Happy Cheese Makers Since 1978

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    This is a thick, old-fashioned New England Buttermilk which can be made with skim or whole milk.
    The amount of character (acid, flavor, texture) can be controlled by increasing or decreasing time and/or temperature.

    CULTURE INCLUDES: lactose, (LL) lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, (LLC) lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, (LLD) lactococcus lactis subsp. biovar diacetylactis, (LMC) leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris.

    YIELD: Each packet sets 1-2 quarts of milk and makes 1-2 quarts of buttermilk. We recommend using 1qt. If you would like to use 2qts, simply give it a little more time to set.

    DIRECTIONS: At 72ºF, sprinkle 1 packet onto your milk and let it rehydrate for 1-3 minutes. Stir in to dissolve and let set 12 to 24 hours.

    STORAGE: Keep packages in the freezer, they will last up to 2 years.

    DISCOUNTS: If you really love these you can buy 12 or more (5 packs) and you will receive our price break of $4.95 for each 5 pack.

    NOTE: Using our Yogotherm (E69) is a great way to incubate this culture. Your buttermilk will be thicker after it has cooled down. You may also use this culture in butter making.

    Make a Cream Cheese
    Better than you can buy !

    The recipe for this month will be another simple cheese to make in the kitchen. However, when I began researching this one in more detail I found a lot about this cheese that I did not know before.

    Cream cheese is similar to Neufchatel from France except that cream cheese has more butterfat - starting with a fat enriched milk of about 7-10%. When this has ripened and the whey drained, the final cheese will have a much higher butterfat content, depending on its final moisture.

    Cream cheese also has a fresh acidity, due to the dairy bacteria converting lactose to lactic acid. This helps to balance the rich flavors from the cream.

    However, if you are looking for a lighter cheese then you can easily make a leaner cheese by using less cream or a lower butterfat % cream (see my cream content chart here).

    Lowering the fat content of the cream too much tends increasingly to cause grainy texture and crumbly body, while increasing the fat content excessively tends to cause excessive smoothness and stickiness.

    Cream cheese was originally produced in the US in New York State during the late 1800’s. It originally acquired its association with “Philadelphia,” not because it was made there but because at that time “Phillie” was known as the home of top quality food.

    In the commercial process, because cream cheese has a higher fat content than other cheeses, and fat repels water, which tends to separate from the cheese, stabilizers such as guar, xanthan gum, and carob gums are added to prolong its shelf life. The commercial version tends to be essentially an industrial concoction of milk, enough cream to claim it's there and all sorts of gums and stabilizers to make it appear like what it isn't.

    Here is an ingredient list from the industry standard Philadelphia Brand Cream Cheese: Pasteurized Nonfat Milk, and Milkfat, Cheese Culture, Salt, Stabilizers (Xanthan Gum, and/or Carob Bean Gum, and/or Guar Gum).

    It is also cooked to much higher temperatures commercially to speed the process up. This is good for the producer's cash flow but not so good for the final product.

    Because we try to keep these additions from our food sources here, our process will not include anything but great milk and cream, a traditional dairy culture and a few drops of rennet.

    You will also find in the process instructions a rough guide for ripening and draining time, but more importantly, I have provided descriptions and visual cues to:

    1. Accommodate the differences in milk quality as well as milk/cream content.
    2. Allow you to produce exactly the style of cream cheese you want

    A recipe for making your own cream cheese .....

    ...In the style that best suits your taste.

    Before you begin:

    You will need:

    • 1 gallon of whole milk (3.25%). Make sure this is not ultra-pasturized, but homogenized is OK.
    • Plus 1 pint of heavy cream (36-40%)
    • Calcium chloride can be added for pasteurized cold stored milk and will help to form a firmer curd, using about 1/8-1/4 tsp per gallon of milk.
    • 1 packet of Ricki's Buttermilk culture, 1/8 tsp. of MM100 culture, or the same of Flora Danica
    • Liquid rennet (4-8 drops either animal or vegetable)
    • Salt - about 1 teaspoon (more can be added to suit your taste)
    • Herbs, etc. (optional and to your taste)
    • A large pot to hold 1.5-2 gallons of milk/cream
    • A good thermometer
    • A knife to cut the curds, and a spoon or ladle to stir the curds
    • Molds
    • A colander and butter muslin to drain the curds

    Note: You can cut this recipe in half by using 1/2 of all ingredients.

    Everything needs to be clean and sanitized.

    About the milk:

    The milk I have chosen to use here is a local milk, but it is also one of the milks that has been pasteurized at higher than normal temperatures (172F as opposed to 161F).

    I have selected this to use here because this is a milk that is becoming more and more common on store shelves.

    As you will see in the following photos this does form a very wonderful cream cheese with super flavor and texture.

    The cream is ultra-pasteurized, as you can see by the label here. This is not a problem, though, because the cream portion is just for the butterfat.
    The milk portion will provide the proteins for curd formation and should not be ultra-pasteurized.

    Some of our customers have tried using just half and half for their cream cheese but this often tends to be ultra-pasteurized and will not form a good solid curd since all of the proteins have been damaged in the process. If you do find half and half that is not ultra-pasteurized, that will work for a very rich cheese since it has a higher fat content than the recipe I provide. This may also be more difficult to drain since the butterfat holds the moisture.

    If you do have access to raw milk, you will find that you may need to use less culture and that your ripening times are less. Your curd may also be firmer and you may find that the cheese drains faster. If you pay attention to the ripening and draining cues in the following process, you should be well on track to making a great cheese from your raw milk.

    If you care to make up a different milk/fat ratio, this table may help

    Cream % Content in Dairy Products
    Heavy Whipping Cream
    Light Whipping Cream
    Light or Coffee Cream
    Single Cream
    Half and Half
    10.5% (10-18%)
    Sour Cream
    Whole Pasteurized milk

    Getting started:

    Pour the milk into your pot and slowly heat to 86F. Many recipes for this cheese suggest starting at room temperature, but the culture works best at 86F and I prefer to start it there. Happy culture always makes a better cheese. It is OK to allow the temperature to drop to room temperature over time.

    • Add 1/4 tsp calcium chloride solution and stir into the milk.
    • Add 1 packet of buttermilk culture (or 1/8 tsp of our MM100 culture). Allow this to rehydrate on the surface before stirring into the milk (keeps it from clumping). Note: Our C101 or MA011 cultures will not provide the added flavor from their ripening strains nor the lighter texture.
    • Add 4 drops of single strength rennet (animal or vegetable).

    Initial ripening:

    Cover the pot and set aside for ripening. The milk now needs to sit quiet for 12-24 hours while the culture works and the rennet coagulates the curd. It is OK if the temperature drops to a temperature of 68-72F. The thermal mass of this milk should keep it warm for a while though.

    This is where your natural flavor is developed from the complex strains of lactic bacteria as they convert the milk sugars (lactose) to lactic acid. These cultures will produce a buttery flavored compound (Diacetyl) which is a natural byproduct of fermentation. Also a small amount of tiny gas holes (CO2) will be formed causing a lighter texture in the final cheese.
    Note- Our C101 or MA011 cultures will not provide the added flavor from their ripening strains nor the lighter texture.

    The higher process temperatures and thickener additions of commercial producers are needed for their shorter process and do not allow the use of this longer beneficial ripening time (this is the flavor development time).

    Ripening may take 12-24 hours depending on the milk quality and room temperature. My conditions here show this ripening phase in about 14-16 hours but you should watch for the proper ripening of your own milk. I encourage you to watch for this final ripening phase as described below.

    This final ripening can be determined visually because when the proper amount of acid has been produced, you will notice first small droplets of whey forming on the surface, then these will collect as small pools and then finally a thin layer of whey will cover the entire surface.

    I usually determine the readiness by watching for small pools about 2-3” in size. You may also see the curd mass pull slightly away from the sides of the pot.

    If you have a pH meter, the proper ripe state will measure about 5.1-4.9 pH or a titrateable acidity of .5% but there is no need to get that technical here.

    Too long a ripening may result in an over acid cheese.

    Some acid production will continue during the draining stage so expect a bit more acid flavor while the whey drains off.

    Too short a time may result in a weak curd that may be hard to drain and may even run off through the cloth. Make sure the curd holds a good clean break when cut before transferring to the cloth for draining.

    Now for the draining:

    Once the final ripening of the milk has been reached, the curd mass should now be firm enough to be transferred with a slotted spoon to the draining cloth.

    Prepare a sanitized colander. You need either 1 large or 2 medium sized since this will be a lot of curd to be drained. Line this with a double layer of the butter muslin. Make sure you have a container to collect the whey in. This can be used for cooking, drinking, etc. but not for making ricotta due to high acid.

    Transfer the curd to the cloth for draining (be careful since this is quite fragile at this point and may break)

    Allow this to drain for 1-2 hours to release much of the whey- then pull all 4 corners of the cloth up and tie off with a string. Hang this in an area 68-74F to drain into a pot or sink for another 10-20 hours.

    During the draining time you should open the cloth every 3-4 hours and scrape the curd from the cloth- mixing the curds to encourage better whey drainage. If your schedule does not permit this it may just take longer to drain.
    Also, at the last mixing of the curds 1 tsp. salt can be added for flavor and to encourage the final whey release.

    The final draining time will depend on your preference for texture. The longer it drains, the drier and stiffer (less spreadable) the final cheese. I drain mine here about 16-20 hours for a nice firm cream cheese but still quite spreadable.

    If you find your cream cheese with too much moisture, then simply drain it a bit longer next time. Remember that warmer draining temperatures will drain moisture more quickly. Also, the rate of draining will depend on different milk qualities and higher fat milks will drain more slowly.

    Finishing the cream cheese:

    When the cheese has reached its final consistency, you can then use a spoon to blend it well in a bowl for a more homogenous cheese. This would be the time to add any herbs, spices, etc. and to adjust the salt to your taste. You may even use fresh herbs in this because it should all be eaten fresh within a few days.

    I transfer mine to small clean and sanitized plastic tubs with lids and store at fridge temps. Freshness is never a problem here because it's gone in just a few days. You should easily get 8-10 days or even more of storage for this cheese.

    My yield is normally about 1.5-2 pints of cream cheese from the original 5 pints of milk/cream.


    • If your curd is too soft at the end of the initial ripening time, wait a few more hours (up to another 4-6 hrs). If this does not help, try keeping the milk 3-5F warmer on the next try. Also, you can increase the rennet up to double the recommendation.
    • If your final cheese is too acid, then use less time in the initial ripening phase OR use a bit less culture.
    • If your final cheese is too dry, use less draining time in the cloth. If too moist use more.

    That's it for this month. Enjoy your new adventure in cheese making.


    Q. Does the buttermilk culture re-culture itself if you add some buttermilk to fresh milk?

    A. You can use our buttermilk to regenerate another batch by adding 1-2%(of the new milk volume) buttermilk to your fresh milk. This needs to be well maintained and not allowed to ripen excessively or to be cold stored too long before re-use. Also, this will be limited to a few generations because the culture consists of several strains that are balanced for optimum yield and flavor. At some point the balance will change and the result will not be the same.




    Description of Components


    X Wheat
    X Other Cereals containing gluten
    X Crustaceans
    X Eggs
    X Fish
    X Peanuts


    X Milk (including lactose)
    X Nuts
    X Celery
    X Mustard
    X Sesame Seeds
    X Sulphur Dioxide & Sulphits (> 10 mg/kg)
    X Lupin
    X Molluscs
    Based on 52 Reviews

    • Quality
    • Easy
    • excellent service
    From: Sturbridge

    It's sooo.. EASY!

    I am new to making my own Buttermilk. I bake artisan breads and goodies, using locally sourced products, including local milk & cream. I use A LOT of BUTTER MILK, - (cornbread, scones, and Irish Soda Breads) and wanted to make my own. When I discovered CheeseMaking I was very excited - when I realized how easy it was to make excellent quality, delicious BUTTER MILK I did my happy, happy dance. Thanks very much - one very happy customer who will be buying lots more BUTTER MILK culture!


    From: Vermont

    I was given some of this culture from the Flack Family Farm in Vermont--it is awesome! I ran out and Doug Flack gave me your website. Thanks for an amazing product.


    • price
    • quality
    • flavor
    • none
    From: Marietta, GA

    Very nice!

    I added a smidge to some Butterkäse and it really enhanced the flavor.


    From: Dublin, NH

    Best Buttermilk I Can Get

    The only cultured buttermilk without thickeners added which we could find was recently dropped by the last store carrying it (Southern NH). Your product, made with UP 2% milk is as good as any I've ever had. It is so easy to make, and it tastes great. Your instructions are perfect.


    From: Georgia


    This is real buttermilk, much more creamy and flavorful than the store bought "stuff" (being kind here).

    It reminds me of the buttermilk that country folk would pour over crumbled cornbread for a quick lunch, when I was a child.

    While I use it for that, I also freeze the buttermilk in pre-sized batches (3/4 cup) for making Southern cornbread (Great recipe on Cooks dot com). Much more flavorful, and no waste.

    Kudos on a GREAT product!


    From: Mendon NY

    A staple in my kitchen

    I am using the buttermilk culture a lot. Easy to use, works always.


    • Price was reasonable
    • Quality was Outstanding!
    From: Missouri

    Buttermilk from goats milk, Yeah!!!

    I love using buttermilk in cooking!

    How can you make fried chicken or biscuts without it?

    I tried using what i made as a starter culture to make more, It worked!

    I am in Buttermilk Heaven!!!


    • Easy to use
    • delicious flavor
    • None

    Best. Ever!

    I use buttermilk consistently for baking artisan bread. I live in a rural environment so it isn't always possible to have fresh buttermilk available when I get the urge to bake. Being able to make my own is wonderful. The results are consistently great. Tangy taste is wonderful. Lends just the right nuance of flavor to my favorite bread recipe . Wild Rice Onion Bread by Peter Reinhardt. Thanks, New England Cheesemaking!


    From: Atlanta


    We used to use otc buttermilk. It was always thin and excessively sour. We would make one pone of cornbread and throw the rest out... Expensive!

    This product made the creamiest buttermilk I have had since made at home as a child. It made the BEST Southern cornbread, and we froze what we would not use immediately.

    Wonderful addition to our kitchen!



    Best buttermilk And butter

    Awesome culture, dual purposed for making both cultured butter from cream and buttermilk from milk. So nice to enjoy both butter and buttermilk without the artificial stabilizers and fillers.


    • Flavour

    Great flavour

    I use this culture to make quark. I'm still working out some texture issues (since I'm obliged to use pasteurized milk), but the flavour is wonderfully addictive, slightly sour with some sweetness. It never takes me long to finish off a batch!


    From: Washington State

    I love buttermilk, and this culture makes the BEST! I also recently tried your "new" cream cheese recipe from the website using this starter, and it makes a delicious, tangy, substantial product. I like it even better than the one I usually make using a mesophilic cheese starter culture, as was called for in your original recipes for both uncooked- and cooked-curd cream cheese in "Cheesemaking Made Easy" (Carroll and Carroll) from 1982---a book that has been my guide and inspiration in this realm for many years.



    Easy and always around

    i love knowing where the milk for my buttermilk comes from (in my case it's the dairy down the road). It takes a little bit of for thought but no actual work. I love this product



    Buttermilk culture

    For several years, I have been making a few basic cheeses, occasionally experimenting with slight variations introduced on the website; however, I only recently started using the buttermilk culture. My husband is the pancake maker in our family, and he always insists on consistent ingredients. Soon after I had purchased the buttermilk culture, he was headed to town to buy some, I said, "I can make your buttermilk!". (I have a Nubian and a La Mancha milkers) After making it, he said, "this smells really good and has a good texture". I use the low-temp pasteurization method, when I don't just use raw milk, so I always feel better about the products I make and share. No more store-bought buttermilk!


    • Price
    • Quality
    • Quantity

    Got the packets a few days after ordering it. Haven't tasted the cheese I made with it yet, but it had a great scent to it and I expect that it will taste great. Definitely can't beat the price and you get a good amount as well with it.




    I didn't even think I liked buttermilk. I make the buttermilk in order to prepare cultured butter. The culture worked very well, the butter turned out well, and I can't believe how much I liked the buttermilk!


    From: Manchester, CT

    Great quality

    Perfectly balanced sour culture. This buttermilk culture is also versatile. Can be used in combination with other cultures to make some very tasty hard cheeses.



    Goat Buttermilk!

    I can't have cow's milk but can have goat's milk. This makes the best goat's milk buttermilk ever! I make it with fresh milk OR evaporated milk. I can have buttermilk pancakes without getting sick. Love, love, love this stuff!


    • High quality
    • Easy%20to%20make
    • Nutriitious
    From: Atlanta area

    Beautiful buttermilk

    Becoming unhappy with commercially produced buttermilk, I got some buttermilk culture from New England Cheesemaking Supply and made our own. The resulting biscuits were light and delicious as were the flapjacks. So not only is it a fabulous ingredient for cooking, but it's easy to make, as well. I shoulda tried it sooner, but from now on, homemade cultured buttermilk is our new staple.


    • Easy%20and%20great%20taste
    • none
    From: Virginia

    Perfect for Non-fat Buttermilk

    I love using this to make buttermilk with skim store-boought milk. I can never find non-fat buttermilk in stores so now I can make my own. My husband is the biscuit maker and he has to have plenty of buttermilk on hand. I use it for all kinds of baking and cooking as well. If I give the culture plenty of time and a little dry milk, I can make two quarts with one packet.


    • great%20flavor
    • none
    From: north central AR

    makes good ranch dressing

    I used the buttermilk culture to make the buttermilk for my garlic ranch dressing. It did a wonderful job. Love the dressing, love being able to use my own fresh raw cow's milk for yet another product.




    very good product.


    • ease%20of%20use%20and%20quality
    • none

    Very tasty and easy

    I use buttermilk often in baking and often find myself running out. I have found that making my own is easy, convenient, and tastes much better than the store bought stuff. The directios are easy to follow and I do recommend the yogotherm to hold a constant temperature for your best results.


    • thick
    • %20creamy%20texture
    • reliable
    • easy%20to%20use
    • quality
    • delicious
    • addicting
    From: Western N.Y.

    Fresh Cheese Curd from Buttermilk

    I purchased this Buttermilk culture after finding a recipe for fresh cheese curd which used it(via Gianaclis Caldwells blog). I have tested the recipe with both mesophilic cultured buttermilk and the buttermilk cultured buttermilk and definitely prefer the flavor of the actual buttermilk culture that comes through in the fresh curds. Lately fresh cheese curds have been my go to cheese making recipe!


    From: Alexandria

    Very good culture

    This culture can transform two gallons of milk in few hours to a long lasting buttermilk. Amazing taste and freshness.