Cultured butter

Butter is surprisingly easy to make at home, and even better–you can make cultured butter with its richer and more interesting taste. This is nothing more than butter made from cream that has been allowed to ferment a bit.

  • 4 c heavy or whipping cream, preferably not ultrapasteurized
  • 1/2 c plain whole milk yogurt.
  • Kosher salt (optional)

Thoroughly mix the cream and yogurt, cover loosely, and let sit on the counter for 24-46 hours. It will thicken a bit and taste a bit tangy. Put in the fridge for an hour or two to chill down to 55-60 degrees.

Put cream mixture in a food processor. Zap it until it “breaks” — this can take as little as 2 minutes or as many as 6. When it breaks it will be very obvious–the mixture will quickly go from looking sort of like whipped cream to a bunch of small yellow globs floating in a pale liquid (that’s the buttermilk). Pour into a strainer lined with a couple of layers of cheesecloth and let drain.

Have some ice water ready. Transfer the ball of butter to a bowl and add 1/2 c ice water. Mush the butter around with your fingers to wash out remaining buttermilk. Pour off the liquid and repeat 2-3 times until the liquid runs clear. If you want salted butter, knead in 1/2 tsp salt. That’s it– you have butter. You can use wax paper to roll it into one or more logs, press it into small ramekins, etc. Keeps refrigerated for a couple of weeks and can be frozen.

Note: You can save the buttermilk and use it for all sorts of things. Apparently pigs love it. On a more realistic note, use it in baking, add to cream soups, etc. Be aware that this traditional buttermilk is not the same as the cultured buttermilk sold in markets and the two cannot be used interchangeably.

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