If you’ve never heard of cultured butter, you might be wondering if it’s butter that got a PhD from Stanford and speaks in a distinguished English accent while smoking a pipe. Not quite, but close! (Not really.) Cultured butter is just like regular butter, except it’s loaded with beneficial bacteria that nourishes the gut and has a more silky consistency.
Humans began culturing dairy to increase yield from the butter-making process. The live cultures consume proteins in the milk to produce lactic acid, which allows the butter to keep for longer.
In case you missed out on the whole butter craze of recent times, I’ll catch you up to speed. Butter isn’t “bad” for you, it’s actually an incredibly nutritive product that’s appropriate for most humans on Planet Earth. It contains Lauric acid which is a medium-chain-triglyceride that has antimicrobial, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Additionally, it’s high in Vitamin D—an essential nutrient for bone-building, and is a great source of cholesterol and lecithin which are both essential for the brain and nervous system. Try blending in some butter with your morning coffee for an elixir that will turn you into something akin to an X-Man…or at least an Ivy League alumnus.
Now, back to whipping up your own butter.
You’re probably rolling your eyes at yet another thing to add to your to-do list (trust me, I get it), but the entire process only takes about 15 minutes of actual involved labor, and at the end you have a product your body will thank you for. The end result being a gloriously fresh and decadent mound of butter that is incomparable to its store-bought counterpart.
If you can get raw grass-fed dairy, I highly recommend using that for the best tasting results. If raw milk is not legal where you live, you might want to take a ride on the underground dairy railroad, as there are likely high quality farms in your area that provide locals with top-notch raw milk. I’ve found that the best chance of finding these farms is by connecting with local foodies. They typically know of a friend or a farm that can hook you up. There’s also an online database called Real Milk where you can source raw dairy in your area!
| INGREDIENTS |
16 fluid ounces Heavy Cream
3 tablespoons Cultured Buttermilk
Sea Salt (optional)
1| First we need to culture the cream. Using a whisk, combine the buttermilk and heavy cream in a glass bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand for 12-48 hours at room temperature out of direct sunlight until the mixture has thickened. The resulting consistency will be a bit like a pourable yogurt, likely staying together in one large mass.
If you see any mold or spots on your mixture, dump the batch and start over. Try culturing your next batch for a shorter time period.
2| Pour the cultured cream into a food processor and run the food processor until the butter begins to pull away from the buttermilk. This can take about 4-10 minutes depending on the speed of your equipment. You can do this in a stand-mixer, but you’ll want to cover any open areas with plastic wrap or a towel so that you and your kitchen doesn’t end up looking like a milky Jackson Pollock painting. While the machine is running, prepare a large jar of ice water.
3| Once your butter has separated, stop the food processor and pour its contents into a fine mesh strainer over a bowl. You can save the resulting buttermilk to use in pancakes or baked goods.
4| At this point, you can wash the butter to ensure you have a pure product. Remove the ice from your ice water and pour a bit of the cold water over your butter in the strainer. Using a fork or a spoon, press down on the butter to expel any liquid. You’ll want to repeat this process until any liquid coming out of the strainer is clear, which means the butter is free of buttermilk.
And just like that, you now have cultured butter! Feel free to mix in sea salt, herbs or any other flavorings you’d like and then store it in the fridge in a sealed container or wrapped in parchment. Do you feel smarter already?
Yields ⅓ – ½ pound of butter, depending on the quality of dairy used.