Monday, October 25, 2010

Home Cultured Butttermilk and Sour Cream

My first time in making cultured buttermilk and sour cream and they turned out. I'm thrilled. If you are like me, well, you are probably not like me but you might just be a bit hesitant like myself in wondering if your latest experiment will turn out or not. I think it's natural to question doing something without an experienced someone to guide you. That person, I've seldom found. Most people today are caught up in quick and easy and were seeing in the news where that has gotten us, an unsafe food supply. I myself am dependent on that supply but I'm moving away from it as fast as my time and learning curve allows. This adventure is one of those moves. And with the thrill still fresh, I'm going to share with you the process I underwent to create cultured buttermilk and cultured sour cream.

It's been said I'm a talented teacher. Few have offered to pay me for my great wisdom and talent so I have my doubts. People keep saying it though and some have even gone so far as to call me a walking encyclopedia. That's rather stretching the truth but I do credit my minimal talent at helping others to learn new things to my gift of making mistakes. You heard me, my gift of making mistakes. You see, I credit my ability to teach proficiency to the fact that I can tell you all the things not to do and what will happen if you do them. Some mistakes I've made so often I've figured out a way to fix it or use the mistake in a creative way. Yup, brilliance has nothing to do with my teaching ability and this time of making buttermilk and sour cream were no different.

So I'll tell it to you straight how I created buttermilk and sour cream. Did I follow the directions to the letter. Well... let's say almost. I got a little lost in the push to get as many things done as possible before the kids came back to stay. We have them five and a half days which includes six nights a week. You now understand my rush on those brief times I have to get things done without lots of little helping hands and interruptions. But maybe, I'd just better tell the story as I am in the middle of making a mouse and two cat costumes for Halloween. They need to be done by tomorrow night so I'd best get to telling you my story.
You who have been following this blog know. I think Chicory is udderly wonderful. Now don't groan at the pun, I'm serious. If you want to make cultured buttermilk and sour cream completely from scratch it has to start in the milking barn or shed as in my case. From my two year old I collected milk from three milkings.
Then since it had set in the refrigerator, I heated the milk and the I ran it through the milk separated. The cream that came through the first time is what the sour cream is made from. The instructions call for half and half or light cream. The rest of the cream I ran through again and saved it to add to home-made tomato soup that we had for lunch along with toasted cheese and ham sandwiches. The light cream that came out the milk side I then added some of the milk from the first separation equalling a quart and set it aside for buttermilk. You could just use whole milk and that is what I plan to do next time but this is what worked for me this time around.
And if you are saying but wait a minute, you didn't make butter. No, cultured buttermilk is not made from the liquid left over from making butter. Never have figured out why they call it buttermilk and I did briefly look into that. Then because I have three small children to raise, I put the quarts in the refrigerator until the next day as baths and bedtime routine took up the rest of my evening.
The next day since our daughter had the kids for the day, I pulled out the quarts and began to heat the cream and milk. While I mixed up some banana bread, and started on some coconut bread. Meanwhile, I was heating water to scald the quart jars to kill the bacteria that was sure to be lurking there. As the boiled water set in the quart jar, I discovered I'd turned on the wrong burner and though the milk was heating nicely the cream wasn't.
Problem fixed, I put the quick breads in the oven to bake and started on the chocolate chip cookies and as I looked up I discovered that the butter I was melting in the microwave was still there and not in the banana bread. So out came the banana bread that was now very warm and back into the mixing bowl it went with the butter. Problem was that the chocolate chips inside the batter were quite warm now and instead of remaining in the chip form they were now spreading through-out the batter along with the butter. Yup, I now had banana chocolate bread. Did it taste wonderful? Don't know yet as I put it into the freezer to save for this wild week of children's Halloween parties. But I must ask you to keep the secret, if you won't tell I won't and my family can just believe it was planned not one more of my oopses. I've gained quite a reputation that gets me razzed enough as it is. Who knows, we may just love it and I'll never tell.
But the oopses didn't stop there as while I'm caught up doing dishes and placing cookie dough on cookie sheets, the cream over heated since I'd turned it up a bit to try and caught up with the milk that was heating. Okay, it wasn't just that, I'd forgotten that the sour cream was to be heated to 86 and the milk to 195 F. What with all the projects going at once and my husband coming up the stairs every little while to show me how his latest knife order was coming I just got muddled. I'll have to show you after I've time to shoot photos of the knife. It is a woozier!
So with both the cream and the milk at 195 I turned off the burners on the stove and poured out the hot water in the quart jars and poured in the milk and cream. Just so you know 195 F is a hair before boiling point here at a little above 5000 feet elevation.
Letting them both sit on the counter a little while to cool, I finished the dishes and baked the cookies, then put them in cold water to cool more rapidly. Meanwhile, I cursed the coconut bread that was in the little loaf pans because it refused to come out in one piece. My husband then gave me a hard time because I didn't save those pieces for him to munch on and instead stuck them in the freezer to get them out of the way. So little counter space and so many projects going at once. Besides, I only keep my successes out on display. They don't take up as much room. LOL

When my cream and milk was near room temperature, I added the sour cream culture to the cream, and the buttermilk culture to the milk shaking the jar well. I questioned whether the sour cream would work but decided that it wasn't a disaster if it didn't as I had another culture.

With the boiling water in the jar and the heating the cream and milk, it was safe to bet that the culture that would be multiplying was the one I wanted, not some rogue one that might cause food poisoning or something I wouldn't want to keep culturing. These cultures I intend on breeding and continuing like you would sour dough.

I've read in a few blogs where people are just setting cream out overnight. I'm not comfortable with that method as I don't know what bacteria I'm multiplying. The caution probably comes from all the cheese making books I read and the few kinds of cheeses I do dabble in creating when time permits.

I didn't make the mistake of confusing what jar was what as I made sure and labeled them. I still don't know which sour dough starter in the refrigerator was stared from grapes and which one from potatoes. I've decided it isn't important enough to try and find where the people I got the starters from moved to.

The culture packets instructions say to0 leave the cultures in a warm room 12 to 15 hours.
Don't know that our kitchen is all that warm at night at 66F but by the next morning the cultures had thickened nicely. With a day in the refrigerator they set up even firmer.Even the sour cream did nicely. I did question if the sour cream would be very thick since goat yogurt is rather liquidy compared to cow yogurt.

I'm pleased to announce it is a lovely thick texture. The buttermilk is not as thick as the sour cream which is as I expected but not liquidy like I remember the kind from the store. Correct my memory if I'm wrong and it is thick.
The next day, I decided to take the sour cream and buttermilk in pancakes. The ones I typically use a touch of almond flavoring to spice up. This time, I didn't use the almond and found that it wasn't necessary, in fact the goat cream and goat buttermilk enriched the pancakes rounding out the flavor wonderfully. Next time, I'm going to add fresh ground wheat flour. All those years where I just substituted goat milk for buttermilk, I can see what I was missing. Buttermilk does indeed enrich a recipe. I just never wanted to buy it from the store. Now I don't have to.
Best of all, I know just what I'm getting, rich, healthy home grown goat milk.

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