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!
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.
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.
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:
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:
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.
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!