Traditionally buttermilk was leftover from churning butter. This buttermilk would have been made from raw milk, and thus would have naturally contained a sour lactic culture. These days raw milk is not so easily come by, so buttermilk is usually made with skim milk that is fermented with a mesophilic (room temperature loving) bacteria culture.
This means that it is REALLY easy to make buttermilk at home. The hardest part of making buttermilk is finding a good buttermilk culture to start with. In Ireland we used Cuinneog’s, and in British Columbia, we use Avalon’s buttermilk. You may have to experiment with a few different buttermilk brands to find something that will work for you. Alternatively, you can buy a packet of buttermilk culture online.
Buttermilk should taste sweet and cheesy when compared to yogurt and kefir. My children love to drink it straight. However, you can make thick buttermilk by following a yogurt heating process and cooling it to room temperature before culturing.
- ½ cup cultured buttermilk
- 2 cups milk (whole or skim)
- Mix buttermilk and milk in a clean glass jar.
- Screw on the lid and leave it somewhere warm for 4-12 hours.
- Store in the fridge.
- Try to re-culture within 2 weeks to keep the culture active.
-The first time you make your buttermilk, it may take a little longer to achieve a nice flavour. It will depend on the quality of your buttermilk culture. However, once you’ve established your culture, it should be relatively quick.
-Use buttermilk for fermented baking, making cottage cheese, or as a nice alternative to milk.