Can store-bought (i.e. pasteurized) cream be cultured at home for making cultured butter?

I've read several recipes for DIY butter which recommend letting your cream sit out at room temperature for a few hours or overnight.

The idea is to allow naturally occurring microbes in the cream to promote fermentation, in order to add complexity to the flavor of the cream and the resulting butter.

My question is: is this even possible with store-bought cream which has been pasteurized or "ultra pasteurized"? Do the microbes necessary for cultured cream survive this process?



Slow C. October 15, 2012
Start with pasteurized (rather than ultra, I'm assuming you can't get raw), look for one that does not have any other additives (such as carageenen) and inoculate with a pat of your favorite cultured butter. You are not likely to get exactly what you want the first time, but the butter should improve as you repeat the process over and over. Part of the charm of cultured butter is the individual characteristic of each batch, you can not duplicate the cultures or conditions of another country or climate, but your own will develop as you continue to cultivate it in your own kitchen. Cultures are also available online.

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ChefOno October 15, 2012

The end result of inoculating cream with yogurt may technically be called cultured butter but it won't produce the desired results. The bacteria in yogurt are completely different than those in cultured butter and will produce a much higher acid content and the compound acetaldehyde which gives yogurt its distinctive taste. Butter cultures produce a much lower level of acidity and the chemical diacetyl, the compound that literally defines butter's flavor.

Nozlee S. October 15, 2012
We published a how-to for this a few months ago!
ChefOno October 15, 2012

Pasteurization kills the bacteria that would cause the changes you've read about along with pathogenic bacteria such as Salmonella, E. coli, and Listeria. Commercial producers of cultured butter introduce specific strains of bacteria to pasteurized cream to safely and consistently obtain the desired results.

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