Monday, August 9, 2010

Cultured Butter

While I was researching homemade yogurt last summer, I also came upon some recipes for homemade butter. Like yogurt, it went on my to-be-made list, but I didn't get to it before school started.

Then last month, I read this post from Phyl (Of Cabbages and King Cakes) on cultured butter and got re-inspired. So this weekend, while making yogurt and the Modern Baker chocolate orange almond tart, I also made butter.

I followed Phyl's detailed instructions: First, I mixed a quart of heavy cream with 1/3 cup of plain yogurt and let it sit overnight. Once it was slightly thickened, I cooled it to 60 F, and then mixed it in my stand-mixer. It was amazing to watch the process as the cream thickened, began to seperate, and then finally broke.

I poured off the buttermilk and then "washed" and kneaded the butter.

This was such a fascinating process, and the end result was delicious! I can't wait to try homemade butter on fresh bread this week. The cream is expensive, so I'm not sure I'll make a habit of making my own butter, but I'm really glad I tried it, and I'm sure we'll make it again as a special treat.


  1. Yes, I thought the same thing... Here, 1 quart of cream and the yogurt cost about twice as much as the amount of butter they yield... But it was a fun experience, wasn't it?

  2. When I make cultured butter I stir in a little sea salt to the still soft butter. The flavor is superior to the store-bought variety. But the cost of cream prevents me from making it at home more often.

  3. Just so that I understand, the yogurt is added for the 'cultured' part of cultured butter?

    What does yogurt add as far as qualities?

    I used to dread making butter as a kid because of the incessant cranking, but as an adult I am curious about the attributes that the yogurt might bring. Does the butter taste more like yogurt? Or does it just keep the butter softer?

    Thanks - interesting stuff!

  4. @burntloafer: As far as I understand the process (I'm not in the dairy business) the yogurt adds bacteria cultures that acidify the cream. This is different from sweet cream butter which has no added bacteria... You see the difference in the German labels: Sauerrahmbutter (= sour cream butter = cultured butter) vs. Süßrahmbutter (= sweet cream butter)... Hope this helps.

  5. How much butter does 1 qt of cream give you when it's all done?

    And one shouldn't forget you do get the "free" buttermilk too which can be frozen until a future baking need arises. So that saves some money.

  6. @Paul, I didn't weigh the butter . . . I packed two 7 oz ramekins and got a little over a pint of buttermilk. As a side note, the pancakes made with the fresh buttermilk were so fluffy and delicious ~ way better than what we usually get with store-bought buttermilk.