Cultured Milk and Cream for Easy Ice Cream Making

Homemade Ice Cream

Summer is the perfect season to experiment with cultured frozen ice cream. Are you ready?

How about a classic dessert from India called Shrikhand: rich, creamy Greek yogurt streaked with golden, orangey saffron threads and studded with exotic fruits and nuts. Inspired by this dish, at one of my cheese making classes about two years ago, on a whim I froze the Greek yogurt in my trusty ice cream maker. It took only about 20 minutes for the velvety, almost soft ice cream to work its way to the top of the machine. Since yogurt definitely has a tang, it was different from the ice cream I usually make from raw milk and cream—but equally delicious.

I didn’t realize it at that time, but this was my first experience using cultured milk (my homemade Greek yogurt) to make a frozen dessert. I hear you saying frozen yogurt isn’t new, and you’re right. But you can also make really good tasting ice cream from other cultured products like kefir and buttermilk—and it’s easier than you think.

Here are three easy, satisfying desserts using cultured milk and cream, each highlighting a classic ice cream flavor: vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry. Make all three and serve up the nostalgia.

You’ll find all my techniques for making the cultured dairy ingredients called for in the following recipes—plus more dishes featuring cultured milk, cream, and cheese—in Udderly Cultured: The Art of Milk Fermentation. Start with the basics or skip straight to my recipe for luscious French vanilla ice cream!

Buttermilk Vanilla Ice Cream

2½ cups cultured buttermilk
1 cup fresh raw cream (if desired, leave out at room temperature for 6 hours to culture the cream)
½–¾ cups organic coconut sugar, or to taste
1 tablespoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Mix all ingredients in a medium bowl until the sugar dissolves.
  2. Place the mixture in your favorite ice cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  3. Serve soft right from the machine or freeze 5–6 hours.

Kefir Chocolate Ice Cream

2 eggs
½–¾ cups organic sugar, or to taste
2 cups thick kefir milk
1 cup kefir cream or 1 cup raw cream cultured with 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt and left at room temperature for 12 hours
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cold coffee (optional)
½–¾ cups organic unsweetened cocoa, or to taste


  1. Mix eggs and sugar with an electric beater until thick and creamy.
  2. Add the kefir milk and cream, then mix again.
  3. Add vanilla, cold coffee (if using), and cocoa.
  4. Pour the mixture into your ice cream maker for about 20–25 minutes.
  5. Serve immediately in tall parfait glasses for a custard-style soft ice cream, or freeze it for about 5 hours.

Strawberry Semifreddo

Semifreddo translates from the Italian as “half-cold.” Think of it as a delicious marriage between ice cream and frozen mousse. This continental style ice cream is rippled and streaked throughout with strawberries—very refreshing.

5½–6 cups sliced strawberries
⅔ cup plus 2 tablespoons organic coconut sugar
1¼ cups heavy whipping cream cultured with ¼ cup Greek yogurt (set aside for 12 hours)
5 large eggs
1 teaspoon orange or lemon extract
⅛ teaspoon lemon zest
Pinch of salt


  1. In a saucepan, mash strawberries with 2 tablespoons coconut sugar. Bring to a simmer. Reduce heat, stirring often until thick, about 15 minutes. Cool for 3 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Whip the heavy cream with the remaining sugar to soft peaks. Add the eggs one at a time. Mix only until incorporated.
  3. Add extract, zest, and salt.
  4. Slowly fold half the strawberry mixture into all the cream, then pack this mixture into your ice cream maker.
  5. Turn on the machine and process for 15 minutes.
  6. Turn off, then spoon and swirl the remaining strawberry mixture into the machine. Churn an additional 5–10 minutes.

Happy summer!
Chef Phyllis


To choose your organically grown and fresh ingredients wisely, use the following criteria:

  • chemical- and hormone-free meat
  • wild-caught fish
  • pasture-raised, organic eggs
  • whole, unrefined grains
  • virgin, unrefined, first-press organic oils
  • whole-food, unrefined sweeteners
  • pure, clean, spring water
  • sea salt
  • raw and/or cultured milk and cream products

Photo by Phyllis Quinn

Phyllis Quinn

Phyllis Quinn is a chef, food writer, and founder of Udderly Cultured, a class that teaches how to make homemade fresh mozzarella, butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other cultured products. Private lessons are available. For a reservation, call Phyllis at 970-221-5556 or email her at Rediscover nearly lost cooking methods and get one-of-a-kind recipes in her books The Slow Cook Gourmet and Udderly Cultured: The Art of Milk Fermentation.

Products by Phyllis Quinn

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