Making homemade butter is the perfect experiment to involve your kids in a fun and delicious activity. The difference between butter and cultured butter means the enzymes have not been destroyed by ultra pasteurization.
Most kinds of milk you find at the grocery store are ultra-pasteurized. This in itself is not a bad thing. The main reason is population safety.
With that said, we will also make some excellent butter using ultra-pasteurized whole milk. This is what most people will be able to find at the grocery store. Spoiler alert: the butter turns out almost as good as the cultured butter.
What is Cultured Butter?
Cultured butter is a type of butter that is made by fermenting cultured cream with live bacteria. The fermentation process gives the butter a tangy flavor and a heavier texture. Cultured butter is sometimes called "yogurt butter" or "regular butter." The cream is then churned to make the butter.
How Is Cultured Butter Different From Regular Butter?
In comparison, regular butter is made from sweet cream that has not been fermented. Because of the fermentation process, cultured butter also has a higher fat content than regular butter. It is also more expensive than regular butter.
Pasteurized Milk (UHT)
Pasteurized milk is milk that has been heated to a certain temperature so that all the bad bacteria are killed. This makes it safe to drink. Some people like to buy pasteurized milk because they think it tastes better.
Some people think that pasteurized milk is not as healthy as raw milk because it has been heated, and some of the nutrients have been lost. However, pasteurized milk is still a good source of calcium and other nutrients.
Watch Our How-To Video:
How To Make Butter From Pasteurized Milk
The reason I brought up involving your kids is that the process of converting whole milk whipping cream into butter is a great culinary experience.
The separation of milk fat from the buttermilk takes around 12–15 minutes. But what is most interesting is that there comes a point where you think, "Did I do something wrong?" Why hasn't it turned into butter yet?
Then, suddenly, the buttermilk pulls away from the milk fat. At this point, you pretty much have butter. You still have work to do to ensure the butter tastes good and will store well in the refrigerator.
In making cultured butter, you have two options.
- Mix the cultured heavy whipping cream with kefir and move forward with the standard steps on the recipe card below to make butter.
- Mix the cultured heavy whipping cream with kefir, place it in a glass vase or preferred container, cover it with cheesecloth, and store it in the back of your refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. This process allows the milk's probiotics (live cultures) to ferment. This will enhance the flavor profile of your butter.
What Is Kefir Milk?
Kefir milk is used to make cultured butter. To make cultured butter, you must ferment the kefir milk with a culture. This process creates lactic acid, which gives the butter a sour flavor. The fermentation process also thickens the cream, making it easier to whip. Once the cream has been fermented, you can use it to make butter in a stand mixer.
Kefir is a fermented milk drink similar to a thin yogurt made from kefir grains. Traditional kefir is fermented at ambient temperatures, generally overnight. Fermentation of the lactose yields a sour, carbonated beverage with a consistency and taste similar to drinkable yogurt.
Homemade Butter Using Heavy Whipping Cream
Our cultured butter recipe uses 3 cups of whole milk heavy cream, but that's not it. You could just use the 4 cups of heavy cream plus one teaspoon of kosher salt. But here at Butter-n-Thyme, we bring the flavor, adding another extraordinary ingredient, Kefir, which is easy to find these days in the grocery store.
The enhanced homemade butter ingredients use 1 cup of sour cream to create a depth of flavor that whole milk simply cannot supply. The sour cream isn't ultra-pasteurized and rounds out the flavor you would come to expect and want in high-quality butter.
Making Butter In A Mason Jar
Take a mason jar with a lid, add heavy cream and some salt, but do not fill it all the way to the top. You need room for the heavy cream to be shaken. Then shake, shake, shake until your arm falls off. The butter fat will separate after a while. This is a labor-intensive effort yet a rewarding culinary experience.
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📖 Recipe Card
Homemade Cultured Butter - Three Different Ways Tested
Cultured Butter (Method 1)
- 1 cup Kefir - Cultured Whole Milk Plain, Unsweetened, Live Active Cultures
- 3 cups High Quality Whipping Cream Not Ultra Pasteurized - non-Pasteurized s best
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt Use ½ teaspoon if using table salt
Easy Homemade Butter (Method 2)
- 3 cups Heavy Cream - Whipping Cream You can use ultra-pasteurized heavy cream
- 1 cup Sour Cream Do not use low fat or light
- 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
- You can use a Blender or KitchenAid mixer.Blender: Easy, yet the butter will be pure white. (whips mass amounts of air, creating the white).KitchenAid: Takes a little bit longer, but the longer process creates a more yellow hue butter.Possible: If your food processor is large enough it may work. KitchenAid mixer is our preferred method.
How To Make Cultured Butter (Method 1)
- Use 3 cups of heavy whipping cream and ½ of Kefir cultured whole milk.Place the Kefir with the heavy whipping cream into a large container covered with cheesecloth so it can breathe. Place in the back of your refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. This will act as fermentation and provide a level of welcomed tang flavor. Think expensive butter... After removing it from the fridge, add 1 teaspoon of salt and allow it to come to room temperature.
Making the Homemade Butter (Method 2)
- Use 3 cups of heavy whipping cream and 1 cup of sour cream, plus 1 teaspoon of kosher salt.Add to either a blender or kitchen aid mixer with the whipping attachment in place.Method 2 does not need to ferment for 3 to 4 days as there are no live cultures that are needed for fermentation. Most grocery stores do not sell heavy whipping cream that has not been high-temperature pasteurized (which kills all the live cultures.) Check Whole Food Market for Kefir and others.
Whipping The Butter - What To Watch For
- Turn on your machine to medium-high. The motion needs to be fast to cause the fats and liquids to separate by quick whisking using the whipping attachment. The first thing you see happen is the heavy cream will whip and get thicker. This stage will happen for a while. You might even think it will not become butter, but it takes a little while. From start to finish, you're looking at 10 to 15 minutes to complete the butter-making process.The process is splitting the buttermilk from the milk fat.Once the fat separates from the buttermilk, you'll know. The fat will stick to the KitchenAid whip attachment. You will need to mix on a high setting.You can try using a hand mixer if you like, but the process will be much harder and more messy.
Cleaning The Butter
- The butter fat must be separated from the whey (watery stuff).Place the butter fat into a large bowl of water and rub the butter with your hands. You can use kitchen gloves to keep your hands clean or experience very smooth skin. Change the water 3 times at least, or until the water is almost clear. Warning: If you do not do an excellent job of cleaning the butter, your butter will become funky; it will smell off, like ammonia. It is simple to avoid this, take your time and clean that butter:)
How To Store Cultured Butter
- Wrap the fresh whipped butter with plastic wrap. Place a large amount of butter in the middle and fold the plastic wrap over the top and shape it into a long log like a stick of butter. Roll and close each end. Place into a plate and chill in the refrigerator to firm up. This will take a few hours.
How To Make Compound Butter
- After you've cleaned the butter, you can mix in ingredients like garlic, pepper, chili powder, and fresh herbs like; parsley, tarragon, rosemary, and thyme.The sky is the limit with compound butter. Idea: You could make a sweet brunch butter mix of added sugars like turbinado sugar, brown sugar, and syrups.