How to Make Cultured Butter (and buttermilk) – European Butter

Cultured butter is made from cream that has been lightly fermented with live cultures. This fermenting process adds a light tangy taste to the butter. This post shows how to make cultured butter at home.

It’s easy to make cultured butter at home and it’s worth it too. The end result is a creamy, golden spread, perfect to eat over bread or used in baking. Making it yourself has an extra bonus too – the butter milk that’s expelled while the butter is churned. This tangy liquid is an amazing addition to baked good, adding tenderness and taste.

Love baking with butter? Learn about the differences temperature and texture makes!

Cultured butter on baking paper with wooden spoons in the background

The ingredients you’ll need for European butter

To make cultured butter, you’ll need heavy cream and fresh yogurt (unflavoured, with live cultures.) If you’ve got no yogurt, kefir yogurt or sour cream can be used too, just ensure what you use contains live cultures.

The addition of the cultures to the cream is to ferment the cream. This fermenting process increases the fat content in butter once it is churned, which creates a more ‘buttery’, rich result. It adds a lightly tangy flavour too, one that can be increased depending on how long you let the cream ferment.

The process

Fermenting

Pour cream into a bowl and add in yogurt. Stir it together, cover and leave it at room temperature to sit and do its thing. At least 36 hours, but it can be as long as 48 hours too.

I use the mixing bowl that I will be whipping the butter in later on, to save on dishes and because it comes with a lid to cover it.

a cup of yogurt being poured into cream
a bowl covered with a lid

Churning

Once the cream has fermented, it should smell lightly tangy. It may have formed a thick cream layer on the top, but don’t worry. This will all get mixed in.

Pop the bowl in your mixer stand. Alternatively, use a hand-held beater or pour the mixture into food processor. Start on low-medium speed, whisking until the cream thickens. This part can get a bit messy, especially as the butter starts to split from the buttermilk. If your mixer has a splash guard, use that.

The mixture will thicken, then become grainy. Keep on mixing and soon the yellow clumps of butter will form.

Whisked butter that has turned grainy
butter split from the buttermilk

Removing the buttermilk

Now the buttermilk must be poured off. Tip the mixture into a colander over a bowl to catch the milk.

Save the buttermilk in a jar in the fridge or the freezer to use later on.

buttermilk being poured off

Place the butter clumps back into the mixing bowl whisk it again, or use your hands to squeeze and knead the butter to remove more buttermilk.

Now rinse the remaining butter in the colander under cold water, then pop it into a bowl of ice cold water. Use your hands to squeeze and knead the butter to remove the remaining buttermilk.

Refresh the cold water and keep repeating this process until the water in the bowl is clean. Ensure the water stays cold through out this process by adding ice cubes as needed.

Butter block in a large glass bowl of cold water
two hands kneading butter in a bowl of cold water

Shaping and Salting the butter

If you’ve got wooden butter paddles, pop them in the freezer to cool. I use wooden spoons instead.

Place the butter on a clean bench. If you are working in a very warm environment, it’s helpful to work on a marble or stone board that can be chilled in the fridge or rubbed with ice blocks before using.

Salting the butter

If you want to add a bit of salt to the butter for flavour, weight the ball of butter first. Then, flatten it out on the bench and sprinkle over a little unrefined salt. Around 1.5% percent of the total butter weight.

Fold the butter over itself a few times to incorporate the salt. If the butter has warmed too much, place it in the fridge and let it chill.

salt being sprinkled on butter

Flattening the Butter

Now use, the cold butter paddles or wooden spoons to flatten and squash the butter, over and over again. This removes those last remaining drops of buttermilk.

At this point you can use the paddles or spoons to shape the butter into blocks. I don’t bother shaping. Instead I just put the butter onto some parchment paper and wrap it up tight.

The butter can also be portioned and frozen for later use.

two wooden spoons kneading butter to remove buttermilk
Butter rolled in paper

And that’s it! Now you get to enjoy your homemade butter.

Happy baking!

Have you made this cultured butter? Tag me and let me know! @home_grown_happinessnz

Homemade Cultured Butter (European-Style Butter)

Cultured butter is made from cream that has been lightly fermented with live cultures. This fermenting process adds a light tangy taste to the butter.

Prep Time 1 d 12 hrs 30 mins

Total Time 1 d 12 hrs 30 mins

Course Condiments

Cuisine European

Servings 10

Calories 176 kcal

Ingredients

  

  • 500 ml heavy cream
  • 50 grams unflavoured yogurt with live cultures
  • unrefined salt

Instructions

 

Salting the butter

  • If you want to add a bit of salt to the butter for flavour, weight the ball of butter first. Then, flatten it out on the bench and sprinkle over a little unrefined salt. Around 1.5% percent of the total butter weight.

    Fold the butter over itself a few times to incorporate the salt. If the butter has warmed too much, place it in the fridge and let it chill.

  • Now use, the cold butter paddles or wooden spoons to flatten and squash the butter, over and over again. This removes those last remaining drops of buttermilk.

  • Use paddles or spoons to shape the butter into blocks, or just put the butter onto some parchment paper and wrap it up tight.

    The butter can also be portioned and frozen for later use.

Nutrition

Calories: 176kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 1gFat: 19gSaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 69mgSodium: 21mgPotassium: 45mgSugar: 1gVitamin A: 735IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 39mg

Keyword Butter, Cultured, Fermented

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