Making Cultured Buttermilk, Kefir and Sour Cream

Wanna know how EASY it is to make cultured buttermilk, kefir and sour cream?  Yeah, it takes about 30 seconds of your time.  (Don’t tell anyone that though…they think it’s impressive when you make your own.)  :)

The beauty of making your own cultured dairy products is that once you make one batch, you can save the last cup or two to start a new batch.  It saves a lot of money to do this, and it is so easy!

I buy my buttermilk, kefir, and sour cream (also known as kreme fresh) starter online.  Here are some great starter packet options:

To Make Kefir:

How to Make Kefir

I begin with just under a half gallon of raw milk in a glass jar.  (You can make this with pasturized milk too as far as I know.)  I pour the packet of kefir starter into the milk, shake it up, and put a lid on it.  Then, I set the jar in the cabinet above my refrigerator for about 24 hours (in the winter, it takes a little longer in my COLD kitchen!).  You’ll know it is done “culturing” when it is thick and has some bubbly looking bubbles all through it.  And when you tip your jar over, it kind of…glops.  (see how helpful I am?)

To Make Buttermilk:

How to Make Buttermilk and Sour Cream

Follow the same instructions as for the Kefir, only use the Buttermilk Culture Starter.

To Make Sour Cream (aka kreme fresh):

Use the Buttermilk Culture Starter with one pint of cream.  Follow the same directions as above.

Now, to make more batches of each of these…

Save about a cup each of kefir or buttermilk (or about a third cup of sour cream) from your initial batch.

Use this remaining kefir, buttermilk or sour cream to shake into more raw milk or cream (1/2 gallon of milk…or 1 pint of cream) to begin a fresh batch.  Just put it in, shake it up, and let it sit out for 24 hours or so.  (Until you’ve got the glop thing going on.)  You can do this up to eight times before you need to begin with a new starter package. (I’ve continued it more than eight times when I’m feeling rebellious.  It still works.)

buttermilk1sm.JPG
Here’s the tail end of one jar of buttermilk,
ready to be poured into a fresh 1/2 gallon jar of milk.

 

buttermilk2sm.JPG
Here’s a jar of milk with a cup of buttermilk shaken into it,
ready to begin the culturing process.
(Yes, I know it looks like a plain ol’ jar of milk.
You’ll have to humor me and act like you can tell .
Nod and say, oh…very nice.)

buttermilk4sm.JPG
And here is my milk turning into buttermilk in the cabinet above my fridge.  (With my Chrismas dishes.)
I’ve been advised that this spot is the best one in my kitchen to culture things because it has a fairly consistent temperature.

Oh, and when I do put my culturing dairy products in this cabinet, I LEAVE THE CABINET DOOR OPEN so that I can see it.  It’s a bad idea to forget you have buttermilk or kefir or sour cream culturing in a cabinet.  A bad, bad idea.

Now you have really, really healthy kefir for smoothies, and really, really healthy sour cream for your tacos, etc, and really, really healthy buttermilk for drinking or for making Creamy Orange Cooler.

See how easy it is?!  :)

Comments

  1. Kristi says

    the packet that I got from CFH says to use 1 1/2 tsp and 1 cup of milk to start it. It works okay to just pour the whole packet into 2 quarts??

    [Reply]

    Laura@HeavenlyHomemakers Reply:

    I’d go ahead and follow the exact CFH directions instead of mine for this! I wrote this post a few years ago, before I started getting starters from CFH, so I need to do a little bit of updating!! :)

    [Reply]

    Kristi Reply:

    I followed your directions and it worked fine for me!! :)

    [Reply]

    Kathryn Reply:

    You followed the HH instructions using Kefir Grains and yours turned
    out OK? I just received my grains in the mail, read the instructions,
    and really don’t want to have to go through the whole process of
    “rehydrating” them. If you say it works, I’ll do it the HH way!

    Laura Reply:

    Kathryn, if you purchase the dehydrated grains, you will need to rehydrate them. Sorry for the confusion on that. I need to write a new post to explain that process. But, if you follow the directions you got with your grains, it should work fine!

  2. Kirstyn says

    Laura, do you know anything about working without cultures? My grandmother said they used to make all of these products without any cultures of any sort, and I’m kinda jealous– I mean, the point of making my own is not just for health, but also to get away from depending on buying something to have those products around.

    Also, in relation to that- I use “real” buttermilk, which is just what I have left after making butter. Does that work the same as far as soaking grains and such? I let my cream sour a bit before I turn it into butter, so I’m assuming there would be some live bacteria at work in there. Any knowledge you have would be appreciated. :-)

    [Reply]

    Tiffany Reply:

    Good question Kirstyn & one that I wonder about as well. I haven’t let me crean sour before making butter but have kept the “milk” that is left over after making the butter. I’ve wondered how to make it “cultured” as well.

    Thanks for asking!! I’ll look for a reply from one of these smart ladies. Amazed at how much you can learn on a message board!!

    Blessings,
    Tiffany

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I have no idea how they used to make cultured food before cultures were around to purchase! I would LOVE to know!

    [Reply]

    Faye Reply:

    Buttermilk From Scratch

    1. Allow a cup of filtered fresh raw milk to sit covered at room
    temperature until it has thickened, which usually takes several days.
    2. Place 1/4 cup of the thickened milk in a pint mason jar.
    3. Add a cup of fresh milk (does not have to be raw at this point),
    cover, shake to mix, and allow to sit at room temperature until
    thickened again.
    4. Repeat this transfer of sub-culturing several more times until the
    milk dependably thickens in 24 hours. Taste a small amount to
    confirm that it is tart, thickened, and has no off flavors (e.g. tart
    but not bitter).

    [Reply]

    Jenny Keller Reply:

    I just found this website while searching for ways to use my raw goat milk. Will goat milk work with this recipe? I find some cheese or milk recipes don’t work because of the lack of cream issue. Thanks

    Laura Reply:

    I think so but I can’t say for sure since I’ve not tried it with goat milk myself.

    heather Reply:

    This is sort of what I do. I keep a jar in my fridge of “old” milk. whenever we just have a little bit of milk from a jug and it’s annoying me, I pour it in my “old” milk. and shake it. whenever a recipe calls for buttermilk or thick soured milk, this is what I use. sometimes it does get too old! and really seperates and gives off a gas! The first time you do it, you have to let the milk sit out for a few hours. I just remodeled my kitchen and didn’t cook anything for a few months, and I got rid of my “old milk” it just looked too wierd for me! Once, I took my jar over to my mother inlaws b/c I was making pancakes. She was also digging in her fridge for somethine and said “Doesn’t this annoy you when there’s just a tiny bit of milk left in the gallon container?” I took it and poured it in my old milk. I guess she didn’t really get it, because then she dumped all the “old” milk and washed the jar for me! LOL!

  3. D. says

    I’ve just been wondering that myself, Kirstyn. Kefir, as an example. I can’t imagine there were kefir grains when the people in days of old first started making kefir.

    I would love to know how to culture the real buttermilk left after making butter, without having to add store-bought cultured buttermilk. That just seems counterproductive somehow. I made some creme fraiche recently by using some of my “real” buttermilk and adding it to some slightly soured full fat raw milk and leaving it on the counter for 24 hours. I then skimmed the “creme” part off the top and fed the opaque stuff that was left in the jar to our dog. He loved it!

    If anyone finds out how this should be done, I’d be interested in the answer, too.

    [Reply]

  4. RS says

    Hi guys, I’m not sure why all the trouble with ‘starter grains’ and what not. I have been making buttermilk and kefir for a while now without using those ‘starters.’ Depending on what cultures I want, I just buy a small cartoon of either kefir, or pro-biotic yogurt, fill about 1/5 of jar and let it stand, usually on the stove (away from the burners) so there is a bit of heat coming during cooking dinners.

    For the ladies inquiring about grandmothers making buttermilk, cream, kefir the old way, well, you can’t these days. Unless you know a dairy farmer that doesn’t pasteurize their milk. Remember the milk you buy from the store doesn’t have any bacteria, that’s why it goes bad. When you have fresh milk from the cow, it will naturally turn to kefir.

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    Most of us here use raw milk, that is the whole point. NO ONE should be buying milk from the grocery store. It’s dead, white water. We shouldn’t have to buy, say, buttermilk from the store (the cultured stuff in a milkbox) in order to make our own cultured buttermilk. There has to be a different way because I know my grandmother didn’t buy buttermilk to make buttermilk. She couldn’t have if she’d wanted to because they didn’t even have cultured store-bought buttermilk back then.

    No, raw milk doesn’t “naturally” turn into kefir. It turns into soured milk without the grains or a kefir powder from a health food store.

    I suspect the original kefir, since it was kept in a bag made of goat stomach (or something like that) received enzymes from the stomach lining or some similar action. I haven’t had time to continue to look into it, but I will.

    [Reply]

    Sharon Reply:

    It’s a lovely idea that no one should buy milk in the grocery store, for some of us it is our only option. There is one place 30 minutes from where I live that sells raw milk and it costs $9.00 a gallon. We just don’t have that kind of money. While I’m trying to change our eating to whole foods that are good for us, it is quite a challenge finding things that fit our small budget and large family. On the milk front, I’m just not sure what other option I have except store bought milk.

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    I didn’t mean it quite that way. What I meant was, really, it’s a shame anyone has to buy grocery store milk. If you don’t have access, you don’t. I wouldn’t pay $9 / gallon either. That’s ridiculous. I pay $4.00 per gallon for lovely Jersy cow creamy milk. $2.50 for a dozen pastured eggs. The one thing we have trouble finding here is pastured chickens and turkeys (to bake and eat). Most of the people who raise chickens for eggs keep them until they are no longer laying hens and then they use the hens, themselves, for stewing – but they don’t sell the hens. Few people in this area raise chickens just for the chicken meat to sell. Small farmers sometimes keep a flock for themselves but they don’t sell to the public.

    Most of the milk in stores is from Holstein cows (which are low in fat to begin with) so even if you’re buying whole milk you’re still not getting much natural fat. If it were me, I would look for unhomogenized CREAM and then dilute it 1:1 or whatever into milk for my family. At least they would get a little more fat content. Just try to look for stuff that is not ultra-pasteurized.

    Catt Reply:

    ??

    Cream contains fat, but no calcium. If you dilute cream, you don’t make milk, you make thin cream.

    If you’re worried your milk doesn’t have enough fat in it, add cream to milk. Dont dilute cream with water.

    Really puzzled by the description of pasteurised milk as “dead white water”. It’s milk, with calcium, fat and other nutrients. It just doesn’t have bacteria. If that bothers you, culture it. Personally I don’t find pasteurisation at all insulting. I’m glad that tuberculosis is no longer endemic,which it would be if we hadn’t started pasteurising milk.

    crazywoman/Billie Reply:

    I would love to buy raw milk!! I didn’t when I lived in Montana.
    But here in WY, it is against the law to sell raw cows milk. :>( Oddly
    enough, it seems to be OK to sell goats milk, as I have a (somewhat)
    neighbor who raises goats & sells the milk.
    That being said, I guess I probably would not buy raw milk now, as I n
    no longer drink it. Too many carbs. I do use a lot of cream tho, and
    if it were not too expensive, I might buy that. Would love to have raw cream

    And by the way, buttermilk was made by letting the milk sour at room
    temperature, then churning butter. After the butter was removed, what
    was left was butermilk!
    I have made butter from raw cows milk back when I could get it, but I
    made sweet cream butter. (Don’t like sour cream butter.) I did use the
    buttermilk which was left, but it was not sour. Guess had I wanted
    sour buttermilk (I didn’t), I could have let it sour overnight.

    Heather T. Reply:

    It is illegal in my state so I guess unless I want jail time or huge fines I will just have to buy my milk from the store, I do have friends with milk cows but again I guess its not worth them getting in trouble and not being able to sell their milk, I get what you are saying but lets try not to make everyone feel horrible because they can’t get raw milk! Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Ron Reply:

    Hello Folks , You can culture store bought milk,for buttermilk let 6 Oz.
    sit around 24 hrs. at room temp. It will culture. Here is a site to check, out if you want more info. http://biology.clc.uc.edu/fankhauser/Cheese/BUTTERMILK.HTM
    Hope this helps Ron

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    No, Ron, you’re not getting it either.

    Apparently no one understands what I’m trying to ask.

    HOW DID THE PIONEERS MAKE BUTTERMILK BEFORE YOU COULD BUY BUTTERMILK IN THE STORE??? I don’t want to use store-bought buttermilk in order to make my own. I want to know how the very first batch of buttermilk was ever made, see? I don’t want to have to buy a culture powder, or buy a quart of buttermilk from the store to make my OWN buttermilk.

    I’ll keep looking.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    You misread what he said. He said you can culture STORE BOUGHT
    milk to get buttermilk.

    Darlene Reply:

    My grandmother milked the cow separated the cream and saved the cream from each milking adding to it
    each time stirring it after additions. It soured and after a while we poured it into a churn and made butter.
    The milk left when the butter was removed is buttermilk and is soured. The cream was in a big 3 galllon jar
    in the basement of the house where it was cool.
    Grandpa loved the buttermilk and it was wonderful to cook with. Stayed a long time in the fridge. Never heard of
    all this packaged stuff.

    The yougurt we heated the milk store or other and added a container of plain yogurt with live cultures
    to the cooled heated milk and put in a yogurt maker. the yogurt can be used for future batches. This is what
    I personally do. Makes good yogurt.

    Amanda B Reply:

    This is from wikipedia: “Originally, buttermilk was the liquid left over from churning butter from cream. Traditionally, before cream could be skimmed from whole milk, it was left to sit for a period of time to allow the cream and milk to separate. During this time, naturally occurring lactic acid-producing bacteria in the milk fermented it. This facilitates the butter churning process, since fat from cream with a lower pH coalesces more readily than that of fresh cream. The acidic environment also helps prevent potentially harmful microorganisms from growing, increasing shelf-life.[3] However, in establishments that used cream separators, the cream was hardly acidic at all.”

    Sounds like all you have to do to make real buttermilk is let your raw milk sit out for a bit to separate and sour, then skim off the cream, make butter with it (which can be done easily in your blender or food processor (see this post:http://www.foodrenegade.com/how-to-make-butter/) and pour off the resulting liquid (buttermilk!).

    pam clark Reply:

    Pioneer buttermilk is made by clabbering raw milk in small quantities zuch as a cup at a time over and over. Each time clabbering is complete pour off the. The liquid acter about 3or 4timrs it will beome buttermilk starter.@____

  5. Tiffany says

    Hey D.,

    You’re right..about it all. I did take a class on Sunday afternoon about “Raw Milk, Kefir & Yogurt”. She used Kefir Grains to start her Kefir, but it will also grow & reproduce itself over time so you can continue to make your own without having to constantly buy starter. One site she mentioned was the Kefir lady…you can just google that one. She used 1 Tbsp Kefir Grains to approx. 1 cup of raw milk…let it sit on the counter to ferment for 24 hours, strain the Kefir Grains out (& add to new batch) then put the Kefir on the counter again for a 2nd fermentation for about the same time 24 hours or so & voila!! You can place it in the fridge as well. As for the yogurt she used organic (Stonyfield – although she said there’s no pref.) plain yogurt – 1 Tbsp. per quart of raw milk…heat milk to 100 to 110 degrees just like HH says to do, she takes a small amount of milk out & mixes it with the yogurt, making sure it’s well blended & then puts it back into the warm milk on the stove & stirs it all together. This prevents it from seperating in the bottom of the container. It made for the smoothest yogurt – mine has been real clumpy. She put hers in a soft sided cooler with other jars of hot (not scalding) hot water & let it set until cooled. Then she put it out on the counter & let it set until 1) she noticed it beginning to seperate (whey at the bottom) or 2) she started diggin’ into it!! Then she placed it in the fridge, but first she strained the yummiest sour cream I’ve ever tasted off of the top!! She did the same process with greek yogurt and you can substitute Goat Milk for Cow Milk & do the same recipe.

    HH got me started in the yogurt direction & I’m so thankful!! It’s definitely made me want to continue learning new ways of doing things & how to provide healthy things to my family. You’ve also made me re-evaluate why we eat & why it’s an investment in our bodies & the bodies of our girls (3). We’re getting our 1st grain mill from BreadBeckers at our local Homeschool Convention (HEAV) in a few weeks & I’m elated!! You just feel good knowing you’re doing the best for your family!! Thanks HH for the constant encouragement! You are truly building treasures in Heaven! Blessings!!

    [Reply]

  6. says

    Hello D, Please take the time to check out the site. this is from it.

    MAKING CULTURED BUTTERMILK FROM SCRATCH
    Allow a cup of filtered fresh raw milk to sit covered at room temperature until it has clabbered (usually several days).
    Place 1/4 cup of the clabbered milk in a pint mason jar, add a cup of fresh milk (does not have to be raw at this point), cover, shake to mix, allow to sit at room temperature until clabbered.
    Repeat this transfer of sub-culturing several more times until the milk dependably clabbers in 24 hours. Taste a small amount to confirm that it is tart, thickened, and has no off flavors. It should taste tart not bitter, for instance.
    To then make a quart of buttermilk with this culture, add 6 ounces of the buttermilk to a quart jar, fill with fresh milk, cover, shake to mix, allow to sit at room temperature until clabbered. Refrigerate. ( Made 1 gallon of butter milk so far with 4% regular milk. ) PS- you do have get milk from some where) Good luck
    Ron

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    I make clabbered milk often and it usually clabbers within 12-24 hours. I always thought it smelled a lot like buttermilk, but I had no idea I was MAKING buttermilk! I think, though, there is still some sort of difference between this type of buttermilk and cultured. In order to culture it naturally, without buying store buttermilk in a carton (which really sorta defeats the purpose, no?) in days of old they used vinegar (or its equivalent at the time). Some probably used apple juice if they had apples, some probably used pickle brine or some such thing. But the easy way was just to let it ferment naturally.

    Yesterday I read this on another site:
    Buttermilk History
    In days gone by, nothing went to waste in the standard homestead, and this included the liquid leftover after churning butter. Combined with natural airborne bacteria, this liquid thickened and soured, taking on a pleasingly tangy flavor. The resulting buttermilk made an excellent addition to biscuits, pancakes, and baked goods.

    I forgot to copy the link, but I think it was from about.com

    So it appears there are a couple of diferent ways to do this. And, like anything else cultured, you save some of the original batch (just like with yogurt) to make a new batch. It’s like a sourdough starter, same idea.

    [Reply]

  7. Janet Kiessling says

    I have a question Laura – couldn’t I just use yogurt as a starter for the sour cream – aka kreme fresh? Or is it not the same thing? Let me know – Please! :)

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    It’s not quite the same thing, but if you put yogurt in cream and let it culture, it would be a sour cream. Making it from buttermilk makes a true sour cream, but sure – go for it with yogurt, it should be fine!

    [Reply]

  8. Melissa says

    Where did you get your nice jars shown in your pictures above?

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    You can buy 1/2 gallon Kerr or Ball jars (which is what is shown above) at any hardware store, usually. If they don’t have them you can ask them to order them, but price it first. They should not cost more than about $2 per jar. Also, you can buy the plastic lids (white ones) at hardware stores or online.

    I order a lot of my Quattro Stagioni jars from here —> http://www.villagekitchen.com/quattro_stagioni_jars_64_ctg.htm

    They’re a little more expensive but they come with lids which reseal. I order the taller jars with the narrow top to keep my raw milk, and the quart or pint jars for my raw cream. If you want to order from them be sure to check out the ounces on each jar before you order because in the photos they look bigger. The 17 oz jar in the photos is actually the same as a pint jar, which would normally be 16 oz, but even though it’s called 17 oz it’s still a pint. They are wonderful jars. I have also ordered some of the pitchers (for lemonade and iced tea and such) on this page —> http://www.villagekitchen.com/glass_pitchers_26_ctg.htm They are very nice, too.

    Hope that’s helpful.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I believe I bought them through my health food co-op, Azure Standard.

    [Reply]

  9. Patty Cerney says

    Two questions:
    My buttermilk looked a little curdled on the counter, I let it sit there for about 24 hours. Shaking it got the curdles out. Secondly, now that it sits in the fridge it has separated. Is it still OK to use? I have made it before but I don’t remember this happening.
    Thank you for your fantastic site!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, mine both curdles and separates in the fridge. I just give it a good shake before using it each time!

    [Reply]

  10. Mayira says

    Can I use store-bought buttermilk and non-raw milk to make more buttermilk? I know it’s healthier if I’m using raw milk, but I haven’t gotten around to figuring out where to buy it in south Florida.

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    If you’re going to use store-bought buttermilk and store-bought milk, why not just skip the step of “making” anything, and just use the store-bought buttermilk for your needs? It doesn’t make sense to spend twice the money (since you’re buying two items) for something that remains a store-bought product. Visit over at this link http://www.healthyhomeeconomist.com Sarah Pope (the lady who has the blog) lives in FL (I think around Tampa) and she might know places where you could buy raw in the area where you live. Also, you can check at http://www.realmilk.com and there are some links there which provide information on buying raw milk.

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    That link should be http://thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/

    Here’s the link to Sarah’s partial bio: http://www.thehealthyhomeeconomist.com/sarah/

    [Reply]

    Mayira Reply:

    Thank you for the links. I wasn’t sure where to start looking, but hopefully now I’ll make it a priority to start.

    Mayira Reply:

    Well, buttermilk costs twice the amount that milk does. So if I can make buttermilk easily, why not save money?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, these recipes/instructions will work with store-bought milk! :)

    [Reply]

  11. Charlotte Moore says

    Does anyone nit use buttermilk to make their corn bread?? That is all I use. I also make my cake layers with buttermilk. NO!!! They are not healthy cake layers. HA!!!

    I am beginning to put things in a jar for storage. They look so nice in the cabinet. It actually takes less space.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Here’s my recipe for cornbread, and yes, it uses buttermilk!! :)
    http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/cornbread-and-cornbread-muffins

    [Reply]

  12. Carla says

    I would love to make sour cream but can tell you I am a bit afraid to try and make it just like yogurt. I don’t want to make my family sick. Is there a way to know that the sour cream and yogurt are good and not bad?

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    How would making sour cream and yogurt (etc.,) from raw milk make your family “sick”??

    [Reply]

    Carla Reply:

    I have never made these before and am new at a lot of this.
    I never knew I could make these products at home. We have been drinking
    Raw milk for about a year now that is not the problem, I want to know
    is can the products be made and they be spoiled in any way that would
    make my family ill ( food poisoning)? Please remember I am new at this
    and insulting me is no way to help.

    [Reply]

    D. Reply:

    I hope you weren’t implying that I was insulting you by asking what made you think that raw milk products would make you sick. I was just curious as to what part of it you thought might do that.

    It might benefit you to look at this web site, which offers good advice about raw milk products. http://www.realmilk.com

    stef Reply:

    Carla I’m new to this too. Thank you for asking a reasonable
    question that many of us have a concern about.

    Laura Reply:

    Carla – you’re definitely not alone in this fear!! Many who are new at making these products question it, especially since it just sounds so CRAZY to leave dairy products out of the fridge for a whole day or more!!

    Now that I’ve been doing this for a while, I feel like there is nothing to be afraid of when making these, especially since you’re able to make them using your raw dairy. Your dairy won’t be spoiling – it will just be culturing. The healthy bacteria that forms while it’s culturing actually creates a super healthy, not-at-all scary dairy product. That healthy cultured dairy would kill any bad bacteria that came it’s way!!

    It’s pretty neat to see your milk turn to yogurt or buttermilk, etc – and you’ll find that the results smell sweetly sour. Hope that helps! Please feel free to ask more questions as needed!

    [Reply]

    Carla Reply:

    Thanks for the encoragment (sp) I really do want to try these. I already
    make so many things at home instead of buying them and this would just
    add to my list. Thanks for all the great recipes you give here.
    I know my kids love you for it.lol

    [Reply]

  13. Savannah says

    HIII! OKAY SO I LOOOVE YOUR RECIPES THEY ARE EXACTLY WHAT IM LOOKING FOR!! :)
    but i have a question..
    i do not understand the sour cream instructions lol
    so could you explain it to me?
    thankyou!

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Sorry that I didn’t explain that very thoroughly. I need to write a new post to make it all more clear!

    To make sour cream, simply put the buttermilk starter packet into a pint jar of fresh cream (what has risen to the top of the raw milk). Stir it in, then let it sit on the counter or in a “warmish” place for 24 hours or until it becomes cultured and thick.

    [Reply]

  14. Savannah says

    OKAY ONCE AGAIN I AM SOOOOOOOO CONFUSED WITH ALL THIS!!

    All i know is i want to make Buttermilk, Sour cream, Yogurt, and Cream.
    i have no clue how to and i am quite confused with the instructions for each, and i know you dont tell how to get or make cream and that may be a stupid question but i really do not know and need help!!!

    i see in your recipes you say “use with starter kit” problem is, i get confused when i click on each starter kit, and they have their own instructions on how to make buttermilk, yogurt or sour cream, so im like,
    1. do i follow all their instructions and then add it into her recipe where she says “use starter kit”?
    or 2.do i just dump the starter kit powder into her recipe?
    or 3. do i follow the starter kits instructions completely and then im done?
    i dont get it.

    and what is cream? how do i get both heavy and light cream?

    and as for the sour cream recipe it says to use 1 pint of cream, how do i use it though? do i make the buttermilk starter kit, then mix i with 1 pint of cream, then make it the same way as the kefir instructions? i am so confused,
    PLEASE HELP!! with all my questions lol

    and by the way i am using only raw milk for everything. so if their are specifics for that i need to know. thankyou so much

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I am hoping to write more clear instructions on each of these soon. I’m not sure what the package says on each of these, but you can use those packages and follow my instructions and you will still get the same result.

    Cream is what you find that has risen to the top of raw milk – or you can buy “heavy whipping cream” at the store.

    [Reply]

  15. Savannah says

    & one more thing, since i am using raw milk, what about the recipes such as this one where there is no heating involved, is that safe? what do i do?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Yes, this is still safe and will keep the raw milk raw, which is great for all those digestive enzymes!

    [Reply]

  16. Rachel says

    I just got my first Kefir culture! Very overwhelmed and excited. I am wondering how long you can “keep” the sour cream, kefir, and yogurt before it “goes bad.” I was told that it’s something I should do every 2 days or so but there is no way we will eat that much kefir right now.

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    It lasts much longer than 2 days for Laura…I hope it does for you too! :)

    [Reply]

  17. Lainie says

    Laura,

    I found your site looking for a mozzarella recipe. I will be using yours for our Christmas lasagna.

    For 40 years, I have made buttermilk and sour cream by adding a tablespoon of white vinegar to one cup of milk or cream. I’ve not had any complaints and they work in recipes perfectly.

    Hope that others find this useful.

    [Reply]

  18. Kay says

    Just a suggestion. When you do anything with raw milk, always use glass or ceramic containers. Don’t use metal. The glass and ceramic should always be scalded with hot water, or boiled in hot water to kill any strange bacteria. The metal may give your milk products an off flaver. When you use utensils to work your milk products, use wooden spoons or spatulas instead of metal. The wooden utensils can be boiled in water to kill any strange bacteria. My grandmother always churned her butter in glass churns with wooden paddles and worked her butter in wooden bowls with wooden paddles. Her cottage cheese always curdled in ceramic bowls. I don’t ever remember her using metal for any type of dairy making. The raw milk did come in from the barn in metal pails or large milk cans, but the pails and cans were only used for milking and transport straight to the house and milkhouse.

    [Reply]

  19. Ann says

    I have some well aged buttermilk dated 12/15/11 in my fridge that looks a lot like sour cream after i poured off the watery top. Would this be an acceptable sour cream or something else. I tasted it and it tastes fine.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    If it tastes fine, I’m sure it is absolutely fine to use!

    [Reply]

  20. jesse fox says

    i have a question that i hope someone can answer, i have made buttermilk 4 different times now and i make it in a crock. the first two times i made it(one quart cultured buttermilk mixed with one gallon 2% milk) it tured out great, not too thick and not too thin. BUT, my second two batches turned out WAY too thick to drink and i do love to drink it. what do you think has happend? should i cut back to half a quart added to one gallon milk? any help would be great! jess

    [Reply]

    David M Reply:

    All you need to do is stir it vigorously until you get the consistency you want.

    [Reply]

  21. Alicia says

    Hello everyone! We are ready to make some kefir! (: I was on the Cultures for Health really ready about to place the order when I noticed on the milk kefir product page that they are “processed” in a facility with nuts (and others common allergens). We have a nut allergy child. Has anyone had any experience with these grains and an “allergic to nuts” person?? I posted a message question on the product page asking what precautions are taken to avoid cross-contamination, we’ll see what the response is. (: Thanks!!! (:

    [Reply]

    caby415 Reply:

    I have kefir grains that I have grown in raw milk for several years. If you like, I can send you some via mail. I live in L.A.

    [Reply]

  22. says

    I was interested also in how to make buttermilk with out a starter and I found this link which seems to have some neat info in it too.

    http://www.sophisticatededge.com/how-to-make-buttermilk-from-milk.html

    “Using Milk as a Starter

    If you don’t already have an active culture from buttermilk, you can make your own. For this to work you will need to use fresh raw milk, which means it has not been pasteurized. Be aware that the FDA warns that raw milk can pose a serious health risk.

    Let 1-cup fresh raw milk sit at room temperature for several days until it clabbers. Use ¼ cup of this newly clabbered milk and add a cup of fresh milk. Let it sit until it clabbers. Continue this procedure until the mixture reliably clabbers in twenty-four hours. Once it does, this mixture can be used confidently as a starter for larger batches. “

    [Reply]

    Janet Kiessling Reply:

    Thank you MeganH – I ahve been looking for a recipe like this for a long time!!!
    I did not want to buy a starter – thanks again!
    Blassings – Janet Kiessling

    [Reply]

  23. Loretta says

    Question…can you culture the buttermilk with kefir grains? I have raw milk,was going to make mozzarella cheese when I saw that I needed the cultured buttermilk.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I think if you tried that, you’d just end up with kefir, not buttermilk, but I do think that the kefir would work to make mozzarella cheese.

    [Reply]

  24. says

    Ok, so I just went through your clicky to get the culture starters and saw that they have a vegan one! We are not vegan but myself and my oldest daughter have milk allergies and my youngest will only drink soy milk. The website says that you can use rice, soy, or nut milks!

    [Reply]

  25. Sangeetha says

    Hi, I have been making yogurt for several years using a culture that my aunt gave me, which she got from her mother…you get the picture. Back home, “buttermilk” is the term given to churned yogurt, with the cream at the top of the yogurt removed. This sounds like buttermilk, as you would call it, doesn’t it? It is cultured. It doesn’t have cream. Instead of the removed cream being sweet cream that can go into coffee, for instance, it is sour cream. Would this “sour cream” be the same one that you refer to as sour cream? Traditionally, my great-grandparents who were farmers, made butter from this cream. And ghee from that. Yes, I am from India :-).

    This “buttermilk” is what was and is used to sour pancake batter (our spiced version) when the batter was made from flours and not from soaked, ground, and fermented lentil-grain mixtures.

    I don’t know how they prepared rice to eat. I know that they gave the wash water to cattle because it is healthy for them. No idea what the basis of that is. If it was soaked per WAP, reusing a small amount of soak water from the previous soak, perhaps because it has high phytase activity? Can cattle digest phytates?

    [Reply]

  26. Brandi says

    I tried the sour cream and the buttermilk this past week. I used store bought whole milk and pasteurized cream from the store. I used the packets from CFH. The buttermilk didn’t do anything. The milk still looked the same as when I started. The cream did turn thick on the top so I thought it turned out well. I put it in the fridge and went to use some today and it smells rancid, or like spoiled milk. Is this normal?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Very strange. It should have a different smell, but it shouldn’t smell spoiled. I suppose that could be a result of using store bought milk, but that doesn’t seem typical. Super frustrating!

    [Reply]

  27. says

    I am in the process of making kerfir and have some buttermilk I would like to use to make kerfir from grains. Does this work? Also making a batch of water kerfir so wish me luck.

    I saw a video with large kerfir grain (globlets) at the bottom of the jar but so far my jar only has thick milk and very very small globlets.

    Am I doing it right?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    I’m not sure about making kefir from buttermilk, but you can try it! Yes, I think it sounds like you are making your kefir correctly – I bet the thick milk is turning in to kefir!

    [Reply]

  28. Jamie says

    I have to say that my interaction with CfH has been wonderful to date. I’m about to order their “heritage BM starter”

    (HAHA just read what I wrote in light of potty training *Snicker)

    Anyhoo I think their prices are right on and the live chat feature on their website is super helpful!

    [Reply]

  29. Becky says

    I have read through a lot of this thread and it is late so I skipped to the end to ask a question. If the question has already been answered I apologize but it is kinda late and I need to go to bed (I’m babysitting a very energetic 4 year old tomorrow. LOL) My question is this: WHAT IS KEFIR?? I know what buttermilk, sour cream, and yoghurt are but what is kefir and what do you do with it? I really want to get my hands on some starters for all this stuff but not before I know what kefir is! It may just be that it is late and I have officially gone a bit crazy but it is seriously driving me nuts that I have never even heard of kefir until Laura’s site! P.S. I will NEVER make waffles without buttermilk again!!! Mine was store bought but I wanted to try it before deciding it was something my family will like. Gotta get me some more strangely named stuff for my kitchen to make my husband give me weird looks;) He doesn’t care if they are whole foods as long as they taste good! THANK YOU SOOOOO MUCH LAURA YOUR RECIPES ARE DELICIOUS!!!!!

    [Reply]

    crazywoman/Billie Reply:

    Sorry, I haven’t got an answer to your question. I was just thinking myself, that I really don’t know what it is either.
    I had never heard of kefir until about a year or so ago (maybe about the time I wrote the post way up above).
    I have never drank any, and like you, Becky, really don’t know much about it. I have been reading that it is good for you, because it is probiotic. I know it is cultured, and that’s pretty much it. So, I’m anxious to read answers to your question.

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    Kefir is similar to yogurt, but more “drinkable.” This link explains it well: http://www.kefir.net/what-is-kefir/ My understanding is that it is even better for our digestive systems than yogurt!

    [Reply]

  30. Olivia G. says

    Cultures for Health has two starter cultures for buttermilk now… which one do you use to repeat batches??? I get raw cream and would like to make the sour cream you mentioned, went to buy the culture and didn’t know what to get. Thanks!!!

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    Use the one that is for both sour cream and buttermilk.

    [Reply]

  31. Juliana says

    HOW TO DRINK BUTTERMILK:

    Hi Laura,

    I am from Colombia and have been drinking Buttermilk all my life. Just put in the blender with sugar and cinnamon and blend. The result is a deliciously fresh and frothy drink.

    May you (and everyone else reading) enjoy!

    [Reply]

  32. Sarah M says

    I followed your instructions for soaking Giant Breakfast Cookies in buttermilk. When I baked them the next morning, they spread out and were very crumbly – almost like granola. I’m not sure what happened…

    [Reply]

    LindseyforLaura@HHM Reply:

    I might try less buttermilk next time. Hopefully that will keep it from spreading. :)

    [Reply]

  33. Amanda Stokes says

    I guess I’m still confused. What is the difference between the buttermilk you are making and what is leftover from when I make butter?

    [Reply]

    Laura Reply:

    The buttermilk I make from cultures as described in this post turns out a very thick, cultured milk. The buttermilk leftover from making butter is thin and not cultured. They are both buttermilk – just different varieties!

    [Reply]

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