Buttermilk is a staple in many traditional homes. It lends itself well to many baked goods, as well as meat dishes, and is so simple to make.
Here in our home we love all things in their raw form. So many nutrients get killed off when a whole food is cooked or pasteurized. Fermenting the foods also makes foods easier to digest as it breaks down the acids in the food as Sally Fallon goes into depth about in her book Nourishing Traditions.
In their raw state, milk and cream contain many beneficial digestive enzymes and good bacteria. Of course, you want to be sure you are getting your raw milk from a clean source. Check our realmilk.com to learn more about this and find a clean raw milk source near you.
We have been doing more and more baking as we approach the colder weather and holiday gatherings. From baking bread to making scones our kitchen is in full baking mode. Buttermilk is a wonderful addition or substitute to use in baked goods and can add wonderful texture and flavor to your recipes.
Having Buttermilk On Hand
Buttermilk is actually something we have on hand often. As often as I am able, we buy raw cream in bulk from a local farm and use it to make homemade formula, add to coffee, and make LOTS of butter. Grass-fed butter is SO good for us and tastes good as well. Plus, how cool is it that the cows eat grass and literally turn it into a delicious food that we can enjoy in so many ways. God knew what He was doing when He created nature.
Typically in the Fall and Winter seasons, many farmers are in low supply of fresh cream. This is because cows typically calve in the Spring time so there is plenty of cream for the newborn calves. Another reason this is an issue is due to lack of fresh pasture. Here in Idaho, we get all four seasons, so farmers have to supplement cows with more than just grass from the pasture. The cream is the thickest and in highest supply when the nutrients are readily available in fresh grass during Spring time. I have had a hard time finding fresh cream as of late, due to this. I recommend having a hand-full of fresh cream and milk sources that you can turn to and buy from so that you don’t ever run into this issue.
When making buttermilk with fresh cream, you can make it either cultured or not. I will teach you how to do it both ways.
How To Make Raw Butter and Buttermilk
If you are wondering how to make traditional butter and buttermilk, it is super easy and quick to make in your blender or food processor. One of the byproducts you are left with when you blend cream in a blender is buttermilk.
To make buttermilk, just pour your fresh cream into a blender or food processor and blend until you see the yellow butter beginning to form at the bottom of the blender. The buttermilk will also start to separate and go to the top. This process usually takes anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
Pour butter and buttermilk through a mesh strainer lined with a butter muslin or tea towel.
Squeeze out any remaining buttermilk in the butter. Rinse butter under cold water while squeezing to ensure the butter will keep longer by removing all buttermilk.
Store the buttermilk in the fridge and use within 3 days. The butter can be stored in the fridge for about 2 weeks or frozen for 6 months.
How To Make Cultured Butter and Buttermilk
Many recipes that contain a complex flavor from buttermilk contain cultured buttermilk. I will share with you two simple ways to culture your buttermilk.
The first way you can do this is to blend the cream as mentioned above until butter forms. Remove the butter and place into the fridge once all of the buttermilk is squeezed out. Then, pour the buttermilk into a jar, cover the jar with a tea towel, and let it sit on the counter overnight. This method will use natural cultures in the air to sour your buttermilk. Strain and store as listed above.
Another way that you can make cultured buttermilk is to culture the cream prior to blending. This is the method that I personally choose to use because I also like my butter to be cultured. For this method, heat cream to room temperature (72 degrees Ferenhiet) in a small pot, remove from heat and add cream to a jar, then add a culture (I get mine from Azure Standard and the brands are either NW Ferments or Cultures for Health), then mix well.
Cover the jar with a tea towel and let sit on the counter for 12-24 hours, depending on desired taste and the temperature of your house.
After culture time is complete, blend as instructed above to get cultured butter and cultured buttermilk.
What cream to use to make buttermilk
When it comes to making buttermilk, you can use either pasteurized or raw cream. My family drinks raw milk, so that is what we choose to use. If you are local, subscribe to my food sourcing checklist below to find out where I source my raw cream and other kitchen staples. You can also look on realmilk.com, as mentioned above, to find fresh milk and cream local to you.
What are other ways to make buttermilk?
If you are in a pinch and don’t have fresh cream to make buttermilk, you can try a substitute. Using either 1 Tbsp of Lemon juice or Vinegar in 1 cup of milk can cause your milk to “sour” and create a similar flavor to traditional buttermilk. This can be used in lieu of traditional buttermilk, in the same way, for any of your recipes.
The consistency of homemade buttermilk
The consistency of traditionally made buttermilk will be thicker than if you used a substitute. The reason for this is because the buttermilk is made from cream and the substitute is made with milk. Another reason for this is if you culture your cream. Culturing can cause the liquid to thicken more.
Traditionally made buttermilk will have a consistency that is thinner than fresh cream, but slightly thicker than the substitute with milk-made “buttermilk”.
What is buttermilk supposed to taste like?
The taste of buttermilk will differ whether you culture it or not. If you do not culture the buttermilk it will have a more bland flavor that is relatable to milk.
On the contrary, if you culture the buttermilk, you will end up with a tangy flavor in your buttermilk. I recommend culturing the buttermilk whenever possible in order to reap the most benefits from flavor to digestion.
Why is raw buttermilk good for you?
Cultured buttermilk has many health benefits. This is because the culture makes the buttermilk more digestible.
Healthy bacteria and digestive enzymes are still present in un-cultured buttermilk, so it is still giving our digestive system amazing benefits. This is mostly true if you use raw cream to make your buttermilk, since pasteurization kills off the healthy bacteria and naturally occurring digestive enzymes in the cream and milk.
Can you freeze raw buttermilk?
Buttermilk is fine to freeze, but note that the texture may change when thawed. Give it a good shake if it becomes grainy looking. It is best to use raw buttermilk fresh if possible to reap all of the benefits of the live bacteria.
Ways to use buttermilk
Try using buttermilk to replace the liquid in any baking recipe. Buttermilk is also great for soaking meat in in the fridge the day before cooking. Here’s some practical recipes to use buttermilk in:
The list goes on and on! Use your imagination in your baking to add in some delicious, homemade buttermilk.
If you try your homemade raw buttermilk in recipes, leave me a comment below!
For more wholesome recipes from My Abiding Home:
- How To Render Lard In The Instant Pot, Fast
- How To Make Cream Cheese with Raw Milk
- Easy Homemade Mayo In The Food Processor
- The Best Way To Eat Cabbage
How To Make Buttermilk with Raw Cream
- Blender or Food Processor
- Wooden spoon or spatula
- Strainer fine, mesh
- Butter muslin or tea towel
- Jar for storing
- Stainless steel pot if adding culture
- Fresh raw cream
- Mesophilic culture find at NW Ferments or Cultures for Health
Raw Buttermilk Instructions
- Pour cream into a blender or food processor. Blend until butter separates from buttermilk, about 5-10 mins.
- Line a fine mesh strainer with a butter muslin or cheesecloth and pour the butter and buttermilk out onto it to strain.
- Squeeze buttermilk from buttermilk to ensure longevity of butter.
- Enjoy your buttermilk in your favorite recipes.
Cultured, Raw Buttermilk Instructions
- Pour cream into a pot and heat to room temperature, or 72 degrees. Remove from heat.
- Add Mesophilic culture and mix well.
- Pour cream with cultures into a jar and cover with a tea towel.
- Let sit on the counter for 12-24 hours, or until cream has reached your desired "sourness".
- After culture time is complete, remove tea towel and pour cultured cream into a blender or food processor.
- Blend for 5-10 minutes until butter begins to form and buttermilk separates.
- Line a mesh strainer with a butter muslin or tea towel and pour the buttermilk and butter through. Squeeze out all remaining buttermilk from the butter.
- Pour buttermilk into a jar and use within 3 days in your favorite recipes.
- Store buttermilk in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 days.