Monday, May 9, 2011

Pass the Butter Please

Butter! We all love it smeared on our toast, on top of our pancakes, on a good slice of bread, and on fresh sweet corn. My Uncle even named his dog Butter. But the real question is, what does homemade freshly whipped butter taste like?

A couple friends and I were determined to find out. Back in the day, butter took over a half hour to churn. Now we can simply go to the grocery store and pick up an easy pound off the shelf, which would be a miracle to the people of the past! Making butter from cream may not be for everyone in our modern times, but you'll be in for a real surprise if you give it a try! Homemade butter doesn't have that store bought taste, rather it is deliciously sweet and light and dangerously spreadable.

There are many ways to make homemade butter. I have a food processor, but you could also use a kitchen aid mixer. If you don't have these handy kitchen gadgets you could invest in an old time butter churn or be really simple and use a glass jar and marble. Be prepared to be shaking that jar for quite some time, however! With my high tech food processor it took nearly 8 minutes on a continuous speed before the butter separated from the whey resulting in buttermilk. If you are feeling adventurous, give the jar method a try. We already began thinking of creative ways to pass the time using this technique like shaking the jar to a catchy musical beat or passing the time while watching your favorite television show. Of course, we were laughing about these ideas while we watched the food processor do its magic.

The first time you make anything, the process will likely be slow. But that's because you're still learning! The same applies to making butter. After several attempts, I could see how this process would be faster. Making butter is an excellent thing to just know how to do as well as something you can make for special occasions. It will wow your guests for sure!

So how does one go about it? Buy some good heavy cream (about 2 cups). Let it come to room temperature. Mix the cream using your method of choice until butter forms and you can see a separation of fat from buttermilk. Strain and save the buttermilk. We each took a sip, it's delicious! Use it for baking. Rinse the butter in a bowl with cold water several times until the water isn't cloudy. Use a fine mesh strainer or cheese cloth to press the butter with a spatula to remove any excess water. This is an important step if you wish to keep your butter for a period of time. Any buttermilk left in the butter will cause it to sour. Once the butter is free of as much moisture as you can muster, an optional step is adding salt. For salted butter, mix in about 1/2 tsp of salt. At this point, you can add in herbs or roasted garlic to create a compound butter. Chive and nasturtium blossoms are beautiful options too! Store the butter in a covered container in the fridge or in a covered butter dish on your counter. Enjoy all week! Your butter will be too good, I don't think it will last any longer!

Learn more about homesteading every Monday. I'm participating in a weekly homestead blog barn hop aimed at getting those of us interested in the topic well connected to one another. Learn more about getting back to the basics by clicking on the barn hop logo!


  1. I have been buying raw milk for over a year now, and making my own butter every week. I use the jar method ~ no marble. Depending on how long I let the cream 'ripen' sometimes it only takes 8-10 minutes to shake it up! I am not using any electricity, it's good exercise and very rewarding to watch it turn from cream, to seeing that thick coating on the jar, and then suddenly ~ BUTTER! It is so good!
    Visiting from the Homestead Barn Hop!

  2. Wow, this is a fun post! I may try it but will definitely have to try the old fashion way because I have no fancy gadgets. It's amazing what things you can make for yourself if you're willing to put in a little extra time. Chances are it's healthier for you in the end, even if it is butter! Thanks for this great post!