- As with all dairy products, purchasing local milk that is as fresh as possible will make superior tasting cultured butter.
- Read the whipping cream labels. MANY are ultra-pasteurized, even the organic varieties.
- When I made my two batches of cultured butter (using 1/2 gallon of cream), I made 3 cups of butter milk and 2.35 pounds of butter.