Buttermilk used to be a staple in the kitchen’s of our great grandmothers. Not only was it the natural by-product of making butter, it was also used extensively in cooking and considered an everyday drink and thirst quencher (hard to imagine I know!) Nowadays with everyone buying butter rather than making it at home, buttermilk has slipped from it’s central role in the kitchen and now only seem to feature occasionally in baking.
What you might not realise is that making your own homemade buttermilk is so simple and doesn’t require you to go through the process of making traditional butter. All you need is some ordinary pasteurised milk and some of that good beneficial bacteria present in natural buttermilk, mix it together and watch it to grow at room temperature. Cultured buttermilk also acts in the same way as a sourdough starter – once you have made your first batch you can keep reusing it by just adding some of your current stash to fresh milk and allowing it to ripen again.
So why always keep buttermilk on hand you might ask? Not only does it make your baking shine but it will also become a staple ingredient for your morning smoothie, a great low fat alternative to cream in sauces and soups as well as the perfect base for marinades and salad dressings. Best part of all – it only takes 5 minutes to get going – so what are you waiting for?
Homemade Cultured Buttermilk
Preparation Time: 5 minutes | Incubation Time: 24 hours | Makes: 2 litres
2 litres of organic whole milk
(good quality organic milk will always make your buttermilk taste better!)
1/4 teaspoon powedered Flora Danica or
Aroma B mesophilic starter culture
(You can buy starter cultures online or at your local cheese shop. Alternatively just add 2 tablespoons of good quality bought buttermilk to your fresh milk – this will get the process underway as well)
1 teaspoon salt
2 litre sterilised jar or container
(or 2 x 1 litre jars)
Mini measuring spoons
STEP 1: Combine the milk and starter culture
Add the milk and salt to sterilised containers or jars and then sprinkle over the starter culture (or just add 2 tablespoons of store bought buttermilk). Leave it to stand for a minute or two and then mix well into the milk (make sure you use as sterlised spoon to do this – you don’t want to add any unwanted bacterica!)
STEP 2: Incubate at room temperature
Leave to incubate for about 24 hours to allow the milk to ripen. In the winter months place it somewhere where it will not get too cold – you want to keep it at room temperature which is about 18-23°C (64-73°F).
STEP 3: Ready to use!
The buttermilk is ready when it has reached a thick consistency. It might not look very appetising initially but don’t be fooled by first impressions. Use it in baking, smoothies, sauces, marinades, salad dressings and more!
Recipes using buttermilk:
- Warming buttermilk banana smoothie – Homemade Collective
- Quick and healthy homemade rusks – Homemade Collective
- Middle Eastern Lamb Meatballs with Chickpea Yogurt – The Dairy Kitchen, myfoodbook
- Buttermilk baked chicken – The Food Republic
- Garden salad with buttermilk dressing – Jamie Oliver