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Quark, sour cream, cultured cheese balls, cottage cheese & buttermilk—all from one starter culture.

I’ve found we prefer using buttermilk culture for most soaked-grain baked goods; the flavor and texture is superior to milk kefir. Cultured milk improves everything about baked goods, including digestibility.

Find a good-quality (local if possible) buttermilk, then use 1/4 cup per quart of milk. Inoculate fresh milk in a bottle or jar, leave on counter for about 24 hours. The culture works a little faster than simple clabbering, and the flavor is amazing for making cheddar cheese or sour cream!

To make sour cream, ad 1 tablespoon fresh (not aged) buttermilk to a pint of raw heavy cream. Our dairy sells a quart for $10; if you have a herd share, ask your farmer! If you use half cream and half milk, culturing the same way, this, strained for several hours becomes cream cheese.

If you strain the buttermilk through a cotton cloth, as you would for Greek yogurt, the thickened curds become a product called quark. If you add salt to the quark, and continue straining for another day, you will have a cultured raw soft cheese that can be shaped into balls, rolled in Italian seasoning, then marinated in olive oil as a wonderful cracker dip! This is best kept around 50 degrees rather than refrigerated, since the olive oil will harden and make extracting the balls difficult. 

Cottage cheese: scoop off cream and refrigerate, reserve. Inoculate, then culture milk (I would do at least a half gallon). Once cultured, warm to 100 degrees, allow to set a minute, then strain the whey off, add salt (1/2 tsp) and strain once more. Pour cream over curds and refrigerate.


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