…asks reader Adam, who’s looking to make his own cultured butter. Great question, Adam. The difference is that one sounds more appetizing than the other. Practically speaking, they mean pretty much the same thing. But I’d hasten to add that if you’re planning to make your own cultured butter it’s always better to “spoil” your own milk or cream with a culture you know is safe rather than take a chance on a spoiled dairy product that’s inhabited by God-only-knows what. There are quite a few types of microbes capable of growing in milk or cream, and not all of them are harmless.
I’d suggest inoculating your cream it with a heavy dose of store-bought buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. A tablespoon or so per cup is usually enough to crowd out anything else that might consider making a go of it in the fermentation bowl. I should also add that once you’ve achieved your fermenting goal, you refrigerate the finished product again to discourage any adventurism by bugs from the wrong side of the tracks.
And of course, should anything you ever ferment give off a funky odor or exhibit a strange color (blue, green, pink), take no chances. Throw it out.