How to Make Butter
We do have butter to talk about today, but first I hope you’ll indulge me in allowing me to write an open letter to my little sister Lauren.
This afternoon I found a card that you wrote me on January 1, 2000. That’s right. I found a ten year old thank you note from you.
Here it is.
You open the letter by saying “Happy New Year!” This seems sweet and appropriate. Well played.
Your next sentence gets slightly strange. You write “Would you be surprised to know that this card was painted by a kitten?… NO!… a very small kitten? …NO!… 10,000? 5,000? 10,000 kittens?”
To answer your question, dear sister… yes, I would be very surprised to find out that this card was paw painted by 10,00 small kittens. Yes. That would be weird. Also, I appreciate you liberal use of punctuation.
I also found this picture with the card. This is about the age you surpassed me in cuteness, as I seem to be rocking a girl mullet and no teeth. So… that happened.
I just thought I’d take this opportunity to remind you of how awesomely strange you are. And to let you know that you’re still way cuter than me too… but I have more teeth and less mullet now.
I love you sister. Go make some butter.
We’re making butter? Why on earth would we do that when it’s so neatly packaged in the grocery store? Well… because we can, that’s why. We’re taking a few cups of organic heavy whipping cream and turning it into gorgeous butter… because we can and we should.
You’ll need a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment for this sort of adventure. Ready? Let’s make butter.
When we make butter we’re agitating the fat in cream so much that we force the fat globules in the cream to separate from their liquid neighbors, and clump together to form butter. It’s like making whipped cream… times 10.
Start with two cups of organic heavy whipping cream in the bowl of a stand mixer fit with a whisk attachment. Turn the mixer on low and begin to work the cream. As the cream thickens, turn the mixer up to medium.
You will most likely recognize this stage of cream. Supe silky, stiff whipped cream. Don’t get distracted… we want butter not whipped cream. Keep mixing!
That is some gnarley looking whipped cream. Here you can see the fat globules starting to clump together to form a curdled looking cream. We’re halfway there. Keep that mixer on medium and watch science turn cream into butter.
After about 9 minutes of serious mixer action you might wonder if somehow you’ve messed something up. And then… you see clumpy curds in milky liquid. No no! This is a good sign! You might want to slow your mixer down a bit to prevent buttermilk from splashing all over everywhere.
Now is a great time to drain the butter curds from the liquid. Use a strainer and a mixing bowl and gently press some of the excess water out of the butter. Return the butter to the mixing bowl and whisk again on medium speed. You want to get as much of the water out as possible.
Once returned to the bowl for the second mixing, the butter really starts to come together. That’s some good lookin’ butter. Return to the strainer and press as much water out as possible.
** Here’s a note from reader Natalie. She seems to know what she’s talking about when it comes to this stage in butter making. Give it a rinse. I didn’t… but then again, I ate the whole thing in just a few days… Do. Not. Judge.**
My mother grew up on a farm and a trick that she taught me was that after you got all the excess water out if you will rinse it in ice water (I am talking about water that is so cold you can hardly keep your hands in it) and kneed it a little the water will normally turn cloudy and you can change the water once or twice until as you kneed the water stays clear. This way your butter will last longer in the fridge and wont get that sour milk smell. After that you can as salt or what ever you wish.
Now that you have butter, you can add all sorts of things to it. Start with 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt and add more to your taste. You might also like to throw in some fresh herbs. You’ll definitely need some fresh bread. Right away. Enjoy your butter. It will last for a week well wrapped in your fridge.