Supermarket butter isn’t bland by accident; our dairy industry is rewarded for making the most flavorless product possible. Which is why this recipe for homemade cultured butter (ripped from the headlines of the New York Times) is such an exciting discovery.

Margaret Visser’s Much Depends on Dinner (1989) explains the USDA’s butter grading system. Not surprisingly flavor is far and away the most important characteristic. Although body, color, salt and fat content are all taken into consideration. The less intense the flavor, the higher the grade.

Grade AA is delicate with a fine aroma (yawn), Grade A’s flavor can be slightly acid, aged or bitter (sounds interesting), and Grade B brings on the malty, musty tastes of whey and the flavors of the animal’s feed (now we’re getting somewhere!).

Grade B butter is often made from sour cream, much like cultured butters of Europe. Letting the cream sour, i.e. ferment, giving it a tangy, almost nutty flavor.

No old timey churns needed here – your food processor handily proves its worth yet again.


4 c. fresh heavy cream
1/2 c. whole milk plain yogurt
1/4 t. fancy salt such as Himalayan Pink or French sel de mer
ice water 

In a large bowl whisk together the cream and yogurt until smooth.  Cover with a clean dishtowel and let sit out on the kitchen counter for 24 hours or so.

After a day, the cream will be puffy and thick.

Line a large sieve with two layers of cheesecloth.  Allow a generous amount of overhang all around.

Pour the thickened cream into the bowl of a food processor and run on high for 2 minutes or until the butter curds have separated out of the buttermilk.  The butter will look like yellowish cottage cheese.

Pour into the sieve, allowing the buttermilk to drip through.  Use a spatula to push the butter around to release as much buttermilk as possible.  Gather the butter up in the cheesecloth and form into a ball. Wring the butter well to squeeze out the remaining buttermilk.

Peel off the cheesecloth, scraping off any butter sticking to it, and put in a wide bowl.  Pour 1/3 cup of ice water over the butter in the bowl and using the spatula, wash the butter by stirring in the water.  Pour off the water and repeat the process five more times. The water will turn milky at first, but after repeated washings the water will run clear.

Fold in 1/4 t. fancy salt.  Pack into ramekins. Cover tightly with cling wrap. Store the the refrigerator. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Keeps a long time.

Makes 1 cup.   

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Written by on October 16, 2013 under ALL RECIPES, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Relish, Kitchen Gadgets, Sauces.

  • Lucy Selvaggio-Diaz

    This looks absolutely amazing. I am running out to the store for cream right now…

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