Kefir milk – that is, milk cultured with “kefir grains” – is a yogurt-like food with many healthy probiotic strains of bacteria and yeast. For a more complete discussion of kefir grains, how to to obtain them and make milk kefir and other recipes, visit my post here.
Something less known about kefir grains (kefir milk, technically) is that it can be used to “culture” heavy cream, which means it causes the cream to ferment, becoming a bit like pudding in consistency. This is technically real sour cream and can be used as such, rich in probiotics and nutrients, unlike the fake stuff labeled as “sour cream” in the stores. From there, the fermented cream can be separated into butter and buttermilk. (And from buttermilk, you can make a world of delicious baked goods, like biscuits, pancakes, waffles, etc., if you’re so inclined!)
If you have not tried cultured butter, you’re in for a delicious, creamy, and probiotic treat!
This post will give the process for making kefir cultured butter but there may be other varieties of butter cultures posted here in the future. The processes are all very similar.
- 1 TBSP prepared milk kefir
- At least 1 pint heavy cream (all varieties from organic raw to ultra-pasteurized will work); if making more, the amount of milk kefir does not have to be increased. Suggested for first time: 3 pints heavy cream to make 9 oz. of butter and 12 oz. of buttermilk
1.) Place cream into mason jar, add the milk kefir, then cover with a paper towel and a rubber band (or the metal band). Leave at room temperature for 24 hours, or until thickens to the consistency of sour cream. (Note that since milk kefir separates into whey and “cheese,” it should be mixed back up evenly before culturing the heavy cream with it.)
2.) Once it’s thick and solid, cool in the fridge for a few hours or overnight.
3.) Place cultured cream into a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk and mix on medium speed. (For small quantities such as a pint of cultured cream, you could just keep it in the jar and use a hand mixer with only one whisk attached, shown here.) The cream will turn into a whipped cream at first.
4.) Keep mixing on medium speed until a grainy texture starts to appear. At this point, turn the mixer on low because the cream is about to separate into butter and liquid (i.e. buttermilk), and it will splash.
5.) Begin removing the milk/buttermilk contents and strain through a large, very fine mesh strainer into a bowl. The liquid is real buttermilk; it contains live & active cultures and is delicious. Reserve it and use for baking (e.g. pancakes, biscuits, waffles, french toast and more – recipes to come) or drink it in smoothies or even straight.
6.) Rinse the butter until the water no longer runs through milky. You can use a spoon to help squeeze. You may not be able to get every last bit out, but just do your best.
7.) Transfer butter to a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper.
8.) Spread the butter using a dough scraper, or a cake spatula. Fold it over itself and spread to squeeze out the remaining liquid. Then pour off the liquid. Repeat a few times. You may also pat dry with paper towel but don’t press too hard.
9.) For storage, roll the butter into a log or ball; you can store it in tupperware, mason jar, or butter dish (see link below).