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Getting Cultured

Have you tried your hand at culturing dairy yet?  It’s really not as scary as it sounds.  Making my own buttermilk was seriously the easiest thing.  And it was so satisfying to do it myself and feel all self-sufficient and handy.  First I got some starter (you can get it from New England Cheesemaking Supply Co.) and since then have just been using a quarter cup or so of one batch to start the next.  The milk only needs to be in the low seventies to culture.  It’s really simple to just let it sit to warm up to room temperature if you keep the house warm, or warm it over the stove on low, then  mix in some already-cultured buttermilk and let it sit overnight.  The next morning you have delicious fresh buttermilk!  The culture I have must be really strong because the buttermilk comes out quite thick; I love it.  I’ve been using it in pancakes, to soak grains, in macaroni and cheese, and in this delicious Russian soup.  The soup recipe was from Nourishing Traditions.  And it was AMAZING!  We all loved it (even the little ones!) and it was chock full of good healthy enzymes.  It was a base of buttermilk, creme fraiche (both made at home from raw milk), some sauerkraut juice (Bubbies brand, so also with live cultures), fresh cucumbers, cooked shrimp and fresh dill.  I served it cold and it was SO delicious!  It would be a perfect fresh summer treat.  I’ll definitely be coming back to this recipe in the summer when we have cucumbers coming out our ears and the dill is growing waist high in the garden!

If you’re new to culturing buttermilk or yogurt are great places to start!  If you already culture, what are your favorite things to make?  I’ve been wanting to try more fermented drinks and more adventurous veggie cultures!

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