Buttermilk & Sour Cream Direct Set Starter Culture

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Buttermilk and Sour Cream Starter Culture

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Make delicious, fresh-tasting buttermilk and sour cream at home with this direct-set starter culture. Freeze the remaining starter packets for later. No starter to maintain. Use Buttermilk and Sour Cream in a variety of recipes

  • Each box contains eight packets of starter culture.
  • Use 1 packet with 1-4 quarts milk or cream.
  • Instructions on making buttermilk and sour cream with this culture are included.
  • Cultures at room temperature, 74º-77ºF, no appliance required.
  • This culture is suitable for use with raw or pasteurized dairy milk, half and half, or cream.
  • Avoid ultra-pasteurized or UHT milk, half and half, or cream.


Ingredients: Milk, live active cultures (Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Lactococcus lactis biovar. diacetylactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris).

This product contains no GMO ingredients.


Shipping Information and Shelf-life:

Our Buttermilk and Sour Cream Starter Culture is shipped in a barrier-sealed packet as a freeze-dried culture in a dairy carrier. The starter is good

  • At room temperature (68° to 78°F): 3 to 4 weeks
  • In the refrigerator (40° to 45°F): 3 months
  • In the freezer (0° to 25°F): 12+ months


Allergen Information:

  • Contains dairy. 
  • Packaged in a facility that also manufactures products made with wheat, soy, eggs, nuts, and fish. 





Why I Love This Product

Sour cream is such a versatile condiment. This direct-set starter makes a smooth, fresh-tasting sour cream that is delicious with anything from fresh fruit to a savory taco salad. With this starter, I don't have to worry about maintaining a mother culture. I just start the culturing process the day before, and it's ready to eat with dinner the next night! Suzanne, Customer Support Representative



Questions on Buttermilk & Sour Cream Direct Set Starter Culture

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  • From nymie at 4/7/2011 1:22 PM
    • Is this product powdered or liquid? Does it need to be refrigerated?
    • It is shipped as a dehydrated powder, which is shelf stable. Refrigerate the culture if you won't be using it within a week or so of receiving it.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From leda at 4/11/2011 6:37 PM
    • Can this product be used to make cultured butter (first making the buttermilk, then separating milk from solids)? Also, how does the taste of this product differ from your other buttermilk starter?
    • This culture can be used with cream to make butter (first culture the cream then make the butter). In terms of taste, there aren't any significant differences. Primarily it's just the difference between having a culture powder you keep in the freezer (this product) and one that you keep going in the fridge (the heirloom culture we carry).
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Victoria at 3/26/2012 11:17 PM
    • How big is a batch of sour cream that can be made using one pkg of starter? Can culture be kept frozen? For how long?
    • The box contains eight packets. Each packet will culture 1-4 quarts of milk or cream. The unopened packets can be stored in the freezer for 12 months (fridge is just 3 months).
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Beth at 4/17/2012 8:27 PM
    • What is the difference between this starter culture and a yogurt or creme fraiche starter culture?
    • The starters are composed of different bacteria strains which contribute to each starter's individual characteristics. The Creme Fraiche starter also includes rennet.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Danielle at 12/6/2012 9:13 AM
    • The directions for sour cream first state to use light cream, then at the bottom heavy sour cream is mentioned. I only have access to one type of grass-fed, local cream and it is heavy. Will this work?
    • Yes, your heavy cream will be delicious cultured.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Nao at 2/13/2013 5:25 PM
    • Hi, I received the packets and wonder if the culture can continue for generations. Or do I need to buy another box of packets once I used all of it? (Is it same thing for Creme Fraiche as well?)
    • Our Direct-set starters (including this one and creme fraiche) need to be purchased again once they have run out. You can purchase an heirloom variety buttermilk starter that should re-culture indefinitely: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/buttermilk-starter-1.html
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Mary at 2/18/2013 7:21 PM
    • Just a quick question...How do you hold the milk at 185 for 30-60 minutes?
    • On the stove, a double boiler can work nicely for this. You don't want it to go over 185ºF, so it's better to keep it a little low than let it get too high. Some crockpots have precise temperature control, which allows you to set it and leave it.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From bonnie at 2/19/2013 9:18 AM
    • I have your buttermilk heirloom culture. I want to make sour cream. What do I do? I use raw milk and have raw cream.
    • If you have not activated the starter yet, please follow the instructions here: http://www.culturesforhealth.com/media/docs/Cultured_Buttermilk_Instructions.pdf To make sour cream, add 1 Tablespoon of your buttermilk starter per cup of cream, cover lightly and allow to culture for 12-18 hours in a warm spot (70°-77°F). When the culturing process is complete, place the sour cream in the fridge to cool.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Jennifer at 6/13/2013 8:19 PM
    • What is the purpose of heating (and holding) the cream at high temperatures before culturing? Is this step absolutely necessary? What would be the result if one skipped this step?
    • Heating and cooling the milk creates a neutral environment for the culture (kills competing bacteria in the milk), holding the temperature creates a beautiful, rich, thick, texture in the end product. If you are using raw milk, you may want to only heat the milk to 77° and use powdered milk for extra body. Non-heated or low-heated milk will produce a much thinner end product.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No
  • From Nidhi at 1/17/2014 6:52 PM
    • Does it contain Rennet? If yes then which one - Veg, microbial or non veg ?
    • This product contains just milk and live active cultures (Lactococcus lactis subsp. lactis, Lactococcus lactis subsp. cremoris, Lactococcus lactis biovar. diacetylactis and Leuconostoc mesenteroides subsp. cremoris)
      It does not contain any rennet.
    • Do you find this question helpful?  Yes   No

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Customer Reviews

Excellent sour cream Review by tad

Was so easy to make and delicious. Have made it twice so far. The only downside for me is I don't have access to raw cows milk or cream. I purchased organic heavy cream at a local Fresh Market. 2 pints cost $10. Ouch! But this is a nice special treat loaded with friendly bacteria.

Emailed to check on star ratings ~8/27 Sarah

(Posted on 8/27/2014)

Excellent quality, taste, performance, and easy to make Review by Candlefoot

I used the one-time use starter packet with organic whole milk (from Costco). The end product is delicious and very thick. The cost is one-half of purchased organic buttermilk, and the homemade one tastes better. I cultured mine in the oven with the light on. My end product was thick like sour cream (my oven read 80 degrees), because when I went to bed I couldn't open oven door to adjust temp. I used some on baked potato with chives. I made herb/Romano muffins and my husband said 2nd batch raised better, more moist, and more flavorful (usually he doesn't notice differences). Delicious, thick, flavorful. Can't wait to try it in pancakes, and cornbread. (I made four quarts from one packet.)

(Posted on 7/27/2014)

wonderful raw goat buttermilk Review by SW

I made buttermilk with raw goat milk and it came out beautifully, thick and tasty, unlike yogurt, which is a bit thin when made with goat milk instead of cows milk. The buttermilk is divine.

(Posted on 7/26/2014)

Excellent! Review by PaulR

Most delicious buttermilk I have ever tasted! Sour cream was started from the buttermilk, and it smells great so far. Can hardly wait to try it with raw milk and cream.

(Posted on 3/29/2014)

Great product! Review by Karen

I made both sour cream and buttermilk from this starter and both are fabulous! I have used buttermilk for years in pancakes, biscuits, etc but the results from the homemade are beyond expectation! I make the sour cream with light cream and buttermilk, and the buttermilk with non-fat milk and the last buttermilk. Easy to make and perpetuate, and the results are beyond belief!

(Posted on 3/18/2014)

Nice and Easy Review by bjtmoc

This product was really easy to use. I followed the instructions and bam - sour cream! It doesn't taste exactly like store-bought sour cream, but that's not a bad thing. It tasted great! Will definitely order again.

(Posted on 2/3/2014)

Delicious and easy! Review by Nettle

So simple. Yielded great result with our raw milk. Our milk is from 100% grass fed cows, which for some products doesn't yield great results. We've made both buttermilk and sour cream and are very satisfied.

(Posted on 1/10/2014)

Yummy sour cream Review by Jbb

I used this to make my first ever sour cream and was very pleased with how it turned out. My hat's off to Sarah in the support center. I didn't follow the directions exactly, but she bailed me out! Thank you!

(Posted on 12/28/2013)

Excellent buttermilk Review by Freebron

I made buttermilk beginning with very fresh raw whole milk. After following the instructions thoroughly I had the best tasting buttermilk ever. I was able to enjoy a small glass by itself and made excellent waffles with it too.

(Posted on 12/21/2013)

Awesome sour cream! Review by running duck

This made the BEST sour cream I've ever had. I thought the stuff from the store was good until we made this!!! So creamy and tangy :) Super easy to make too, we will never buy it from the store again.

(Posted on 11/25/2013)

Never buy store bought again! Review by Honeytiger

The only thing that may make this even more delicious is raw milk. But, since it is illegal to sell raw milk in Virginia, and we can't have cows or goats, I have to use organic store milk. That doesn't make the sour cream any less glorious! Once you taste home fermented, you'll never go back. AND, if you take care of your sour cream, you can keep it going .

(Posted on 11/16/2013)

I love this starter! Review by Trudi

Oh. My. Goodness. The buttermilk and sour cream made with this starter are absolutely delicious! We use raw milk, so it's even easier - just bring the milk to 77 degrees (it literally takes only 2-3 minutes), stir in the starter and that's it. I put it in a half gallon mason jar covered with cheesecloth, let it sit on the counter for the 16-18 hours, and when done pop put a lid on it and put it in the fridge. HIGHLY recommend!!

(Posted on 8/31/2013)

The buttermilk & Sour Cream Direct Set Starter Culture worked very good Review by Krishnan

We were highly satisfied with the taste of buttermilk made with your direct starter kit. Big Fans now. Will be re-ordering soon.

(Posted on 1/12/2013)

I'm never buying sour cream from the store again! Review by Ama

This is the easiest thing in the world to make, and the results are delicious. I heat up the milk and cool it down, stir in the starter, and let it sit in a thermos insulator for 18 to 24 hours. Thick, rich, tasty sour cream for less than half what I pay for it in the store.

(Posted on 4/16/2012)

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