Joy the Baker

How to Make Butter

May 12, 2010

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.

Dear 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.

How to Make Butter

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.

How to Make Butter

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.

Love,

Joy

How to Make 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.

How to 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.

How to Make Butter

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!

How to Make Butter

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.

How to Make Butter

How to Make 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.

How to Make Butter

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.

How to Make Butter

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.

How to Make Butter


197 Comments Add A Comment

  • It’s nice to see that so many people make their own butter. Here in India it is a staple in the average household (we call it ‘makkhan’ or white butter) and its often preferred over the market variety. Plus it is much much better to cook with!

  • I used to do this yearly with preschool kids in a babyfood jar for each of them. Just takes a lot of shaking. One small lump of butter each. Yum!

  • I like the look of that butter! I love knowing what’s in my food, so this will make me happy.

  • I’ve never made my own butter before! It looks so easy too :)

  • we made homemade butter in science class once. it’s so good.

  • I bet back in the olden days, like last year, bakers had bad ass arm muscles from making this bad boy by hand. Thank god for modern technology!

  • Elisabeth, Greece May 12, 2010 at 4:32 am

    Really, how much butter did you end up with? It would be very useful to know. :)

  • Just to say you can make butter without a stand mixer – I have accidentally whipped cream too far by hand, and then proceeded to turn it into butter curds and milk. A good workout for sure!

  • that photo is too cute! nothing beats family, huh. (: and those butter looks gorgeous. If heavy cream wasn’t that expensive here, my home would be a butter churning factory

  • I’m not sure what excites me more, the homemade butter or the homemade buttermilk. I guess a spoonful of yogurt, plus a little stir and a little wait, will make this homemade cultured buttermilk?

    This means we can immediately use the buttermilk to make biscuits, and then promptly smother them with butter…?

    Your blog is always a delight to read, and to eat.

  • Those pictures are too sweet. I love making my own butter and adding cinnamon and honey. So delish!

  • Oh, my goodness! I always thought that butter was made from animal fat… well, I guess it is! This is more educating than anything else. What would you flavour your butter with??

    Wei-Wei

  • *mixer, of course. We do have many standing mixtures, quite often.

  • I’m so excited! My roommate and I have been planning to make butter for weeks! However, big question – we don’t have a standing mixture. We have (sadly) a jar that can be shaken and an immersion blender. What do you think?

    • I’ve done this in the classroom before using a jar. Just drop a clean glass marble into the jar to aid in the whipping process.

  • Wow, awesome. I honestly had no idea this was how butter’s made. :o Interesting. May have to try this someday.
    Also, cute photo of you and your sister. :)

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