YOU WILL NEED:
- 2- 4 pints of good quality cream. Better
cream = Better Butter. A quart of cream will yield about a pound of
butter, give or take.
- 1 packet of our Buttermilk culture (Optional)
- Salt (Optional)
- A good thermometer
- A knife to cut the curds
- A spoon or ladle to stir the curds with
- A Blender, Food Processor, old fashioned
butter churn, or even a willing child ready to shake the jar full of
cream until the butter forms.
- A bowl to wash the butter in and a wooden or plastic spoon or spatula to press the butter during the final stage.
Note: Everything needs to be clean and sanitize
MAKING BUTTER IS SUPER EASY!
Essentially all you need is cream and a jar.
Of course you can make it in the mixer or the blender and here I usually
make it from ripened cream in the blender. Just pour the cream in, hit
the stir button and wait to hear the "chugging" sound. Start with the
cream at about 50-60 degrees to make butter. If its too warm, the butter
will be very soft and will be more difficult to rinse and knead later
on. If too cold, the fat will have difficulty consolidating. You can
start with fresh sweet cream or culture your own cream for more flavor.
CULTURING THE CREAM (optional):
Commercial culturing is a superficial
affair, so don't imagine any brand you have purchased is a model for
cultured butter. Industrial butter is cultured in a matter of hours. At
home, you can do much better. Unlike factories, you don't need to
consider the cost of waiting for cream to ripen. And that's the secret to making extraordinary butter.
Raw cream is naturally full of
desirable dairy bacteria and ferments and sours on its own, without the
addition of a bacterial culture. Fermentation by lactobacillus bacteria
changes the chemistry of cream, making its flavors more complex. Among
other changes, it produces lactic acid, making the cream less “sweet.”
Culturing helps make churned cream “break” faster into the two products
of butter making: butter and buttermilk.
To culture your pasteurized cream simply add a packet of our buttermilk culture
to a quart of cream (adjust proportionately if using more/less). Butter
cultures are “Mesophilic,” meaning the bacteria thrive in moderate
temperatures. “Thermophilic” yogurt cultures require higher temperatures
so are not so effective here.
Pasteurization kills all bacteria, even the
beneficial natives. So, if you were to let pasteurized cream just sour
naturally, you would be allowing any ambient bacteria that might be
lurking, without the natural defenses to control it and the milk would
Bring the cream to 68-70F (Do not let it
fall below 68F or above 78F), add the culture and keep covered and warm
for the next 6-12 hours. This will totally depend on how much character
you would like to see in your butter. Let your taste buds guide you on
After this ripening, the cream should be
noticeably thicker and have a well developed aroma (buttermilk culture
is often called an Aroma Culture). It should taste delicious, slightly
sour, and have no aftertaste. If the cream is bubbly, or smells "off",
yeasty or gassy, you have a contamination problem: throw the cream away!
The problem was probably caused by one of the following:
- The milk was contaminated with other bacteria that are not of the friendly dairy types.
- The area in which the butter has been made is contaminated with yeast from baking etc.
- The cream had been stored near other
items in the fridge that impart an oder that is not welcome in the
butter (onions, garlic, etc)
SEPARATING THE BUTTER:
- If using a jar: Fill your jar 25-50%
full of cream. The more cream you have in the jar the longer it takes to
form butter because there's less movement of the cream and that's what
makes the butter.
- If using a blender, food processor, or
mixer only fill 25-40% full (otherwise life will become messy). Turn it
on at a moderate speed and watch the cream change to thick cream and
then begin to separate.
I use my blender on "stir" here.
It really doesn't take long, between 10-20 minutes depending on,
cream, temperature, how long you let it ripen, and type of "churn."You will next notice the sound of the moving cream changing
as the cream turns from liquid to whipped cream. You will eventually
notice that it will "break" as the butter separates from the
buttermilk. As this happens, notice the color of the cream as well, it
will start to turn more and more yellow as the butter comes together. The butter will start clumping together.
RINSING THE BUTTER:
This part is super important- to keep the butter fresh. The
final butter may have some lactose and milk proteins remaining in the
liquid and if this is allowed to ferment, the butter may become rancid
in a short time. The washing and folding is what removes most of this.
Cultured butter lasts longer because this lactose has been mostly
fermented out to lactic acid. When the butter clumps well, pour the
liquid off (make sure you keep your buttermilk) and move the butter to a
bowl. Add some fresh cool water and rinse the butter by pressing and
folding in the bowl, do this two or three times until the water is just
about clear. Pour off the final rinse water and continue to knead with a
spoon until it forms a nice ball, you'll notice you'll be working water
out of the butter. If the butter is too soft, put in the fridge to
harden a bit before continuing. You can add salt to your butter as your
taste prefers during the final kneading. You will notice more liquid
coming off if you do. The butter you just made can now be pressed flat
or rolled into a ball and wrapped or pressed into a special butter mold
-for the esthetics. But first, cut your self a nice hunk of that great
bread you have in the pantry and smear a good sized portion of this
butter on and enjoy.
Is that a smile I see?
After reading through this somewhat lengthy history and
process of butter making you might be thinking, "Wow, I think Jim is
pushing the "cultured" butter thing!". Yes, Yes, and Yes again .. for
the little bit of extra work and the response I get from my friends who
really know food, I do prefer the cultured butter.
STORAGE OF BUTTER:
The Northern countries such as Ireland and Norway have been
found to seal their butter in wooden tubs and then bury them in the bogs
where it was cool and without air. Some of these are being found even
When migrants from Britain and other northern Europeans
cooler climates arrived in warmer countries such as America they
resorted to keeping butter down a well or in the "spring house" where
cold ground water and evaporation kept things cooler.
Today you can simply refrigerate the butter or for larger
batches you can freeze all of the butter that exceeds a few days'
Freezing butter does it no harm because butterfat crystallizes
at about 60F, so taking it from 35F in the refrigerator down to -20 in
the freezer does not change its texture.
Freezing butter will forestall the absorption of other flavors
from the refrigerator and keep the butter flavor much cleaner.
In really hot countries where butter is made in quantity,
like India, use clarified butter (ghee), with the last traces of water
and milk solids removed to help preservation. Finally clarified butter,
or ghee, is butter from which all milk solids have been removed through
cooking. The resulting product is clear, rather than opaque, and it can
be stored for longer periods of time than butter. Ghee is very popular
in India. This can be easily made by gently heating the butter and
allowing the solids to settle out while still warm. The clarified butter
can then be poured off of the solids. This will also not burn when
A NOTE ON BUTTER AND YOUR HEALTH:
From "Butter through the Ages":
"Scientists now know that,
except in rare individuals, dietary cholesterol does not influence blood
cholesterol, and fat from ruminants (animals that chew their cud)
contains valuable nutrients that maintain health and prevent disease.
It is important to remember that every cell in our body needs
fat, and that dietary fat is a cornerstone of good health. Our brain and
hormones rely on fat to function, and fat supports our immune system,
fights disease, and protects our liver. Fat promotes clear skin and
healthy hair, regulates our digestive system, and leaves us feeling
sated after a meal. Fat is the body’s preferred fuel, providing us with
more than twice the amount of energy as the same quantity of
carbohydrates and protein. It helps the body absorb nutrients, calcium,
and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
Fat and protein are found together in
nature because it's the fat that helps us digest the protein. So, it
makes good sense to eat a well-marbled steak, or a roast chicken with
crispy skin. Because fat is digested slowly, eating it leaves us sated
and less likely to snack between meals. When you eat a moderate amount
of good fat, you'll probably lose weight, but when you replace fat with
sugar and carbohydrates, you'll likely gain weight.
Humans have been eating butter and
animal fat a lot longer than they have been abstaining from them. Good
animal fat, like butter, plays an essential role in maintaining our
health, as do quality ingredients and moderate consumption"