The following is a guest post from my dear friend Wardeh. If you’re not yet reading GNOWFGLINS then you should be as Wardeh is an unbelievable resource and a true inspiration.

With lots of cream around, I’ve got no choice but to make lots of butter! But I do have a choice about how often I make it — and I prefer to make it less often, in big batches and with less work. ;) That’s how I do most of my cooking. Call me lazy or call me industrious, but that’s my style.

My family’s Jersey cow — Gracie — gives us wonderfully creamy milk. Besides drinking it, I turn our milk into a gallon of kefir a day as well as frequent batches of cheese. And we still have plenty to share with friends, to make butter and to give to our chickens as a soy-free feed (I’ve got a video about that last item here).

I sour milk for the chickens and for our butter at the same time. Normally, people chill their fresh whole milk, then skim off the cream that rises to the top and finally culture the milk and cream separately. But you can culture your milk and cream very simply, all at the same time.

You can do this whether or not you have your own cow by leaving raw, whole milk out at room temperature to clabber. Clabber is raw milk that spontaneously cultures from the naturally present beneficial organisms. It happens in the refrigerator over the course of several weeks (sour milk, anyone?) or it happens in a day or two at room temperature.

If your milk is fresh from milking, like mine is, the cream rises to the top while the whole mixture cultures. If the cream has already risen to the top, the milk and cream will culture in their respective layers. In either case, when all is said and done, about two days later (depending on room temperature), the cream will be thickened into sour cream and the milk set up quite like yogurt. At this point, you can skim the cream off for cultured butter, and send the soured milk to the chickens or eat it yourself as it is quite delicious! You can watch my video about this process here.

My big batch butter method starts with this cultured cream, which I save up in the fridge until I have a gallon or two for making butter. If I had a cold cellar, I could store it there. While it is waiting for its oh-so-important task of becoming butter, we eat some as sour cream.

How to Make A Big Batch of Cultured Butter

 A quart of cream will yield about a pound of butter, give or take. I pretty much always use cultured cream, not only for the incredible sweet and sour complex flavors, but because cultured cream makes healthy probiotic, enzyme-rich butter. You can use sweet cream (or sour cream by your own method) to make a big batch of butter, too! By the way, here are instructions and pictures for making a smaller batch of butter in a food processor.

1. Fill a blender, food process or mixer bowl (or butter churn) half full with chilled cream. Don’t use an appliance (such as a Vita-Mix) that will warm up the cream. You’ll have to do multiple batches if the appliance bowl is small. In the pictures, I’m using my Bosch mixer with cookie paddles and its bowl fits a gallon of cream when filled halfway. Turn on to a low or moderate speed and mix until the cream passes through all stages on its way to butter solids.

2. Cream is whipped and fills the bowl. Now you know why you can only fill it halfway to start!

3. Cream is whipped with a coarse texture.

4. Butter solids are broken out of the mixture. Remove the butter solids to a large bowl, leaving the buttermilk behind. If the buttermilk is not stinky — as it can get when using very ripe cultured cream — you can use it for baking or soaking.

5. Wash the butter solids with cool water over and over and over, continually discarding the water and replenishing with fresh. If you make butter in small batches, you can wash the butter by pressing and folding it against the sides of the bowl with a wooden spoon. When the batch is large, it is just easier to use your hands.

6. When the water stays clear, you have clean butter. Drain the water and then keep using your hands (or the sides of the bowl) to press out any remaining water. Drain the water.

7. Mix in sea salt to taste. I use between 1/4 and 1/2 teaspoon per pound of butter. Salt is optional; it helps the butter keep longer and taste better.

8. Shape butter into logs (or use a butter mold) and wrap in natural wax paper. Keeps a few weeks in cold storage, or many months in the freezer. (I pop wrapped logs in freezer bags for the freezer.)

And that’s it. I hope you’ll give butter making a try, whether a large or small batch. If you’ve not yet had cultured butter, you’re in for a treat!

Thanks, Shannon, for letting me visit today. Your blog is a long-time favorite. I look forward to your updates about moving and thriving off off-grid!

And thanks to Wardeh for sharing this great post. Do any of you make cultured butter?


25 Responses to Making A Big Batch of Cultured Butter

  1. [...] at my friend Shannon’s Nourishing Days blog today, sharing how I make a big batch of cultured butter. How is this different than my cultured butter in the food processor? For one, it is a bigger [...]

  2. Denise says:

    Can you start with raw milk that is already a week or so old? Or should it be fresher than that? I’m in an anti-raw-milk state. I pick up 3gallons once a week, sometimes it is a day old, sometimes a few days old. Because it’s so challenging to access in the first place, I try to both make sure it lasts all week but also make sure that not a drop gets wasted. So on weeks when I still have a half-gallon left the night before a pick up could I clabber that milk that may be as old as 11 days at that point?


  3. Yes, you can, but… :) Older milk doesn’t make the best-tasting clabber. It will clabber, but it can taste bitter.


  4. I am a sucker for clear, explanatory posts with lots of pictures, and this really fits the bill. We haven’t had cream all summer. The cows in the desert get a bit stressed, so we have to do without until about this time of year in October when it finally cools off enough for them to produce cream again.

    I have only made homemade raw butter once, but it sure was fun. I need to try it again, and this time I will have your excellent tutorial to follow. Thanks, Wardeh! And thanks Shannon, for hosting!


  5. Jenny says:

    Seems like the water from rinsing could be used for something. Does it help the garden or animals? Thanks for the surprisingly easy process post! Never thought you could use a mixer!


  6. Jenny — You’re right! The rinsing water is great for compost or the garden. That’s what I usually do with it. My animals turn it down, though. :)


  7. Brandi O. says:

    You mentioned that you save up the cream in the fridge until you have enough for a big batch of butter…how long does the soured cream last in the fridge?


  8. Brandi — A few weeks at least. Seriously, I have made butter from cream that’s been stored 4 weeks. It does get “ripe” and strong the longer it goes, but off-flavors usually wash away with the buttermilk, leaving beautifully cultured butter behind.


  9. Morgan says:

    Man, that looks amazing!!! We don’t have the room for a cow but we have been thinking about getting a goat-just to get some raw milk. Is anyone familiar with the benefits of goat’s milk? Would goat butter be any good…haha, it sounds kind of strange to say goat butter so it makes me think it’s not to common ;)


  10. Lisa C says:

    I will never have that much cream to make butter with! We usually just drink the whole fresh milk or make kefir and then buy butter at the store…just because the milk is so expensive. But the other week I took some cream off the top of the milk and set it aside, thinking I might do something with it…it just went sour, so I thought, I guess I’m making cultured butter! But I didn’t know the cream is supposed to be chilled. I guess I’ve done it both ways. I was super lazy this last time and didn’t wash the butter (there wasn’t much of it anyway, like half a cup). I just left it in the jar and drained the buttermilk, and every time I got the butter out to use it, I just kept draining the buttermilk that had sunk to the bottom. Now that’s lazy, right? :D


  11. Marg says:

    Wardeh, how do you keep the butter from getting too soft working it with warm hands? Does the rinse water need to be ice water?


  12. BriAnna says:

    Cultured butter in this quantity is so beautiful!!! The pictures make me drool. I hope to have the option of doing this someday–right now it is actually cheaper to buy cultured butter than buy cream and make it at home.


  13. Mary Korte says:

    Have you ever tried making kefir sour cream to make the butter with? I did this and it was the best butter ever and the buttermilk was tasty too. I kefired it for about 40 hours, removed the culture and refrigerated it. I didn’t get back to it for a few days and then I used the mixer to make it into butter. It was some tasty ‘whipped cream’ along the way as well.
    I drank the buttermilk right away but so far the butter has kept in the fridge nicely. I did wash it but not really well because it was not very much butter as I only did a pint and we sampled often along the way. Anyway, it was a good experiment.


  14. Yolanda says:

    Would this work with fresh goat milk too? I am wondering because of course the cream rises more slowly.


  15. Barbara Grant says:

    Goat milk can be used for butter. And it is good. However,because not much cream will rise to the top, one must use a cream separator.


  16. Susan says:

    I thought possibly this could be done w/ store bought milk but from reading further, I see that this is only good for those who are living in an area that is zoned rural or rural/residential, (which I’m not) and have a cow or a goat.


  17. Thanks for your kind compliments, Kendahl. :) During the hottest part of the summer here in Oregon, our whole milk yield goes down and the cream ratio lessens, but not too drastically. The desert must be tough!


  18. Morgan, Yolanda — You’re both asking about making butter from goat’s milk. Goat milk’s cream doesn’t rise to the surface so readily as it is naturally homogenized (all the molecules are the same size so they stay all mixed up together); it will separate so if left (chilled) in a shallow pan for 4 to 5 days. Then you can skim off the cream and make butter with it, either before or after culturing. I wouldn’t leave it out at room temp to do this because it would take too long to rise and the milk very sour and probably moldy by then.

    Most people use a cream separator to get the cream out of goat’s milk.


  19. Mary — Yes, I have made butter from kefir cream. Isn’t it wonderful? :) I also use kefir cream or sour cream in ice cream instead of sweet cream to make it probiotic. Sour/kefir cream with chocolate is fantastic!


  20. Marg — My water isn’t ice cold but it is fairly cool tap water. It doesn’t warm up in the least. I change the water frequently to keep it all on the cool side.


  21. BriAnna — I hope someday you can try this yourself, but I certainly understand that buying cultured butter can be cheaper than purchasing the cream to make it yourself. I wouldn’t be doing or using this quantity if I didn’t have to keep up with Gracie (our cow). :)


  22. Susan — You can do this with store-bought cream (but not milk except if it is not homogenized), but you have to add a culture like a cheese culture or sour cream. If a cheese culture, use about 1/8 teaspoon per half gallon of cream. If using sour cream, add 1 tablespoon sour cream per cup of milk as a starter. Then culture the cream at room temperature for about a day, then chill it, then make butter. :)


  23. On using sour cream as starter, I meant use 1 T per cup of CREAM (not milk).


  24. [...] It is even better than frosting made from white sugar and “white” butter. (My butter is yellow, yellow, yellow.) [...]

  25. Carol says:

    I have a question. I bought Mountain Butter at a roadside stand. It tastes fine, but smells like Blue Cheese! Is this normal of homemade butter, or is it rancid?
    It was wrapped in plastic wrap, and sealed in a vaccumed bag. Have not thrown away yet, but hesitant to use.


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