I made Homemade Butter!

March 21, 2010 at 1:43 pm 3 comments

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My mother-in-law sent me a wonderful book called “The Urban Homestead” by Kelly Coyne and Erik Knutzen.  It’s filled with many of the homesteading and self-reliant things I’d really like to include in our daily lives (using vinegar and baking soda for most of our cleaning chemicals, etc.).  I was reading a section on preserving things Friday night when I ran across a section on making butter.

When I think of making butter, I think of the images I saw in school books in grade school:  a quaker or farm person standing in a field with a huge wooden churn.  I had no idea how easy making butter is and that it can be done in a day or less in your kitchen with two ingredients.

The main part of making butter is buying heavy cream and leaving it out on the counter for 8 hours or so.  At around 11 p.m. last night, I suddenly remembered it was still on the counter.  It was late, but I had to know if I could really make butter.  I followed the last few steps in the process and lo and behold, I had butter!  Not some weird-textured, pseudo-butter. REAL BUTTER!

Paul and I tried some on the rolls I’d gotten earlier in the day at the farmer’s market.  He only spread a tiny bit on his piece of bread at first.  Then after the first bite, he loaded it on because yes, homemade butter is just that darn good!

It’s too easy (and fun) so I’ll share the process here.  Needless to say, I doubt we’ll buy butter ever again.  I will buy stick butter to use for baking (maybe).  But for everyday spread, this is it for us.  It’s probably a tiny bit cheaper to just buy cheap butter and it’s obviously a little more work, but there is immense satisfaction in not buying something you can easily do yourself (and do it better).

Step One: You will need one pint of heavy cream.  Any brand will do.  All heavy cream you buy in a store will be pasteurized, but you DO NOT want to buy Ultra-Pasteurized, sometimes called “UP”.  It is increasingly difficult to find cream that isn’t UP anymore.  Pour the cream into a Mason or Ball jar (quart-sized is best) and leave it sit on the counter for about 8 hours.  You’d like the room temperature to be between 50 degrees and 72 degrees.  The warmer the temp, the quicker the cream will separate.  So if . warm in your house (closer to 72 degrees) you may want to check it sooner.

Step Two: Churn your butter.  Churning butter at home means vigorously shaking the jar.  Do this pretty hard and constantly.  This is the part I raised an eyebrow to, thinking there was no way this was going to work (look, I had no idea what I was doing, okay?!).  I brought the jar in the living room and started shaking, thinking it was going to take an hour or more of shaking.  Wrong.  Less than 5 minutes into it I looked down when I heard the liquid sloshing around change and realized it had already separated.  Basically you’ll see watery liquid and a huge glob of butter.  I shook a little longer to make sure it was fully separated.

Step Three: Pour the liquid, which is REAL buttermilk that you can drink or use for baking, into another jar and store in the refrigerator.  Shift the remaining butter clump into a decent-sized bowl.  The butter at this point will be the consistency of whipped butter, pretty soft and creamy.  It will harden as it is chilled.

Step Four: Wash your butter.  Pour a small amount of ice-cold water onto your butter.  Using a large wooden spoon or stiff spatula, press as much liquid (the remaining buttermilk) out of the butter as possible.  Any buttermilk that remains is what will cause your butter to mold or expire within just a few days.  At this stage, the liquid will be white and rather opaque.  Drain the liquid from the bowl.  Repeat this step several times.

Step Five: Each time you repeat this process, the liquid will get clearer and clearer.  When your water is pretty much clear, your butter is ready for salting.

Step Six: Salting your butter will help to cure and preserve your butter, but it will also finish off the taste.  This is done strictly according to your taste buds.  I used natural sea salt (as I do for everything) and it really didn’t take much at all.  I sprinkled a small amount on the butter and used a tablespoon to fold and mix in the salt.  I added a little more and folded some more.  Paul and I tasted it at this point and decided it was perfect.  You could taste enough of the salt for flavor, but still have the delicate butter flavor.

Step Seven: We transferred the butter to, what else, but an old butter container I saved to reuse.  Refrigerate the butter overnight.  It really does harden into regular butter very quickly.

Step Eight: Enjoy!  Paul and I shared a roll to celebrate.  Seriously, this butter is so good, there just aren’t any words for it.


Entry filed under: Cooking & Kitchen Stuff, Urban Homesteading, Natural Parenting & Hippie DIY Stuff. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dr. Robert  |  March 26, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    I’d like to volunteer for quality assurance duty. I know that it is a rough job, and I hate to think about poor, poor Paul being the guinea pig for these dangerous, potentially delicious experiments. I’m just sayin’.

    It looks delicious, really, and nice job with the pictures and layout ~scribbles notes furiously~

  • 2. wickedwickedwitch  |  March 31, 2010 at 10:13 pm

    Super yum!

  • 3. Karin  |  October 11, 2010 at 3:01 pm

    I am going to have a go at the Homemade Butter! Thanks! And yes…i did buy the jelly roll at whipstitch not long ago. Thanks…i think it turned out just o.k….


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