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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

How to Make Butter

Make Butter


1 Mixer
1 Quart of Heavy Cream


Step One – The Cream is Key

The first thing you’re going to need is cream. Fresh, organic if you can, raw or pasteurized cream (try to avoid ULTRA pasteurized cream), in whatever amount you wish. We have neighbors with a cow and we get 2 half gallon orders per week. From this cow, this month, we’re getting 2 cups of butter from 1/2 gallon of cream with a quart-ish (usually more depending on how good I am about collecting it) of buttermilk left over.
Dairy animals eat different things during the year and the nutrient content of their food, along with health of the animal, time of year, where they are in their lactation cycle and, possibly, which way the wind is blowing, all contribute to the cream content of the milk. Don’t worry too much about the hows and whys as you begin working with dairy products, just know that you’re not crazy or doing something wrong if your results aren’t consistent – do double check your recipes and routines but know that things change when you’re talking about live animals.

Step Two – The Container

If you’re using cream fresh from an animal, let your cream mellow in the fridge for a day or so.  someday I need to look up why exactly this makes the butter making process go quicker but for right now, just trust me.  Either way, make sure that your cream has come to room temperature – you do NOT want to try and make butter from cold cream.
Now you have a decision: do you want to put your cream into some kind of jar (like a Mason jar) and shake it out by hand, or do you want to put your cream into the bowl of your mixer?  (I really don’t suggest you try doing this with a hand mixer unless you have a very little cream and a very tall bowl because you’ll just end up wearing most of it.)  Both options have their pros and cons so let’s chat.

In a Stand Mixer

First, if you have the mixing collar for your KitchenAid (or whatever) AND you know where it is in your cabinets, this is probably the fastest option.
You simply put the cream in the bowl, affix the bowl and paddle attachment.  Then, put your mixing collar on WITH a kitchen towel over any open spaces that are left (or your eyebrows and backsplash will be creamy) and turn your mixer to high.

Watch carefully as your cream goes from liquid to whipped cream to a cottage cheese looking substance to where it thunks against the side of your bowl, spewing white liquid and, if you’re using cow cream, turning an impossibly gorgeous color of yellow.
Turn off you mixer, give thanks to God and marvel at what you’ve just done (you did just make BUTTER, after all).
The reason I rarely use my mixer is because I can hardly ever find my mixing collar. I usually do so much cream at once that I really need the collar because of how badly the cream splashes at that high speed.
Plus, there’s something very organic about personally shaking cream into butter.  Anyway, you’re ready to proceed to step three at this point so you can skip ahead, if you’d like.

Mix by Hand

Our Second option is the Mason jar method.
Well, ok, there’s actually a third option and that’s a butter churn.  There are some really cool mason jar churns, old wooden options and beautiful crock churns but companies seem to only want to sell them to people with money.  Someday I’ll buy one and let you know how it goes but until then, I’m cranking it out with elbow grease.
So, you want some clearance between the cream and the top of the jar (several inches) so that you can really build up some air pressure and wallop that cream.  Do several batches, if you have to, in order to make room in your jar.  Make sure your lid is screwed on tightly as you don’t want to end up with cream down your front.  Did that once.  Only once.
Now, here’s the hard part…shake it.  Really hard.
For 2 to 20 minutes, depending on your arm strength and the age of the cream.  Watch for the same process as described for mixer butter makers – liquid, whipped, cottage cheese, butter (when it thunks against your lid and turns bright yellow).
Congratulations!  Now finish the job…

Step Three – Strain out the “Buttermilk”

Get a mesh strainer and, if you want to save the buttermilk/whey, put it over a bowl so that you can dump the contents of your jar or bowl into it.  The buttermilk will drain into the bowl and the butter particles will stay in your strainer.
Rinse the contents of your strainer (the bits of butter should look like fine, yellow bread crumbs) with cold water to get out the rest of this butemilk-y whey.  If this whey-type liquid is left in your butter, it cause the butter to taste really ripe after a few days.  If you’re making butter with raw cream, this may be desirable to you because it will help the butter culture.
If you’re making butter with pasteurized cream, it will most likely just taste rancid.
Before you put your strainer back onto your bowl to work out the rest of the buttermilk, transfer the buttermilk in your bowl to a bottle to put in the fridge.  Make sure you label it with the date!

Step Four – Shape the Butter

Working in the strainer, whip the butter pieces together with a spoon.  This process smashes the particles together and also pushes out more liquid.  You can put your butter into a regular bowl and do this, too – either way is fine.
Press and press and reshape and press some more to work out more liquid; this stuff you don’t really need to save because it’s so watered down.
Once you’re satisfied the butter is dry enough, add 1/4 tsp salt (or to taste) per cup of butter and pack into some kind of container.  I like to find containers that have capacity I can measure evenly – like a ½ cup to a cup since those are the measurements we use most often when baking.

Step Five – The Reward

Now go eat it on something hot and yummy – toast, oatmeal, popcorn.  Oh, this makes the best popcorn butter!!

Or try mixing a cup of this butter with 3 TBLS (or to taste) of Grade A Maple Syrup and some raw hazelnuts in a really good blender and spoon that mixture into your oatmeal.
I love to include fresh herbs like basil and rosemary in my homemade herbal butter, of course.  My husband says I should add bacon, but he says that about most things.
Just a rich spread of this butter on your homemade bread will work wonders in your mouth.  Wow, am I hungry all of a sudden;
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