Monday, May 6, 2013

Easy Peasy Cultured Buttermilk
{from our homemade pantry}

I'm not sure why I haven't shared this sooner since making homemade buttermilk is about the easiest thing to do. Really! And if "easy peasy" isn't enough to entice you to try making your own, you should know that you'll save money, too, which is always a good thing. :)

Why use buttermilk?

Let me begin by saying that there is a definite difference between old-fashioned buttermilk and what is commonly known as buttermilk today. True buttermilk is the leftover liquid when making butter from cream, while modern buttermilk (what is available at the grocery store) is made by adding lactic acid bacteria to pasteurized-homogenized milk and allowing it to culture. I've used both and still have a lot to learn, but one thing I know for sure is that buttermilk is good for you because, like yogurt and kefir, buttermilk is a probiotic food that helps keep the digestive tract healthy.

The lactic acid in buttermilk makes it perfect for soaking grains as it neutralizes the phytic acid which improves digestibility and absorption of nutrients. In fact, I use it to soak oats overnight for our version of "instant" oatmeal. Some people including my sweet mother-in-law drink buttermilk straight, but I just can't bring myself to pour a glass. Perhaps it's an acquired taste and texture thing...

And although I'm not a southern girl (I did spend almost a year and a half in Austin during the early 80s), I love using buttermilk to make light and fluffy buttermilk biscuits, pancakes, muffins [cornbread muffins & buttermilk muffins], and, of course, our homemade buttermilk Ranch dressing -- yum!

Ready to try making some for yourself?

Easy Peasy Homemade Buttermilk
makes just under 3 cups

2/3 c. cultured buttermilk
2 c. milk (whole organic milk or raw milk)
1 quart sized mason jar w/ lid

Measure cultured buttermilk...

Pour into a quart sized mason jar along with 2 cups milk. Screw on a lid and shake to blend. Allow to culture in a warm place for 12 - 24 hours (I set my jar next to my Bunn coffee maker since it's always warm).

Check by tipping the jar; if it's nice and thick and leaves a film on the jar when tipped back, you'll know it's ready. Open the jar and sniff -- it'll smell just like buttermilk...because it is. :)  Store in the fridge and be sure to make up a new batch before you run out. If you do forget and get really low, you can cut the recipe in half (using only 1/3 cup buttermilk and 1 cup milk) and then use 2/3 cup from that batch to make another one. See? Easy peasy. :)

Visit our Homemade Pantry page for more "healthier version" ideas -- save money and avoid all those nasty artificial ingredients by making your own!

Wishing you all a blessed week,


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  1. Anonymous5/06/2013

    Hi Lisa, I'm just wondering if you made the cultered buttermilk that you use to make more buttermilk and if so how did you first culture it? hope this makes sense. By the way I always look forward to reading your blog.
    (New Zealand)

    1. Yvonne,

      An excellent question I likely should have addressed in my post. Thanks for asking! Initially, I purchased organic buttermilk from the grocery store to use for my "starter" culture. After that, I keep an eye on my jar to make sure I pour off enough to culture a new batch before it's all gone. My family uses a LOT of buttermilk in baking, for soaking oats, and for making homemade Ranch dressing, so we go through ours pretty quickly. I'd say that after the initial store-bought culture batch, we probably are able to do 7 - 8 batches afterward before buying buttermilk again, but honestly, I haven't kept track. If I really think about it, I guess I just realize whether I need to "start over" by how the buttermilk turns out; that is, if it's not thickening as much or having as strong of a buttermilk smell, it's typically time to buy a carton of buttermilk from the store and start over. Hope that helps!

      Thanks for your kind words; it's nice to meet you. :)


  2. Anonymous5/08/2013

    Great idea, Lisa, and thanks for sharing... Okay, so let's say we lived in the "olden days" (ha) and didn't have a supermarket to buy organic milk from. How would we start a "culture" to use to make buttermilk like they did back then? This would be especially good info for those who try to stay off the grid as much as possible. Anyway, do you happen to know? Thanks again!
    ~ Kristy

    1. Great question, Kristy. :) So, if we lived "like" in the "olden days," we'd be milking our cow and churning our own butter which would leave us with...buttermilk! How or even if that buttermilk would then be cultured is unknown to me, but milking would be done on a daily basis, so fresh dairy of all sorts would be at their disposal. Makes me want to do a little more research! Let me know if you happen upon the answer. :)

      Blessings, ~Lisa

  3. Anonymous5/09/2013

    Hi there!
    Sorry if you get this reply twice - the first time I tried to submit it didn't appear to work.
    I found your blog from Deep Roots at Home, and have enjoyed looking through your recipes.
    I just wanted to let you know that you can make a bigger batch of buttermilk with about the same amount of starter. I usually use 1 cup starter to 7 cups milk (it cultures just as fast). This is just convenient for me because I use a 2qt container. You could probably use even use less, I just haven't tried yet. Of course, you may not want that much buttermilk at one time. We go through it pretty fast, and even the times we don't, I've noticed that it lasts a long time.
    I also use less starter when making yogurt (I can't remember if you make it or not). I use somewhere between 1/2 to 1 cup unstained starter yogurt to one gallon milk.
    Anyway, Thanks for all the great info on your blog!
    God Bless,

    1. Thanks, Ashley, for the suggestion! I likely wouldn't ordinarily use quite so much buttermilk (there are only six of us in the house these days); a quart seems to be just the right amount for us. However, I appreciate your tip because who knows when I might need to make up a really big batch! Blessings, ~Lisa

  4. Hi, I just found you from Tasty Traditions! I wonder if raw cream, which does spontaneously turn into cultured cream, can then be turned into butter and the remaining liquid left over would be cultured buttermilk? That is my guess. I just wrote a post on cultured cream, so that's what got me thinking about it.

    Very interesting! Thanks for the great post!

    1. Thanks, Jessica! I'm thinking you might be onto something here. If you try it, please let me know!! I'm off to check out your link on cultured cream. We're blessed to have a source for raw milk, so I'm eager to learn more. Blessings, ~Lisa

  5. What a great idea, Lisa! Not only is homemade buttermilk better for you, but this is a great way to keep buttermilk on hand. Stores in the UK don't always stock it! And it really is easy peasy :) Thank you for sharing this post with us at Hearth and Soul.

    Blessings, April


Thanks so much for visiting; your kind thoughts and questions are always welcome. :)

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