This post is part of series on different ways to use, transform and preserve fresh milk. Main article here.
Here, I am referring to cultured buttermilk, not the leftover liquid from churning butter. My buttermilk isn’t as thick as strained yogurt or kefir. I use it mostly for fresh cheese recipes (farmer’s cheese, pot cheese), in baking recipes and as a long term preservation strategy.
You’ll need an heirloom buttermilk culture. They’re easy enough to find online or from a friend. Buttermilk from the store may or may not successfully culture your milk. Making buttermilk is a great way to use up excess milk and to preserve it for many months.
I often use buttermilk and kefir interchangeably in recipes. Maintaining a buttermilk culture is significantly easier than keeping kefir grains. I’ve let mine go for months unfed in the fridge and it still cultures fresh milk well.
This is one of the easiest ferments you can do. Respect the ratio of 1 Tbs of buttermilk to one cup of fresh milk, up to half a gallon, and you can’t go wrong.
1 Tbs buttermilk per 1 cup of milk.
Leave at room temperature for 24-48 hrs. Start checking at the 24 hr mark. I use a glass mason jar with a lid.
You are looking for a change in thickness, smell, and taste.
Once your ferment has thickened and has a pleasant tang, its done. Refrigerate.
It will keep for six months, even longer. The flavor and texture diminishes over time. If there is any separation, shake the jar before use.
Remember to save some for your next batch.