Sunday, October 23, 2011

Homemade Butter!

Butter. It's one of those magical foods that's tastes so good you can forgive and forget the few extra calories it adds (okay, many - who's counting anyways?). There's nothing simpler, or more pleasing, than a slice of bread with butter spread across it - and let's not forget that cupcakes would be nowhere without butter!

If you can't tell I'm a fan of butter. A big fan. At my house we joke that bread is a "butter delivery system". So how could one possibly improve upon an already pleasing and versatile food like butter? Make it yourself.

While homemade butter might conjure images of bonnets, churns, and Little House on the Prairie, you have nothing to fear. Homemade butter is easier than you could ever imagine!

Butter is made from cream. Ever over whipped your cream for frosting and it turned grainy? Well you were on your way to making butter! You'll get about a 2:1 ratio when making butter. Meaning, 16oz of cream will make about 8oz of butter. (Also said, a pound of cream will make half a pound of butter.)

Now, it should be noted that butter can be whipped up in your food processor or stand mixer, but since I own neither of those, I made mine via shaking.

Things you'll need:
Elbow grease (or a partner or older child you can pawn the labor off on)
A jar with a secure lid (I used a mason jar)
Heavy cream (quantity up to you!)
A strainer or steady hand
A spatula or butter knife

Pour the cream into the jar and secure the lid tightly. This is where elbow grease comes in. You will need to shake the jar vigorously. For a while. Stick in there. This is a great chance to work out your biceps! (Or teach the value of hard work to the person you talked into shaking for you).

The amount of time you need to shake the jar depends on your strength; anywhere from 10-20 minutes. After a few minutes the jar will start to feel dense and heavy. You will no longer be able to feel the cream move from top to bottom. It will almost feel like shaking a solid object; very brick like. Keep shaking.

The next stage you'll reach is whipped cream. Yes, it is possible to stop here and top some strawberries with this deliciousness, but if you're hoping for butter it's important to (say it with me) keep shaking.

After a few more minutes the whipped cream will start to separate and look sort of grainy. The curds will start to separate from the whey (Little Miss Muffet anyone?) and that grainy looking mass will start becoming more identifiable clumps. At this point you should see liquid in the jar as well. This is buttermilk! I personally kept shaking a bit past this point, just to be sure, but it's not necessary.

Place your strainer in the sink (or if you'd like to save the buttermilk for pancakes or the like, place the strainer over a bowl). Open your jar and and pour the entire contents into the strainer. In my case, my handsome boyfriend, who also made butter with me, didn't feel like getting the strainer out and just carefully tilted the lid in a manner that allowed him to pour out the liquid without dumping the butter curds into the sink.

In either case, once the buttermilk is removed from the jar, rinse the butter curds with a small amount of water and drain the water as well. This is to ensure you've removed all liquid. Then using the spatula or butter knife, scoop the butter curds into a container of your choosing. Use the spatula to smooth and press the curds together to create a nice buttery texture.

Note: you can add salt to your butter, but I prefer to leave my butter unsalted. We did try our butter on a piece of bread with a tiny bit of salt sprinkled on top and it was very tasty too!

Tada! Pat yourself on the back and let out a solid "HECK YES!". You've just made butter. Use on or in any product you like!

<3 Tanya!

1 comment:

  1. I've been shaking for an hour! Still stuck on whipped cream!