When I figured out that all of my stomach distress was from lactose, I was pretty devastated. Dairy, especially butter, is one of the main flavors in many recipes. And I looove butter- buttered toast, brown butter blondies. and the list goes on.
Taking lactase pills is always an option, and I do use them often, but it makes eating far more expensive than I would like it to be. It’s frustrating having to worry about what is in each and every meal I eat. I kept my meals dairy-free for a while, but it is hard to get the right texture and flavor when baking with dairy substitutes.
I have looked into buying lactose-free butter, but I don’t have any local options, and shipping it to my house is far too expensive.
My husband encouraged me to find a way to be able to use actual butter instead of substitutes. I happened to stumble upon a video of how to make butter, and the gears started to turn. I had been adding two pills of lactase to a gallon of milk for a couple of weeks at this point. It was cheaper to have a whole gallon of DIY lactose-free milk and share it with my husband than to have a half-gallon of store-bought lactose-free milk for myself and a gallon of regular milk for my husband. (Do all husbands like milk that much?)
So I started to experiment. I added one or two lactase pills to a half-gallon of cream and let it sit for at least 24 hours in the fridge.
Then I churned it into butter and I didn’t have any… ahem… issues. It was wonderful to have real, creamy, delicious butter without the unwanted side effects.
The hard part about this recipe is knowing how much lactase to add. I am generally okay if I put one lactase pill into the half-gallon of cream, but other people who struggle more with lactose may need to add a couple more pills or a couple extra days in the fridge.
The buttermilk will thicken as it sits in the fridge, but I wouldn’t use it if it has clumps in it. I generally use the buttermilk the week that I make the butter to be safe. I really like making buttermilk biscuits to use it up.
Making lactose-free butter at home is wonderful and I recommend it- however- please, please take time to understand your body and how lactose-intolerant you are. Even though I would love to be able to tell you the exact amount of lactase to use in this recipe, it is truly up to you and your body. Please be safe!
I have been able to leave the cream in the fridge for up to a week before churning it into butter without any issues. I don’t know that I would let it sit for longer than that.
Smell something kind of sour while churning the cream? Don’t worry, that’s normal. My husband doesn’t like to be in the kitchen when I am making butter because of the smell.
The butter can last up to a month in the fridge and longer in the freezer. I wouldn’t leave the butter out on the counter. Making it at home makes it go bad sooner if you leave it out at room temperature.
Half-gallon of heavy whipping cream
1-4 lactase pills
Hand-Mixer, Stand-Mixer, or Whisk and Large Bowl
Silicone molds (Optional)
Place one to four lactase pills into the half-gallon of cream and shake it. Let it sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours and up to a week.
Whenever you are ready to churn the cream, put it in your mixer and let it churn for 20-45 minutes. It’s easy for me to let it do its own thing in my bosch, but you will want to keep an eye on it if you are using a kitchen aid or a hand mixer. Wipe down the sides of the bowl occassionaly to incorporate all of the cream together.
It will look like regular whipped cream after a couple of minutes. It will start to thicken and condense as you continue to whip it.
It will gradually take on a lovely light yellow color when it gets closer to being butter. But don’t stop there! Keep going until it completely separates into clumps of smooth yellow butter and watery buttermilk. The buttermilk you get from the store is different from the buttermilk you get from this process. It starts out watery and slowly thickens up in the fridge.
Once it is separated, set out your jar, seive, and funnel.
Slowly pour the buttermilk through the sieve, trying to keep too much butter from clogging up the sieve.
Once you have the majority of the buttermilk separated out, start taking clumps of the butter and putting them into a smaller separate bowl. Press the butter against the side of the bowl to press the remaining buttermilk out. As you press out the buttermilk, add it to the jar of buttermilk. Then rinse the butter with cold milk. The less buttermilk in the butter, the longer the butter will stay fresh. I generally split my batch of butter into 1/3 of salted butter and 2/3 of unsalted butter.
I just so happened to have these silicon pumpkin molds that perfectly hold 1/4 cups of butter! I like to measure the unsalted butter into 1/4 cup amounts because it’s easy to take it out of the freezer for recipes when I need it. I have also simply pressed the butter into a 1/4 measuring cup and scooped it out on to a baking tray. I generally let the butter on the tray sit in the freezer for fifteen minutes or until they are firm enough to play into a bag or container without mushing together. I had to wait a bit longer on the butter in the silicone molds so they would come out of the mold nicely.
And voila! You have your own lactose-free butter. Enjoy!