Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit

You betcha! I made butter! Now many of you, I'm sure, are thinking... "Oh, Heather, making butter is so easy, woman!" But no, see I made it.  I  - m   a  d  e  -   i  t ! Well, technically, I'm not lactating so the cow made it, but don't fight me on the semantics. I'm about to pass out from sheer amazement and don't have the energy for the struggle. I made butter!

And it was so easy!!! Of course the first time I tried, it failed. Typical. I had started out with skimmed cream from our latest gallon of whole milk from the dairy. Was the fat content not high enough? I'm not sure, but I didn't even get whipping cream let alone butter. Well, fiddle sticks!

So I went ahead and picked up some organic heavy whipping cream from the grocery for another try. I set my cream on the counter and let it warm to about 60-70 degrees, then poured it into my super-cool, ultra-mega mixer. Now, this is important - if you have a splatter guard on your mixer, USE IT! A few minutes on high and there was a serious struggle of will power to not eat the whip cream (just... let... it... go... a... bit... longer...). Pshew! At last, there were these beautiful little yellow globs filling the bottom of my mixer bowl. Ahh!  It's butter! It's butter! (You could visualize the butter dance I was doing in the kitchen, but I wouldn't recommend it). 

The next step was to separate the butter from the buttermilk. I set a bowl under a strainer and poured it all out (I'm saving the buttermilk for future pancakes). The buttermilk went to the fridge and the butter went back into the mixer bowl. I poured a little ice cold water on top of the butter and ran the mixer on high for a few seconds more, then poured off the excess water into the strainer again (not keeping the liquid this time). 

Almost done! I pressed down on the butter in the strainer with a spatula, squishing it around a bit to make sure I had all the liquid out. Finally, I put it in a nice container, mixed it up with just a bit of salt, and popped it in the fridge. Easy, cheesy!

The taste test? The homemade butter is sooooo super creamy and unimaginably fabulous on toast. Honestly though, I don't foresee it replacing commercial butter in our house. Maybe if I'd been able to make it from the cream off our local milk, it would make more sense. But since I have to buy the heavy cream from the grocery anyway, I might as well buy butter. Then again, for special occasions, fresh butter will definitely be on the menu. Pass those homemade bagels please.

Happy (and mindful) eating!

12 comments:

Jennifer (of Veg*n Cooking) said...

Congrats! I eat a vegan diet, so butter is out of the question, but to be honest, I would have assumed it to be an incredibly difficult process.

I'm so happy that it tasted good! Here's to homemade grub!

Green Bean said...

Way to go girl. Yum, yum. I do love me some homemade butter.

eco 'burban mom said...

Amazing!! I have often wondered if it was doable or just for the culinary wizards. As you know, I get annoyed about making cookies. Butter might just put me over the edge! And, don't you think a toasted bagel with butter is just as good as a 7 course meal in a 4 star restaurant?? I do...

blondeoverboard said...

i'd be willing to betcha that your "i made butter!" dance looked an awful lot like my "i made bread!" dance. the first time something came out of the oven looking, smelling and FINALLY tasting like bread you woulda thought i'd won the lotto. and fyi: buttermilk pancakes made with the buttermilk you got from making your own butter taste a little like victory

Heather @ SGF said...

jennifer - it was ridiculously easy (especially in the mixer) and took all of 10 minutes from start to finish. All it takes is heavy cream. I can't believe I've never done this before.

green bean - Me too, it turns out, although I think I may have put a little too much salt in it. It's a smidgeon strong. No one tells you how much salt to add :)

eco 'burban mom - I'm with you. I'll take a good bagel and butter over a fancy-smansy meal any day! You should totally try the butter. It was fun!

blondeoverboard - you know, I think you're right! The dances are strikingly similar. Maybe it's more of a "I can actually do something useful" dance :)

Melissa said...

I think whether or not you choose to make your own all the time is less important than the fact that you can do it if you want/need to - I think there's something very grounding about knowing what your food is and how it is made.

Heather @ SGF said...

Melissa - you are so right. Sometimes I get lost in trying to do EVERYTHING local that I miss the reason I started this challenge - to get more in touch with my food and become more self-sufficient. Just knowing how to make butter is a huge step. Thanks for the reminder!

Kathryn B. said...

Your post brought back a good memory from my grade school days. Every year, we would make homemade butter in class. Each kid would get a clean baby food jar with cream poured into it. Then we would have to shake it by hand until it turned into butter! (And it was tasty!) Imagine how long that took, though...it was probably a good way for the teacher to dissipate our youthful energy. It was fun, though!

Beany said...

I am not sure why butter making skills impress me. But they do. You're making a very good case for that ultra-mega mixer of yours. After our move I'll look into this more carefully.

Heather @ SGF said...

Kathryn - fun memory! When we visited our dairy a few weeks ago, they passed out mason jars with cream to the kids while they were talking farm-talk. VERY labor intensive, but totally cool!

Beany - honestly, this mixer rocks! My former self would just die at the idea that I would enjoy an appliance this much, but it does everything! Kneads dough, makes ice cream, churns butter, and of course all those other things mixers are supposed to do. It was certainly worth the expense (or the thank you points since technically we got the mixer for free). It makes things much easier and people say KitchenAid lasts forever.

Jenelle said...

CONGRATS!!! I was just thinking of making some and read about how to do it... not such an easy process as "add salt then shake in a jar." Well, Sand Creek sells 16oz of just cream to make butter and whipped cream out of. I believe Alyshia said it comes frozen. Wow, you are turning more domestic everyday ;-) jk

Heather @ SGF said...

Jenelle - I didn't think Sand Creek Farm sold heavy cream (don't they use it all for the ice cream and their own use?). It doesn't show up on their "farm products" list. I'll ask Alysha.