My family loves cultured butter and we make it a few times a year by culturing pastured cream into crème fraîche and churning it into yellow rounds of butter.
This recipe is rich in beneficial flora (a.k.a. probiotics) and easy-to-digest. Made this way, butter is often tolerated by those with fat or dairy sensitivities. The best part is that it is easy to make … you only need cream and culture starter.
If you can get your hands on raw cream, than the best time to make cultured butter is late spring through early fall; not only is cream plentiful at this time of year, but it is much easier to source and is prime because the cows have been out grazing on green grass in the full sunshine (more sun on cows = more essential fatty acids in their cream = less inflammation in your body).
I love shaping butter into round balls and wrapping them in parchment paper. I always toss a few into Ziploc freezer bags to freeze for the coming winter when the deep, yellow color is a sight for sore eyes.
Yields: ¼ lb. butter* and 1 cup buttermilk
1 pint of grass-fed, full-fat cream (raw will give the most flavor)
1 packet of starter culture** OR 2 Tbs whey or buttermilk
- Bring cream to room temp.
- Place in a clean glass jar.
- Whisk in culture starter.
- Cover and allow to sit for 12-20 hrs. at 72-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Refrigerate the slightly thick cream for 2-3 days (optional but allows cream to “set” which helps butter to churn faster).
- Remove from fridge and let it come to 55-65 degrees.
- Pour into a food processor with steel blade or a stand-mixer with a whisk, or a blender. You can also churn with an electric or hand-crank blender if you have one.
- Churn slowly at first, graduating to high speed, until butter forms (cream moves through 3 stages: whip cream, stiff whip cream, then splits into butter/buttermilk).
- Drain through fine-mesh sieve over a bowl to catch the buttermilk (save for later).
- Transfer butter to a small bowl, pressing out any remaining buttermilk with a spoon.
- Add cold water, wash the butter, and press until no more buttermilk is released.***
- Form butter into a ball and pat dry with a paper towel.
- Season with ¼-1/2 tsp fine ground sea salt, herbs, garlic or Herbamore (if desired).
- Wrap in wax paper and store in fridge (or freeze for long-term storage).
Tips & Ideas
- Reserve a small amount of the thick cream each time to use as the starter in the next batch. Like a good sourdough, the flavor will continue to develop as time goes on.
- Make a bunch at once and freeze. I do this every year when the cream is at its richest from cows grazing all summer long. Making cultured butter is greasy business. Mine as well make a lot when you do.
- Don’t cook cultured butter as heat kills good bacteria (probiotics) inside the butter.
- Butter and other fats (duck fat, pumpkin seed oil, coconut oil) are great for the teeth, joints, and bones. Fat carries nutrients from the food you eat into your cells. I’ll stop there but fat is good, just choose well.
*The actual amount of butter you get depends on the fat content of the cream used. Holstein cows produce milk with the least amount of fat, while Jersey cows produce a fattier milk.
***Butter that’s been washed well stores longer than butter that has not been washed.
This blog post may contain affiliate links, you can read here to learn more.
Campbell-McBride, N. MD. (2011). Gut and Psychology Syndrome. Soham, Cambridge; Medinform Publishing.
Gates, D. (2010). The Body Ecology Diet. Bogart, GA: B.E.D. Publications
May all bellies be happy!