When I started sharing cheese and homemade dairy recipes and teaching workshops on making cheese last year, you learned how to use a simple starter to make yogurt and an acidic kitchen staple to make cheese. But to expand the range of dairy products and cheeses you make in your kitchen, you’ll need to become familiar with powdered starter.
These magical little packets of bacterial cultures do the same thing as yogurt and lemon juice: they acidify, or ripen, warm milk, letting the good bacteria grow. But the beauty of them is in their specificity. Each starter culture has particular strains of bacteria that create different flavors and textures from the same milk. The range of available cultures is impressive, and I recommend reading about them in Mary Karlin’s and Gianaclis Caldwell’s books to really understand how they work. Here, I’ll give a quick intro that will let you make and use cultured buttermilk.
Learn to make Cultured Buttermilk and Honey–Chili Buttermilk Biscuits