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How to make an endless supply of cultured buttermilk (Easiest Way EVER)

Do you use lots of buttermilk? If you do or if you plan on starting then this article was written specifically for you!!

We use lots and lots of buttermilk on a daily basis. We use it in baking, in soap making, cheese making, we use it to tenderize meats, for desserts so on and so forth.

I used to be able to run to the grocery store and pick up a quart in a pinch, but where I currently live buttermilk isn’t available, anywhere. I know that sounds crazy but its true. Thankfully making endless supplies of buttermilk isn’t very hard. Let me explain.

Buttermilk today is nothing more than cultured milk, unlike true buttermilk (which is a byproduct of making butter). The problem that I have found is that store bought buttermilk is generally pasteurized so all of those friendly bacteria that were once present are no longer there. So if we are going to be making buttermilk we need a bacterial culture.

What is a buttermilk starter culture?

A buttermilk starter culture is nothing more than small packet with a preselected collection of bacteria that when added to milk will produce a buttermilk style of product. For this process I always like to start off with a fresh culture for my initial batch of buttermilk. I get my buttermilk culture from the New England Cheese making Supply Company. With each order you will get 5 individual packs of buttermilk starter culture. Just be sure to keep the packs in the freezer till you need them. Once I have my culture all I need now is some fresh milk.

What type of milk should I use

When it comes to the milk you can use just about any type you want. Just make sure it’s not UHT (Ultra High Temperature) Milk. Other than that pretty much any milk will work. Personally I get regular pasteurized and homogenized cow’s milk for my buttermilk, but goat milk buttermilk is very good too.

How much milk should I use?

The amount of milk you use is completely dependent on your needs. If you use a lot of buttermilk I would start off with 1/2 gallon or even a gallon. If you only use a small amount of buttermilk I would start off with a quart. The great thing about making buttermilk though is that you can make it pretty quickly, so there’s no need to get crazy right out of the shoot.

Is making buttermilk easy?

There are lots of different tutorials on how to make buttermilk. Today I am going to share with you a method I’ve been using weekly for the last 6 years and it’s never failed me. So yes, I would say making buttermilk is pretty easy. With that being said the method I will be outlining is not the same as the package directions on the starter culture pack. I have found that I get the exact same results without having to worry about temperature, heating the milk, or special containers.

Step by Step instructions on How to Make Buttermilk

  1. Start off with a fresh packet of buttermilk starter culture and freshly bought milk
  2. Add the starter culture powder to the milk container, close the lid, and shake for 10 seconds
  3. Open the milk container’s lid a quarter turn to allow air exchange
  4. Place the milk container in the warmest room in your house for 12-24 hours (Ideal temp is 70f or higher)
  5. Once the milk has thickened up (like soft yoghurt) you can close the lid tightly and refrigerate your buttermilk

Making endless supplies of buttermilk

Once you have made live culture buttermilk you now have everything you need to make endless supplies of buttermilk. All you need to do is reserve a little bit of your previous batch of live cultured buttermilk and add it to fresh milk. My recommendation is to make fresh buttermilk at least once a week. This will keep the bacteria well fed, happy, and healthy.

If you wait 2 or 3 weeks before you make a new batch of buttermilk, the bacteria in your buttermilk will most likely be sluggish. This means they will not perform like they did in the beginning. So as long as you keep making a fresh batch at least once a week you will have buttermilk forever.

One thing to remember is that you don’t need to make huge batches either. Sometimes I’ll just make a cup a week so as to have fresh buttermilk constantly in the rotation. Here are my recommended doses for when you make buttermilk using a little bit from your previous batch.

For 1 cup of buttermilk – in a 1 cup container add 1 tablespoon of cultured buttermilk, then fill the rest up with milk
For 1 Pint of buttermilk – in a pint container add 2 tablespoons of cultured buttermilk then, fill the rest up with milk
For 1 Quart of buttermilk – in a quart container add 1/4 cup of cultured buttermilk, then fill the rest up with milk
For 1 Gallon of buttermilk – in a 1 gallon container add 1 cup of cultured buttermilk, then fill the rest up with milk

Once you’ve combined the cultured buttermilk with your fresh milk, cover the container, shake it, then loosen the cover by 1/4 turn. Place the container in the warmest area of your home and let it sit undisturbed for 12-24 hours. Do this every 7 days and you’ll never buy buttermilk again. 😁

Can you freeze buttermilk?

YES!! That’s the best part. If you feel overwhelmed and you want to take a break from buttermilk, all you have to do freeze it. When you are ready to use it just thaw it in the refrigerator and start your buttermilk production again. The longer it’s frozen the less potent it becomes so try and use it within 4 weeks.

Enjoy the video tutorial I made outlining this process. If you have any questions feel free to reach out..

19 thoughts on “How to make an endless supply of cultured buttermilk (Easiest Way EVER)”

  1. My dad was a north Texas farm boy. He loved buttermilk & would make quite a production of drinking it. One of his favorite snacks was to crumble leftover cornbread into a tall glass of buttermilk & eat it with a spoon.

  2. Hello Eric,

    First of all, I love your YouTube channel! I’ve made some nice home sausages and now turning to cheesemaking. I purchased the starter culture from New England Cheese Making supply Co., added one packet to a fresh gallon of whole milk just bought at the local grocery store last night. This morning, after about 16+ hours at room temperature in our kitchen (71 deg F) I see no thickening of the buttermilk. I will give it the full 24 hours to develop but if I don’t see any change in consistency should I continue to leave it at room temp or refrigerate?

    1. Hey Bob. Thanks. Leave it out for another day. Sometimes the culture is slow to act but trust me when I tell you that as soon as it gets going it’s pretty fast.. Let me know what happens tomorrow morning..

    2. No worries – by ~23 + hours the buttermilk had the proper consistency and tasted wonderful! “Patience is a virtue”

  3. Love your website.😍 Was going on here for the salami, but got detoured onto the buttermilk. I just wanted to know if you can use raw milk instead? And most of the time I receive raw milk every two weeks, will it still be effective? Thank you so much! Keep up the great videos!! You make everything look simple to do. My husband and I love that!

      1. I want to say “Thank you for replying.” I haven’t made it yet, but when I do, you will be the first to know. 😃 Thanks again!!!!!

  4. I am a buttermilk addict. I prefer it over milk. My question is after watching your video, the finished product looks much thicker than commercial cultured buttermilk. I am looking for a drinkable consistency, not super thick. Can that be manipulated?

    1. Yogurt cultures are usually thermophilic so they would require hotter temps to ferment properly. You would need a mesophilic culture. Kefir works great!!

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