It’s pretty obvious I like bread – scratch that, I love bread. Beer (a Lawnmower Lambic, in particular) is naturally the perfect thirst quencher after destroying half of a batard. However, my bread does not get consumed naked – it gets adorned with butter before being consumed. Most of us probably use butter or some other fat (cheese, olive oil, bacon drippings…) when eating toast or similar. I go between both butter and olive oil. Unless I have a snazzy bottle of EVOO (extra virgin olive oil), I tend to use butter – but found most store bought butter still needed some sprucing up with salt, pepper, saffron, etc. Enter the stronger flavor of cultured butter.
As you probably have read (or just recently did) I culture my own butter and churn it for pairing with my bread. If you didn’t read the link before, here it is again – it goes over how to make cultured butter. I’ll briefly review the steps here again. You’ll notice that the cream I used in the original post was locally sourced (pasteurized) 15 min from where I used to live in Portland, ME. I also had used “Siggis” yogurt to add my cultures. Siggis has several strains of lactobacillus in it, and is a really tasty product. This time, however, I decided to do a little exBUTTERiment (apologies to Brulosophy) and see if great cultured butter could be made from simpler, more affordable, store-bought cream and more widely available yogurt (although Siggis can be found many, many places.)
In this batch of butter I did several things. First, for my fat I used heavy cream from Costco. Nothing special, and most of you reading this probably have access to a big box store that sells heavy cream. For my “culturing” I used Tillamook plain yogurt – again, a pretty common yogurt you can find in most box stores that has some lacto in it as well. Just for kicks I also tossed in two capsules of some lactobacillus plantarum I had ordered from Amazon for beermaking. I used my method outlined on the previous page and ended up with two products.
I added a small dollop of yogurt to a half gallon of cream and let it sit at room temperature, covered with cheesecloth for 24 hours before churning half of the batch (about 1 quart). I let the other half sit for 72 hours before churning to give it more time to develop any additional flavors. Both were churned in my food processor, washed, then refrigerated. (**Don’t forget to save the runoff when you strain it – that stuff is buttermilk and is great for pancakes! See below!)
Here’s a video of the churning process. Feel free to skip through it, it takes almost two and a half minutes to separate to butter and buttermilk – But here’s the whole shebang. (Whipped cream is at 1:30ish, separation begins just after the 2:00 mark.)
Here we are after emptying the food processors contents into a strainer:
And the ice water washing (so as not to melt the butter):
I let them sit in the fridge to stabilize and snacked on them both with the fourteen loaves of bread I’ve made in the last two weeks. (Yes, one-four. I give a lot away.) Then I decided to do a side by side taste test to see if there were flavor differences between the two fermentation times and whether it really was worth the effort and mess when compared to store-bought standard butter. I tasted them both on bread as well as small amounts plain. All were sampled at room and refrigerator temperatures.
If you want to skip the notes below, the bottom line is I still think it’s worth culturing your own butter, even if you’re using generic ingredients from Costco. A big batch is pretty easy to do and freezes easily for long term enjoyment. While cream sourced from a local dairy is still my favorite, store-bought ingredients do seem to deliver more flavor than a standard block of butter.
As long as you don’t mind having to meticulously clean your food processor (or run it through your dishwasher), it’s a process worth repeating. Higher fat content and stronger butter flavors are a great treat and will easily “wow” your friends & family.
Notes on 24-Hour-Cultured, 72-Hour Cultured, and Standard (Std) Butters:
Directly out of the fridge they taste similar, although there is a slightly more complex flavor in the two cultured samples than the std.
At room temperature, I found the texture of the 24-hour to be my favorite. Light and fluffy, like whipped butter. It was a close call, but I also enjoyed the flavor of the 24 hour the best on bread as well as plain. It seemed to have the most “cultured” taste to it. Standard store bought butter was almost lifeless compared to both samples. The 24 had a lighter, “brighter” cultured flavor, whereas the 72-hour seemed harder to pick up on and more mellow. Both were obviously different than the store-bought, but it was hard to tell the difference between the 24 from the 72-hour versions when tasted side by side. I’m not convinced I could pick it out of a triangle test.
Hopefully you saved your buttermilk. If you did, you’re in for a treat. You can use it for waffles, pancakes, cakes, etc. My favorite lately has been pancakes. I got to experiment a lot recently with the large quantity of buttermilk I’ve had from the two batches of butter I made. Here’s a recipe I’ve been working on and am quite happy with. Nothing too unique, but they’re freaking delicious.
1 cup buttermilk
1/4 tsp vanilla (depending on taste)
1 tbsp butter or oil (don’t use evoo)
1 cup einkorn flour (or whole wheat)
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp sugar
All purpose flour (Anywhere from 0 to 1/4 cup. Add until batter is thick enough for the cakes you want.)
Notes: I mix the egg, banana, and buttermilk together in a blender to homogenize. Then pour into the dry ingredients. Mix it all up, but don’t overmix. Blueberries are a bonus. Cook on a cast iron skillet on medium. Top with your cultured butter and whatever else you like!