Cultured sour cream, buttermilk and butter are delicious and healthy alternatives to their store-bought variations because of the many probiotic strains of bacteria and yeast that develop during the fermentation process.
All three are also very easy to make at home using our Bacillus Bulgaricus starters.
The process simply involves culturing heavy cream, which results in a real cultured sour cream, rich in probiotics and nutrients. It can then be further processed to make cultured butter and buttermilk. And if you have not yet tried cultured butter, you are in for a delicious, healthy, probiotic treat!
Here is the method:
- A large mason jar (or another culturing container)
- A mixer (hand or stand)
- A fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- Parchment or wax baking paper
- A dough scraper, spatula or flat knife
- 2 gr of starter (the best starters to use for this are the Kefir, Filmjolk, Viili and Caspian Sea Yogurt starters but the rest of the yogurt starters will work too)
- 1 liter of heavy cream (any kind would work – raw, pasteurized, UHT, etc.)
Note: 1 liter of heavy cream will make 1 liter of cultured sour cream, or about 200gr of butter and about 300 gr of buttermilk (the yield amounts can vary based on the cream you use – the higher the fat content the more butter you’ll get)
First we are going to make the sour cream.
- Pour the heavy cream into the mason jar and add the starter. Stir gently until starter fully dissolves, about 5 minutes.
Note: You can speed the process by first dissolving the starter in some milk, then stirring the milk into the cream.
- Cover with a towel (or loosely with a lid) and leave at room temperature for 24 hours to ferment.
- After 24 hours the cream will have thickened a bit. If you suspect it hasn’t, give it another 8 hours of rest.
- Remove any whey that has separated (do not discard it, it’s full of nutrients!) and move the cultured cream to the fridge for at least a couple of hours, or better yet, overnight.
- Your sour cream is ready! At this point you have real, cultured, probiotic sour cream, which you can use in any way you would use sour cream.
Now you can proceed to making cultured buttermilk and butter.
- Pour the sour cream into your stand mixer bowl (or a regular bowl if you are using a hand mixer) and start whisking first at low speed (to prevent splashing) then gradually increasing the speed as it gets thicker.
Note: If using a hand mixer, attach only one of the whisks to get better results.
- Continue whisking at medium to low-fast speeds until the texture starts to become grainy.
- Reduce speed to low and continue whisking as the cream separates into butter (the hard part) and buttermilk (the liquid). Keep mixing for several minutes as they separate more clearly.
- Once you notice that no more liquid separates from the thick butter (this could take anywhere between 5 and 15 minutes or more of mixing), stop whisking and strain the butter and buttermilk mixture through a fine mesh or cheesecloth into a bowl.
Note: You can place the mixture in the cheesecloth and let it drain on its own for an hour or so or you can force drain it by squeezing the cheesecloth or pressing on the mixture in the fine mesh strainer.
- Your cultured buttermilk is ready! The liquid that you just separated is a real, cultured, probiotic, delicious buttermilk with live active cultures. Use it in any way you would use buttermilk – bake, cook, drink, etc.
Now you can proceed to making cultured butter.
- The hard substance left is butter. Rinse it with cold water as it is in the strainer or cheesecloth until water no longer runs through milky. You can gently squeeze it during this process to help liquid come out.
- Transfer the dollop of butter to the parchment paper and flatten it thin with a spatula. The goal here is to get as much liquid out of it as possible. So pat, fold, spread and squeeze to get the remaining liquid out, then pour it off.
- Your cultured butter is ready! Shape it any way you’d like (like a brick, or a roll, or simply put in a cup) and store in the fridge.
Note: Unlike regular butter, which could be stored at room temperature, cultured butter is better kept in the fridge to slow down further fermentation by the live active lactic acid bacteria in it. If you store cultured butter at room temperature, it will gradually become tarter and acidic in taste.
Choose Your Bacillus Bulgaricus Starter
The best starters to use for making sour cream, cultured buttermilk and cultured butter are the Buttermilk, Kefir, Filmjolk, Viili and Caspian Sea Yogurt starters but any of the other Bacillus Bulgaricus yogurt starters will work too.
Our Buttermilk starter makes Buttermilk with fresh mild taste with just a hint of tartness.
Our Kefir starter makes a mild, thick, creamy and absolutely delicious kefir. So good, that you would want to make it again and again.
Our Filmjolk starter makes Filmjolk with a mild taste with just a slightly tartness and a smooth custard-like consistency.
Our Viili starter makes a traditional Viili with mild, nutty, cheese-like taste and a thick and stretchy viscous consistency.
Our Caspian Sea Yogurt (Matsoni) starter makes a smooth, creamy Caspian Sea Yogurt with a mild, slightly tart flavor.