Wild and Lazy Fermentation

Fermentation Basics – Cultured Butter and Real Buttermilk


Fresh butter is chilled and about to be molded

Making cultured butter is as easy as making crème fraîche and getting your food processor dirty.  There.  I just gave you the recipe.

If you avoid saturated fat, I suggest you avert your eyes now.  Or maybe click over here to become so much smarter.  Or here to laugh for a while.  But don’t continue reading if you don’t want to know how to make something that will inevitably increase your saturated fat consumption by about 6000%.

Okay now that you know what you’re getting into, I’ll give you the scoop. Of butter. Rimshot. Crickets.  But really, this is easy.


1/2 recipe crème fraîche

1/2 t salt

1 c ice water


1. You just throw some crème fraîche or partially cultured crème fraîche into your food processor and turn it on.*

2.  Let it process for a few minutes (I go 4-6 minutes) until you can see rough butter chunks and some whitish liquid.  That liquid is the liquid gold we call buttermilk.

3.  Set a small, fine-mesh strainer or a strainer lined with fine-mesh cheesecloth over a bowl or jar and pour the contents of your food processor in.

4.  Push down on the butter with a spatula to get all possible liquid pushed through the strainer (don’t push so hard that the butter goes through, obviously).

5.  Once you have as much liquid as possible removed, pour the liquid off into a sealable container and stick it in the fridge.  You can use buttermilk for many things!

6.  Now, put your liquid-free butter back in your food processor, throw in a couple ice cubes or a few tablespoons of ice water. Blend again for a minute or two, until you see your butter chunks start to stick together.

Clockwise: needs a few more minutes, straining out the buttermilk, about to hit the fridge

7.  Strain out the liquid and discard.  That is butterwater, which is a word I made up just now, not buttermilk.  You could probably use it to make soup or as the liquid in your bread-baking if you wanted to.

8.  Repeat the processing of butter with ice water and straining 1 or two more times until your butter seems pretty much like unshaped butter. Add salt to taste (Less is more.  You can always salt it once it’s spread.) and run the processor again for 30 seconds to incorporate it.

9.  Take your solid butter out of the processor, press it into some paper towel to remove any remaining surface water.  The better you’ve been about straining out the water, the longer your butter will last.  Form it into the shape you like, or press it into a small jar.  Wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge for a few hours or longer.  If you put it in a jar, you can put water over the top of it to keep the air away.

10.  Once it’s chilled, it is ready to use!  You did it!

11.  (optional) I like to make my butter into fun shapes.  Adds to the table decor at brunch!

This is my husband! I have a cookie cutter of his adorable head. This is the only context in which I would call him a butterface.

*If you do not have a food processor, you can also use a well sealed container and a child whose hands you want to keep busy.  Just make them shake it hard for as long as it takes to make solid butter.  It will take a long while, and the butter will be soft, but hey, you kept a kid occupied and buttered your bread.  Not a bad night’s work.

Note: This post was scheduled in advance.  I’m currently visiting the wonderful country of Peru and have limited access to wifi and my own electronic devices.  If you comment and it doesn’t post or I don’t respond immediately, I apologize.  I promise I’ll catch up with you when I’m back in the country!


  1. Posted November 28, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    That butter mold is too cute, although I must confess at first glance I thought it was suppose to be the bust of Lincoln. I love this recipe and can’t wait to make my own cultured butter! Hope you’re having a blast in Peru…

  2. seb
    Posted May 16, 2013 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    thanks for this one. I was looking for something like this.

  3. Amanda
    Posted May 17, 2013 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    My pleasure!

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  1. [...] Cultured Butter – Once you’ve eaten this stuff, the idea of buying regular ol’ butter seems absolutely crazy. [...]

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