Category Archives: Food and Cooking

Butter Making Day!

Today is Butter Making day. Hubby and I are taking turns with the churn…that is TRUE Love I tell ya! But first, let me back up and take you through the entire process of how I make homemade butter.

First, here is a wonderful web site http://www.webexhibits.org/butter/index.html where you can read all about the history of butter making, learn how to make your own, and you can also find recipes for making butter, baking with butter and cooking with butter. There is also a recipe for making ghee (clarified butter).

I will give you my step by step pictorial version also. Butter can be made as Sweet Cream or Salted. Sweet Cream butter is made from unsalted, uncultured raw cream. I have focussed more on making cultured butter, as I am trying to introduce more healthy bacteria into our diets.

For the first Step, I buy Cream Top Whole Milk. To this I add Body Ecology’s Culture Starter. If you decide you wish to try adding good bacteria back into your diet, I highly suggest Cultures for Health in addition to Body Ecology as they have a full range of culturing mediums. Give them a try!

Cream Top Milk and Culture Medium

Next step is to separate the milk from the cream. Up until a few days ago, this was a difficult task, as the bottled milk had the cream at the top, but when I poured it our the cream stayed in the bottle. I tried different methods such as, shaking up the milk really well, and using a strainer to catch the cream as I poured it out. I tried using cheese cloth, which was very messy, and I tried shaking it well and pouring it into a different container, then scooping the cream off the top.

None of these were ideal. And then I found this awesome blog:  http://www.foodrenegade.com/ and on her blog she had this amazingly easy way to separate cream from milk.

Summer Beverage Dispenser aka Cream Separator!

I purchased mine from Wal*Mart, it is made from BPA Free plastic. Eventually I would like to find a glass one, but for now this will make butter making so much easier!

The next step is culturing your cream, pour cream into a saucepan, and heat milk to 98° F. Once milk is warm, add the packet of cultures into the cream and mix well. Then pour the cream into a glass container with a tight-fitting lid, or cover tightly with plastic wrap. Place in refrigerator for two to three days.

Culturing Cream

After the two to three-day  waiting period, you are ready to pull out the equipment and get busy! There are many ways to make butter, the old-fashioned wooden floor churn, a mason jar and a marble, a high-powered mixer with whips, a food processor, a blender, or a hand crank churn. We decided today we would use the hand crank churn. I have used my mixer, and while it got the job done, it was very messy. I will not always use this method, as it is a workout, but in my quest to learn the “old ways” of doing things I wanted the experience. It takes anywhere between 20 – 30 minutes to make butter with the hand crank. It is a chore that can easily be shared with children using this method. After doing some research I settled on this churn as it got really good reviews:

Paderno World Cuisine Fresh Butter Maker

I highly suggest refrigerating the paddle/crank assembly prior to churning, it helps keep the cream cold as you churn. The instructions were completely in French, so I only translated the bare minimum, and the rest was trial and error. Here is what the cream looked like after 10 minutes of churning:

Cream after 10 minutes of cranking

The cream/butter mixture will solidify even more and you will be left with almost no liquid. When you get to that point, you can stop churning and remove the top, and scoop out the butter.

Butter Squishing

Place the ball of butter in a cold water bath for a few minutes, then squish it around with your fingers, removing all the milk. Once the water turns cloudy, you can then place your butter into jars and perhaps a Butter Bell. As an added side benefit, you will not believe how soft your hands will be! If you like, once all milk has been expressed out of the butter, you can add salt, herbs, etc. to flavor your butter. Get creative! You can keep Cultured Butter two to three weeks in the refrigerator, if it lasts that long!

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Diet Redux

A Blessed good morning to all! In my journey to live healthier and more intentionally, I have been reading a lot about nutrition. And what I keep reading is this: the right foods can heal and prevent so many medical conditions that plague people these days. So after spending a few months researching nutrition, and talking to a very good friend of mine who is a Certified Holistic Health Coach, I decided to make changes. Anytime you make dietary changes for your family, it is a paradigm shift. And that shift can cause some issues. I happen to have a rather picky teenage eater still at home, and not all the changes have been welcomed with open arms by her. So my advice, make changes slowly if you make them, and give them time to get used to new foods.

When our society was mostly agrarian, we did not have as many health issues. People worked hard, played hard and ate whole foods. They ate whole raw milk, real butter, whole grains, fresh vegetables, fresh meats and cheese. If one lived on a coast and fished for a living, there was fresh fish. We ate what we raised or caught, or grew, or gathered. And we were healthy! Then our society changed, and more and more people moved from farms, women started working outside the home, and we opted for convenience instead of healthy. I am a guilty as anyone, after spending hours at work, when I was raising my four kids, I rarely felt inspired to cook. And there was little time to raise our own food.

We have made some major changes in our diet here in the last few months, including adding cultured vegetables, sprouted grains, sourdough breads, organic greens greens greens, and organic whole milk and real butter. We are also giving some new grains a try, including Buckwheat (which is not a wheat at all), Amaranth, Quinoa, and Millet. We will be adding Royal Butter Oil/Fermented Cod Liver Oil Blend to our supplement regimen, which include Vitamin D, Vitamin B Complex and Body Ecology Green Superfood.  My research also included learning to make things the “old way” by cooking from scratch. I am learning to make my own sourdough starter, butter, Kefir, buttermilk, stock, etc. I have been grinding my own grain for several years, and love the results! Recently, I purchased a food dehydrator, a good stock pot,  a butter churn and a pressure canner. It is an financial investment to purchase these items, they are not cheap, but they will last us for a long time. I have used all but the pressure canner so far, but am looking forward to canning what I am growing this summer!

This week I have made Sourdough starter and will be baking some rolls this afternoon using it. I also soaked and sprouted some Soft White Wheat berries and they are in the dehydrator as we speak, tomorrow they will be ground for flour. It is a process that takes a couple days, but it is well worth it as the nutritional value is high. The soaking and sprouting begins the enzymatic breakdown of the protein gluten and renders it more digestible. This is great for those of us who have an issue digesting some grains. See this reference on the nutritional information and uses for the different types of wheat:

http://www.somethingbetternaturalfoods.com/sitebuildercontent

/sitebuilderfiles/nutrition_grains_wheat_berries_soft_white_spring_og.pdf

I have recently purchased these “Handy Pantry Sprouting” wheat berries from Living Whole Foods, Inc., off www.amazon.com for sprouting then grinding to flour. I have tried both kinds and both sprouted perfectly!

Here is a pic of my now soaked and sprouted grains in the food dehydrator:

They will be ready tomorrow for grinding into flour. After trying some of these things the last few months. I am impressed with the process in making things from scratch. There is a feeling of comfort to it and a feeling of connection to my food I have not felt in a long time. I really believe food should not only feed your body, it should also feed your soul. Thanks for reading and Enjoy your day!