Five Minutes to Cultured Dairy

I’m out to prove that making your own cultured dairy products is neither intimidating nor difficult.  Just yesterday, I made Buttermilk , Kefir and Sour Cream.  This took me a total of five minutes.  I did not break a sweat, not even when I was putting lids on jars. 

I then started a batch of Yogurt .  Yes, it was a big dairy day in my kitchen.  Or rather, a big dairy eight minutes.  Because that’s really how long it took to do all of this.

As soon as they are done culturing (which these products do all by themselves while I sleep, type, trip on legos or cut my fingernails), I’ll put them into the fridge. 

Now, all of you stop thinking that you can’t make your own cultured dairy products and get started on this fun and healthy habit!! :)

Here’s a little Cultured Dairy question and answer time:

Is making your own cultured dairy products hard to do?  Did I or did I not just tell you that this isn’t hard?  Okay then.

Can I use regular milk from the store to make these products?  Yep.  I recommend drinking and using raw, organic, grass fed cow (or goat) milk to make these, but if that isn’t available to you, you can definitely use milk that you purchase from the store. 

Do I have to trip on legos while my products are culturing?  No, in fact I recommend that you step over all legos and call your children in to pick them up before your feet get holes in them.  I was just saying that to be funny, or something like that – and to prove that you don’t have to babysit your dairy products while they are culturing.

Why is there a rubber band on your sour cream jar?  I put a rubber band around my sour cream jar so that I’ll know at one quick glance into my fridge which jar is sour cream and which is regular cream.  It’s quite helpful to know the difference.  You’re welcome to use whatever color of rubber band you prefer.  If you really think that sour cream deserves a red rubber band instead of a yellow one, knock yourself out.

What do you mean “knock yourself out”?  That is an expression that really just means “go for it”.  To take that expression literally would just seem as though I were a big bully.  Please, do not literally “knock yourself out”.  Goodness.

Will I really have cultured dairy products in just five minutes like your title suggests?  The five minutes I was referring to was the time it takes for YOU to do any kind of work.  It does take several hours for the dairy to become cultured after you’ve done your five minutes of work.  Read the specific directions for each of the dairy products to know how long each item takes to become cultured.  Here are the quick links:  Buttermilk , Kefir, Yogurt and Sour Cream.

Do you make your own cultured dairy products? Which ones are your favorite?

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Comments

  1. says

    Would it be awkward or inappropriate for me to tell you that I just adore you?? My son and I just read this post together and were literally laughing out loud! Thanks for your wit and wisdom. Such a wonderful combo! I have to go now, it’s actually time for me to strain my kefir and put the grains into a new quart of raw milk. I’m going to be very careful not to trip over legos in the process, as that is certainly an issue I can relate to with two boys in the house. Blessings and gratitude, Kelly

    [Reply]

    Kelly @ The Nourishing Home Reply:

    P.S. I posted a link to this post on my FB page. :)

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    LOL Kelly. I feel the same. I wish Laura lived in IN cause I’d be stalking her! :)

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  2. says

    I keep a kefir culture fed on reconstituted non-fat dry milk. Every 24 hours I collect the kefir. From that I make kefir curds and whey. I drink the whey and spread the curds on things, and cook with both of them. If I need buttermilk, yogurt, or sour cream for my cooking, I mix some curds and whey together so that I get the consistancy that I imagine is desired. If there is excess culture, I eat some of that, raw. If I don’t eat some of it, pretty soon it is asking for gallons of milk instead of pints.

    I got my active kefir culture from http://www.yemoos.com. I had bought a dried kefir culture from elsewhere but all it did was make thick yogurt every 12 hours and slowly diminish until it was gone.

    By the way, my kefir culture jar is covered by a navy-blue-and-white bandanna, just because I think that goes well with the color of the culture. The rubber band is brown, though. *grin*

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  3. Jamie says

    I use quart jars with those white plastic lids for my whey, yogurt, and kefir, and I label the tops with dry erase markers. Rubber bands don’t like me. :)

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    Heidi Reply:

    I would never be able to determine if a rubber band liked ME, because the minute I get them, they disappear from our home. I am guessing there is somebody, or probably somebodies, that steal them. I have nearly resorted to getting a bank deposit box to house them, but the bank is 8 miles away, and they charge for the rental. It would be awkward if in the middle of night I needed a rubber band and the bank was closed–I think they frown on helping yourself or something.

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  4. Cassandra says

    I finally attempted the cultured dairy and dough! I have a sour dough starter on the counter beginning to stink :) and I made 5 quarts of yogurt with raw milk then hung two quarts in a towel for cream cheese. I couldn’t believe how easy the yogurt was! I checked on it after 7 hours and it was still very runny and not very sour so I added some more hot water and let it culture for 4 more hours. It is PERFECT now! I drained off the runny cream on top of each jar and found thick yogurt under it. I stirred the first jar and it was a lumpy watery yogurt so i just drained the others and didn’t stir so it is more the consistency of store bought yogurt. I didn’t think that could happen without gelatin or whatever it is they use to thicken. I also made 2 doz bagels, 4 of which shriveled up cuz they were too small. I had a fun day! Thanks for your wonderful site.

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  5. says

    Just want you to know that I held a gallon size Ball jar in my hands the other day at wallyworld and told my daughter that you bought one with your sons’ approval =) But I put it back on the shelf =( I still want one… and I NEED more of those white lids! (instead of using old seals and rings…)
    I also NEED to get the dairy & dough culture habit started! =)

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  6. Sara says

    I am super excited to start doing some cultured dairy products.
    Question for you: Do you collect the cream off all of your milk?
    We are getting 6 1/2 gal. jars every 2 weeks and I’m just not sure what type of routine to have with all of this milk!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I usually leave the cream in my milk and just shake it in, so we drink whole milk. I buy additional cream from our farmers so that I can make sour cream.

    With the four gallons of milk we get each week, I usually make 1/2 gallon buttermilk and a 1/2 gallon of kefir. Then I make the occasional yogurt, whenever we need it.

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  7. Jenifer Parker says

    You know, Dave Barry has NOTHING on you for chuckles. You might consider having someone look at all your blog/newsletters with the thought of a “heavenly homemaker” book. I’m just sayin…… :-) You da bomb!

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  8. Jenny says

    I got my sourdough starter started several days ago and made sourdough bread. Yummm! Even my picky sister liked it. I made yogurt yesterday, but had to use store bought milk. I let it drain for a long time and it turned out like the greek-style yogurt at the store. I really like yogurt over blueberries with a little honey for sweetener. Thanks so much for your blog. It is wonderful to learn something new and have a good laugh along with it.

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  9. Amy says

    I love your sense of humor. :) Have you had any experience making a dairy-free yogurt? Some of us can eat dairy products, but some of us cannot. I’d like to try almond milk. Will it cuture? DF yogurt alternatives are so expensive in the store.

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  10. christie says

    Could you use powdered milk to make the different products?

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    Laura Reply:

    I don’t recommend powdered milk, but yes, I think you can use it to make these. According to Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon, “Commercial deydration methods [to create powdered milk] oxidize cholesterol in powdered milk, rendering it harmful to the arteries. High temperature drying also creates large quantities of cross-linked proteins and nitrate compounds, which are potent carcinogens…” Anyway, that’s what Sally says. :)

    [Reply]

    Sandra Reply:

    If Sally Fallon thinks that nitrates are “potent carcinogens”, I have to wonder about the rest of her information. The culprit in lunch meats is sodium nitrite, not sodium nitrate. Nitrates are only a problem when they are present in large enough quantities to be a burden on the kidneys in flushing them out of the body. Nitrates are present in drinking water any place there is farming, because they are the natural product of bacteria acting on ammonia-based fertilizers. Fish live in water with moderate levels of nitrates, and people drink it, both without any great harm befalling them. Is the water better without any nitrates? Yes. Is it a “potent carcinogen”? No.

    I don’t know if her statement was meant to include cross-linked proteins under the description of “potent carcinogens”, but I would find this to be unlikely. Proteins in food cross-link all the time during cooking activities, some of which include heating. A room-temperature example is gluten, which is cross-linked wheat proteins. Even if the whey protein (albumins) in milk was cooked into a white paint-like substance, the worst it would be is indigestible. I tried to find scientific references to carcinogenicity of cross-linked milk proteins on the Internet, and all I found was echoes of Sally Fallon’s claims. The other references to cross-linked proteins in milk were studies of production of yogurt and other such foods, and contained no references to cancer.

    Finally, non-fat dry milk doesn’t have much cholesterol to oxidize, so if your milk powder is non-fat then there probably isn’t much there to worry about even if it were proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that oxidized cholesterol in the diet is the main cause of atherosclerosis. The research results that I found on the Internet don’t support that. The reports say that the oxidized cholesterol accelerates atherosclerosis in mice genetically inclined to the disease, who have been fed extra cholesterol in their diet. Probably if you lack the gene that causes your body to be able to transport cholesterol back to the liver for destruction, you shouldn’t drink powdered dry milk with your butter-cream frosted brownies, but I suspect the butter is more of a problem in that case.

    Now, if you want to say that raw whole milk is better food than any other type of milk available, I won’t disagree. But casting powdered dry milk as practically deadly poison based on the claims of someone who starts out by not being able to distinguish between nitrite and nitrate does not seem warranted, not to mention the apparent distortions of published research results.

    I almost didn’t post this because I really didn’t want to get into a argument with the followers of a dietary cult figure. Eventually my conscience got the better of me and so I have posted. Yes, the quality of the milk that you drink is better than that available to many people. No, powdered milk isn’t deadly poison. In fact, if that is the milk supply that is available to someone, processing it through milk kefir may improve the nutritional value of it and should probably be encouraged.

    [Reply]

    Lisa Reply:

    Hey, thanks for the research and for the post.

  11. Kathleen K says

    I am laughing so hard with this post. Thank you so much. Moms, if the 5-8 minutes is too much for you each day, assign one child (so you know who to holler for if it is forgotten) to take care of kefir grains at breakfast. It will add 2 minutes to his/her morning, give him (I have all boys, enough of the p.c. stuff) responsibility, and make my to do list 2 minutes shorter. Now if I can just get them to clean their room!

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  12. says

    I make yogurt often — my 3 year old eats it like there is no tomorrow! I want to try water keifer but have yet to get a starter — my husband doesn’t like dairy and I’d love to get some probiotics into him!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m very excited to try making water kefir in a few weeks and will be sharing about how to do that!

    [Reply]

    Sandra Reply:

    I, too, wanted to get my husband to drink some probiotics and knew he would never drink milk kefir because he has bad memories of having to drink soured milk when he was growing up. I mix the water kefir with orange juice, half-and-half, for drinking with our breakfast. He says it tastes like anything from peach juice to grapefruit juice depending on how sour I let the water kefir get. He likes both, so it isn’t a problem but I try not to let it get too sour. Sucanat and water are all it takes to make good water kefir. Try http://www.yemoos.com for good, healthy active cultures delivered by mail if you live in the USA. :)

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  13. says

    I thought about making my own yogurt and sour cream but not sure about the starter kit. Do you think making your own dairy products saves you money?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, I really do, especially if you’re looking for a high quality product. I mean, I could clip coupons and buy cheap yogurt that’s full of HFCS or even lots of sugar for probably less than what it costs to make, but if you compare it to higher quality dairy products, I save a ton of money making these myself!

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  14. Kari says

    Hi Laura! Which yogurt starter from Cultures for Health do you recommend for raw milk? I clicked on the link and it just goes to their home page.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I recommend either the Traditional Flavor or the Mild Flavored Yogurt Starter. They both work about the same and are fine for raw milk! It says to heat it to 180 degrees, but I want to keep it raw so I only heat it to 99. :)

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  15. Carly says

    Hi Laura,

    Thank you so much for this post! I ordered the yogurt and buttermilk starters from Culture for Health (thank you for the 10%!) I have made the yogurt and buttermilk and then some sour cream yesterday! It all tastes great!

    Just wondering if I can switch back and forth making the buttermilk and then sour cream and use the same culture to start the next one. For example, can I use the 1/4 cup out of the sour cream to make a new batch of buttermilk and then switch back and make sour cream from the buttermilk? Have you done this? Thanks for your help!

    [Reply]

    Laura@HeavenlyHomemakers Reply:

    Yes, that will absolutely work!

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  16. Renee B says

    My first attempt at Kefir was finished today. Honestly I was a bit afraid to drink it but it was wonderful in my smoothie! Thank you!

    [Reply]

  17. Wynonah Bates says

    I’ve been making my own sourcream, yogurt, and buttermilk now for a couple years, and its flavor is far superior I think to the store-bought stuff. I haven’t tried the keifer yet… though its in the works! You think I could use the cultured stuff from the grocery (like I’ve done with the yogurt?) Or do I need the grains? Thanks for an awesome, inspiring blog!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, you can certainly do it this way. Here’s how I do it: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/making-kefir-with-powdered-starter-and-a-kefir-starter-discount :)

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  18. Jennifer says

    This might be a silly question…….but if I use different fat content organic milks (skim, 1%, 2%) will I just end up with 1% sour cream, etc? Or should I be using whole organic milk? Thanks!!!!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Actually, when you make sour cream, you use 100% cream (no milk), so you’d get full strength sour cream there. But yes, if you are using 1% milk to make buttermilk or kefir, you would get 1% buttermilk or kefir. I’d use whole milk for best flavor and for well rounded nutrients. :)

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  19. Heidi says

    Thank you for the entertaining post. I think that I might love you now–but don’t take that improperly, and don’t tell my husband because he might not really understand girl relationships. Nobody else has made me laugh like that for awhile, and you write like I think. LOL!

    Oh, and I already culture dairy products, but love to read about it from like-minded (and like-humored) people.

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