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The common way for taking butter from milk is to shake the cream captured from milk. There is also a traditional way to shake yogurt to separate butter. However, I was unable to find any instruction for separating butter from yogurt.

Although, separating butter from high-fat cream is quite easy, but full separation of cream from milk at home is almost impossible. However, transferring milk to yogurt is quite easy. Therefore, there is an advantage for getting butter from yogurt (rather than cream), when the starting point is raw milk.

  1. Why this method is not popular? Is there any drawback for that?
  2. Where to find a practical instruction for this procedure? the best temperature? using Greek (heavy) yogurt or adding water to it?
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up vote 13 down vote accepted

I am skeptical that butter from yogurt is a thing.

When yogurt is made the milk proteins denature and form a mesh that traps all the large molecules in the milk. Water, sugar, and some small molecules can come out but the fat never does- it's huge and tightly bound up in the gel.

Even when yogurt is blended up the whey will separate out but the fat never does. I have a hard time believe that extricating the fat from that protein mesh will be easier than just letting it rise to the surface in milk.

Perhaps thoroughly cooking the yogurt would melt out the fat but you would still lose the rest of the milk solids and would have ghee.

With purchasable yogurt it would be even less feasible because it is often made from low-fat milk to begin with.


Searching online I was able to find Indian recipes for making butter from yogurt:
In this case they made yogurt from heavy cream. The goal was a cultured butter- not easier butter.

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very interesting information! – All Jul 31 '13 at 16:43
The point is well taken: European style butter is also made from cultured cream.... – SAJ14SAJ Jul 31 '13 at 16:47

The best butter is made from yoghurt. Besides you get a bonus which is ayran (watery yogurt). Making butter from milk is easy as told. But not tasty because the fat has milk taste. When you extract it from yogurt the butter has its pure taste. İ am from turkey and all the butter in the villages of turkey are made from yogurt. Shelf-stable products in markets are made from milk because of economy of scale. We buy the real butter from the village women in the town bazaars. Anyway, these are for your Turkey visit. But be aware of how real butter is made!

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This is the traditional Indian system as well. But you cannot get it in India, very nice you can get it in Turkey! – Amala Mar 9 '14 at 14:34

in rural turkey butter is made only from yogurt.add water to homemade naturel yogurt and mix it for some 10 15 will see first butter bubbles and then the butter clusters on the surface of ayran.seperate it with a spoon and wash with cool water to get it more pure and add some salt. when you smell and taste you will see it is much more different and tastier from milk made butter. add a spoon salty freshbbutter to the pot and cook it untill the salt in butter get coffe colour.and feel the smell.when you cook milk made butter it will smell bad because of the milk it has.

by the way..when you make yogurt at home the butter will condensate upper so you can seperate that part easily from yogurt and then dont have to mix all the yogurt.

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Are you really saying that mixing water into yogurt will cause fat to separate out of it? – Jefromi Aug 31 '14 at 16:42
I'm fascinated by this, and utterly clueless. I hope you come back to clarify. – Jolenealaska Aug 31 '14 at 18:23
sorry for my have to mix yogurt and water at least 10 minutes continiously. – ayhan Aug 31 '14 at 19:40
Very interesting! I'm going to have to try that. As far as your English, don't stress about it. This is an international site, we're used to language issues. Trust me on this one, your command of my language is far superior to my command of yours. – Jolenealaska Aug 31 '14 at 20:17
thank you jolene. – ayhan Aug 31 '14 at 20:34

Butter is made from yoghurt in Jordan as well. This is typical of countries with sheep milk, as the sheep fat does not rise to the top spontaneously as with cow milk and people have learnt to churn butter from soured milk -aka yoghurt in a hot climate. You add cold water or ice to bring the temperature of the churned yoghurt down. I have found however, that there is an ideal PH at which the yoghurt releases the fat more easily. if it is too thick sometimes it does not work. A ph of 4.6 seems ideal from my experience and a temperature no higher than 12 C. The butter is superb and the leftover sour skim yoghurt/milk can be the basis of so many other recipes.

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You can get butter from soured milk or soured cream, but this is not the same thing as yogurt. It uses different culture and fermentation techniques than making yogurt. In today's parlance, what you'd need is "buttermilk" (the original meaning is the whey left after making butter out of it, but today the complete soured milk is sold under the name, without the butter separated). But I am not sure that you can use store-bought buttermilk, it might be stabilized chemically and physically in ways which prevent the fat separation.

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I dunno, buttermilk seems to go bad pretty quickly once opened. I doubt it's stabilized. And bad butter milk does seem to separate into what looks like whey and butter. Of course I never did anything with it except down the drain, it might be interesting to try it in a controlled fashion. – Escoce Mar 15 at 14:43

Indian history says that Indian people made butter from curd (yogurt). Nowadays, in Western countries, butter is made from heavy cream.

But both method can be used to make butter.

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It is a natural way to do it without refrigeration because excess milk can be converted to yoghurt and then large batches made into butter and then ghee which can be stored for a long time. – Amala Mar 9 '14 at 14:34

Its not just an "in ancient times" thing. People still churn yogurt to make butter in India. And the great thing is, that you get awesome buttermilk as a byproduct. In fact when you see the traditional drawings of Lord Krishna as a child stealing butter - those stories all refer to yogurt being churned

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Yogurt is made from milk which has a fat content of 3.5-4.0 % only.

Cream has fat content of 30-35%.

You cannot extract butter from 3.5% of fat in yoghurt. That is bogus!

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No cow gives cream. Butter (noncultured) starts out as 4% milk too. – rumtscho Jun 15 '15 at 11:54

There is a huge difference between the Butter in west(from milk) and The one from East (from Yogurt)(India ,Pakistan Turkey etc) There are many advantages of Butter from Yogurt but I Will highlight only one and thats is the Bacteria Culture present in Butter which is separated from yogurt. Go search it yourself.

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Hi Farooq. Welcome to Seasoned Advice! What is it about the bacteria you mention that is advantageous? – Preston Fitzgerald Jun 21 '14 at 22:06

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