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When the Damsel ponders things Grandma used to make from scratch, a few dairy items come to mind.

The sour cream we made, for example. There’s yogurt. There are also a few soft/farmer style cheeses we could learn. But in order to do that, there’s a couple of things to be clear on.

Some of these things require buttermilk, and apparently there’s two kinds of buttermilk. There’s “old-fashioned,” which is the liquid left over after making butter, and there’s “cultured,” which is something completely different. The Damsel is annoyed they named the cultured kind “buttermilk” because she is easily confused.

Okay, “buttermilk” sounds nicer than “milk left out on the counter until it’s thick and sour” but it’s still confusing.

The Damsel will go as far as to say if a recipe calls for buttermilk, they mean cultured buttermilk. But to make it more confusing, unless there is going to be microbial stuff going on, it doesn’t matter. So if you’re making something that will be baked or cooked, thereby killing said microbes, you could use either type–like in bread or chocolate cake.

But if you are trying to make anything that requires little organisms to grow, like the sour cream thing, it’s gotta be cultured buttermilk. And yes, you can make your own, but it takes some to make some, unless you have access to an unpasteurized milk-beast.

1. Put one part cultured buttermilk in a container, like a quart jar with a lid.

2. Add three parts fresh milk. It can be store bought, pastuerized, right out of the jug. It has no microbes yet, because the pasteurization killed them all, but you’re adding them by mixing in the cultured buttermilk. Bwahaha!

3. Shake or stir.

4. Countertop it. Wait 24 hours or so, but not longer than 36. If it isn’t thick like cream by 36 hours, your bugs were dead. Start over.

5. Refrigerate. It’ll keep well. But don’t use it all…save some back to start the next batch. You can create a never-ending supply of buttermilk throughout the years to come. Just knowing that makes you feel cozy inside, doesn’t it?

Fluffy pancakes will not be denied you.

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  • When I’ve made yogurt, I always used store-bought yogurt as a “starter.” I suppose I could use buttermilk, if I happened to have it on hand. Wonder how that would change the yogurt. Or if it would change it at all. Maybe I should experiment.

  • Minivanmaniac

    Do you have a use for excess mint in your buttermilk making process? How delicious would mint buttermilk be!

  • Miette

    I’m an “unpasteurized milk-beast”.
    Just saying…

  • Coming from a mother who was a compulsive hand-washer and rinsed out the sink with boiling water after cooking chicken, this post makes me nervous. Not that I won’t try it. I think my dad’s been drinking this stuff for years and at 81 he’s taking full care of my 78-year-old compulsive-hand-washer of a mother. Hmmm. Coincidence?

  • Janci

    Do you think you could do this with powdered milk? (I mean for adding to the pre-existing buttermilk starter of course.)

    I discovered powdered milk works for sourdough starters…so it should be about the same, right?

  • I love buttermilk in all kinds of baked goods–I had no idea you could make your own. how very cool. And what a fun blog. I feel so smart just reading through these posts. As for the quickbooks question you asked, I doubt I know the answer–I’m such an accounting idiot, but I will try šŸ™‚ [email protected]

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