The last time I made butter, I took photos. Then life happened and they never got posted. For shame! So here it is, a tutorial on making your own butter. I have no idea if I do it “right”, but for what it is worth this is how it is done in our home.
- Good quality heavy cream
- Real Salt
A word about ingredients: My definition of good quality cream might differ from yours. My good quality cream is skimmed right off the top of my raw milk. I still have the twins drink whole milk so their jar does not get skimmed, the rest of us drink skimmed (not skim, though, as there is still a fair amount of fatty goodness swimming around in there.) If you do not have fresh cream like we do, try to find a quality cream that is not ultra-pasteurized.
So, here is my jar of cream, notice the little bit of milk that has separated to the bottom:
I pour my cream into my food processor. You do not need a specific amount to make butter, or even a food processor, blender, or even a mixer. A good old-fashioned glass jar with a tight fitting lid will work just fine….after about an hour of shaking. I often wonder how it would be to make with a butter churn. The food processor is much faster, not very “traditional”, but much faster. Learn from me, though, and do not ignore the liquid line on your appliance before turning it on. It will eventually make a mess.
Cream goes in, close the lid, start whirring.
After a bit, I open it up and see what it looks like. Need to keep pressing on though.
The next photo will show how it is starting to hold it’s shape. At this point add a bit of sweetener and you will have whipped cream. Take a taste if you like, it is tasty even without sweetening. So much better than store bought! Close it back up and keep whirring away, though, if your wanting butter. (This is the point that I realize I should not have ignored the liquid line in my fine appliance, cream was dribbling down the sides and who wants to waste it!)
After whirring awhile longer, the sound changes and the inside looks much different:
The butter fats have now separated out into butter and buttermilk. Time to slowly pour off as much buttermilk as I can and save it for pancakes in the morning. I usually put a strainer over a jar and then pour the butter (and bit of leftover buttermilk) into a big enough bowl to play around in.
Here’s where you get to play. You can see I have the butter in a bowl. I use the back of a spoon to start pressing down the butter, releasing the buttermilk within. I keep pressing and pouring off the milk. This takes some time and it takes some getting used to…well, it took me some getting used to. You might get to this point and be a whiz, I am not.
This is me pressing the milk out of the butter. My seven year old took this, she has better photography skills then me. Keep doing it until you think you have most, if not all, of the milk out. Now it’s time to wash the butter.
Pour some very cold water onto your butter and you’ll see it turn cloudy. Press the butter a bit and then pour off the water. Rinse and repeat. Keep at this until your water runs clear. Press and drain well so that your liquid is out of your butter.
See how there is no more liquid in there and look at that shiny counter! I must find that nice looking counter again under all those school supplies. I am also thinking, I might assign blog photo duty to the seven year old and give feeding the dog to the six year old. Ha! you can even see where I managed a taste of the whipped cream and wiped my finger on my shirt! Mental note: “start wearing great-grandma’s apron!”
That’s pretty much it. I usually divide mine up into portions that fit in my butter dish. The portion I plan on using right away gets salted to our liking and the rest gets wrapped and frozen. The buttermilk gets a lid on it and put into the fridge for pancakes, muffins, bread, or creamy salad dressing.
I try to save some of my unsalted butter from the spring and early summer for winter time. In the spring, the cows are eating the quickly growing, fresh spring grasses. In the winter they survive mostly on things such as alfalfa. The milk has a different taste to it and I am sure different nutrients. I know that fresh is best and assume that it is passed on to the cow’s milk. While we may not get those extra/different nutrients in our milk in the winter, it is my hope that we are able to get a bit in our butter.
There is less cream on our milk in the winter as well. With it being so cold, the cows need more of the fats and therefore produce less cream. On a really warm week you can tell because much more of the jar will be cream at the top. Perfect for butter or my girls’ favorite…ice cream! My grandma tells me when she was growing up that her siblings would rush to get the milk on winter mornings after the milk man came. The cream would freeze in the top of the jars forming a frozen disk. That bit of iced-cream (while not sweetened or flavored like we eat now) was a special treat to them.