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Homemade Butter

September 12, 2011

Butter.  Just the word makes me think of steaming hot homemade bread, waffles on a Saturday morning and corn on the cob on a summer night.  I don't know why it took me so long to attempt making this luscious dairy product, but I finally took the time and boy was it easy.

Saturday, armed with Ashley English's book "Home Dairy" from her Homemade Living series and 3 quarts of a rich flavorful cream from a local dairy {Battenkill Valley Creamery}, I was determined to give it a try.

I don't have a dairy thermometer, so the first step of bringing the cream to 72 degrees F was accomplished by simply leaving it out for a few hours.  I'm not sure what temperature it actually was when I started, but it seemed to be fine.

I placed 1 quart of cream in the bowl of my food processor {you can also use a stand mixer} and turned it on.  Ashley writes that it takes between 6 and 9 minutes to go from cream to butter.  My food processor took 3 1/2 minutes.  I'm not sure if it's the food processor or the temperature of my cream that sped it up.

The photo above left is what a successful bowl of butter separated from the buttermilk looks like.  Next I strained off the buttermilk {saved for baking}.

After straining I rinsed the butter under cold water until the water ran clear.  The book states this takes several times of filling up the bowl and emptying.  I found this took quite a few times before it ran clear.  I followed the book exactly for my first batch, but on the second and third I began gathering {kneading} the butter while I rinsed and found this to work out very well.  It also seemed to cut out some of the water in the next step {below}.  At this stage, after the final rinse, salt is stirred in with a metal spoon if desired.

After the rinsing and adding salt, it's time to press out any remaining liquid from the butter.  The book suggests a pastry scraper or potato masher.  I don't have a pastry scraper so I tried the potato masher and did not like that, so I found an indoor grill cleaner that worked out very well.  It's small enough to maneuver and flexible for easy pressing.

I also found that putting a flexible cutting mat inside a cookie sheet caught any water that was there.  A paper towel was helpful for dabbing the board and the butter to soak up water.

Voila!  In about 15 minutes {not including the time it takes for the cream to come to temp.} you have homemade butter!  We immediately enjoyed some slathered on a piece of homemade Oatmeal and Honey Bread.

Each quart made about 1 1/2 cups of butter.  I use a butter crock on my counter so I chose to shape mine into rectangles and wrap in waxed paper to store in the refrigerator until time to use.  The extra I wrapped in waxed paper and then put into a freezer bag to store in the freezer.

A quick word about the buttermilk that you're left with.  This is not cultured buttermilk and, therefore, won't have the acidity and/or the tang.  If you choose to use it in recipes it should be used in place of milk, not cultured buttermilk.  I used some this weekend in waffles and replaced the baking soda {activated by the acidity in cultured buttermilk} with baking powder {activated without the acidity}.

I really enjoy all of Ashley's books in this series and can't wait to try more of her recipes and techniques.

I'm on to cultured butter next!

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