Making Cultured Butter

These days, homemade butter made straight from your kitchen is a lot better than store-bought butter. This recipe will show you exactly how to make delicious cultured butter.

All you really need is cream and a jar. You can make it in a blender or a mixer using ripened cream, it is as simple as that. Just pour the cream in, hit the mix button and wait until you hear the “chugging” sound.

Start with having your cream at 50-60F to make butter. If it is too warm, the butter will be too soft and will be more difficult to rinse and knead later on. If it is too cold, the fat will have difficulty consolidating.



What You Need

2-4 Pints of Good Quality Cream
1 Packet C21 Buttermilk Culture (Optional)
Salt (Optional)

What To Do

1. The basic rule for selecting your cream is the better the cream tastes, the higher quality your butter will be. Heavy cream is 60% milk solids and water, and 40% butterfat.

The cream from Jersey cows always produces the best butter because of its higher fat content milk. Their fat is dispersed in larger globules than milk from other types of cows, it also tends to churn into butter a lot easier. The pastured cows eat plants with higher beta-carotene which makes the cream deep ivory to gold in color because the beta-carotene colors the cream more than grain.

Fresh Sweet Cream: The best cream for butter is non-ultra pasteurized, high butterfat content (36-40%), organic, and from pastured cows. Jersey cream makes churning faster, due to the larger butterfat globules.

If you are just using ingredients bought from a grocery store, you are probably starting off with better ingredients than the average butter. However, if you can find non-ultra heat treated cream from pastured cows, this will improve the flavor a lot more.

The hardest part of making good butter surrounds entirely around the cream. Most of the cream sold in the US is ultra heat treated (UHT).

Vat pasteurized cream is the best-pasteurized cream. It is heated only to 165F for 30 minutes. The only downside of this is that vat pasteurized cream is harder and harder to find.

2. To culture your pasteurized cream, you simply need to add a packet of C21 Buttermilk Culture to a quart of cream (simply adjust according to different sizes used). Butter cultures are “Mesophilic”, this means that the bacteria thrive in moderate temperatures. “Thermophilic” yogurt cultures require higher temperatures so they are not as effective here.

Bring the cream to 68-70F (It is important to not let the cream fall below 68F or go above 78F). Now add the culture and keep it covered and warm for 6-12 hours. The time depends on how much character you want to see in your butter. Basically, let your taste buds be your guide.

Once the cream has ripened, it should be a lot thicker and have developed an aroma. The taste should be delicious, with sour notes and it should have no aftertaste. Throw the cream away is it smells “bad”, or if the cream is bubbly and gassy. The reasons this might have happened because:

– The area where you are making the butter isn’t completely sanitized.
– The milk was exposed to bad bacteria.
– The cream was stored near items in the refrigerator that give off an odor which is not welcome in butter (onions, garlic, etc).

3. Now is time to separate the butter. Begin by warming the cream to 50-60F.

Using a jar, fill up the jar 25-50% full of cream. The more cream you have in the jar, the longer it will take to form butter because there will be less movement of the cream and movement is what makes the butter.

Now, using a blender, mixer or food processor, fill it to around 25-40% full as it will get messy otherwise. Turn it on at a moderate speed and watch the cream change to a thick texture and then begin to separate.

It won’t take too long, only between 10-20 minutes, depending on the cream, temperature and how long you let it ripen, also the type of “churn”.

The sound of the moving cream will begin to change as the cream turns from liquid to whipped cream. Eventually, you will notice that it will “break” as the butter separates from the buttermilk. The color will also start to turn more yellow as the butter comes together. It will also begin clumping.

4. This step is very important because it keeps the butter fresh. The final butter might have some lactose and milk proteins remaining in the liquid. If you allow it to ferment, the butter can become very rancid in a short period of time. Washing and folding are what removes most of this. Cultured butter generally lasts longer because the lactose has been mostly fermented out to lactic acid.

Pour the liquid off and move the butter to a bowl when the butter begins clumping well.

Also, add some fresh, cool water and rinse the butter by pressing and folding in the bowl, you can do this two or three times until the water is basically clear.

5. Pour off the final rinse water and continue to knead with a spoon until it forms a nice ball. You will notice that water is working out of the butter as you knead it, keep draining this off as you form the butter into a ball. Put the butter in the fridge to harden a bit, if the butter is too soft.

If you desire, you can add salt to your butter during the final kneading. More liquid will come off if you do.

6. You can now press the butter into any form that you want or you can roll it into a ball and wrap or press into a special butter mold for aesthetics.

Don’t forget to taste some for yourself, though!

7. To store your butter, simply refrigerate it or for larger batches, you can freeze all of the butter that exceeds the supply of a few days.

Don’t worry, freezing butter will not harm it because butterfat crystalizes at about 60F, so taking it from 5F in a refrigerator down to -20F in the freezer, will not change its texture.

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