A while back, my Costco branch switched to a non-cultured unsalted butter. Boring as heck. So I went back to making my own.
It's really easy, but it's far from cheap, and leaves you with a huge quantity of buttermilk, and unless you're into baking, it's hard to get your money's worth out of that lovely liquid--I know, I could drink it, but I don't need the extra calories.
But now I've found a way, and it's really worth it: I make ricotta out of it!
With an additional two quarts of milk, I get to use up all the buttermilk (two cups) from making butter with two quarts of cream. Easy to remember: Two, two, two!
To make the ricotta, I'm using this recipe from Epicurious. That gives you a very decent, milky-tasting ricotta using buttermilk as the acidic component. You can make it in five minutes by following these microwave directions on SeriousEats.
I could stop there, or I could save some of it au naturel for lasagna or ravioli, or even Italian cheesecake. And with the rest I could make what I call "Fake Boursin".
For the latter, after draining the ricotta and cooling it in the fridge, I stir it up with a fork, add a few tablespoons of sour cream (which I have set aside just before churning my cultured cream into butter), some salt, chopped parsley and chopped garlic. Refrigerate for a while to allow the flavours to blend. And voilà!
Next time I'm going to try a lemon-mint version; or maybe a cucumber-dill one, a hot paprika-cayenne version... I will also try plain coffee cream instead of sour cream. The idea is just to make the ricotta a bit creamier.