As you may or may not know, my latest food adventures have involved trying to turn milk into other things. So far, I have about a 50% success rate. My first attempt was cheese. I managed to screw that up royally. I misunderstood the directions and took way too much whey out. Oh, did you catch that? Ha ha. Anywheys, oh, look there I go again...I'll stop now. I get a little carried awhey with the cheese jokes. OKAY, I WILL REALLY STOP. So, I ended up with very hard, rubbery mozzarella that I probably could have bounced off my kitchen floor. Needless to say, I was a little discouraged.
This last weekend I tried my hand at making butter. This worked! Even though I was a little worried for a while. So, if you haven't ever made butter, this is how I did it. I am by no means an expert, but here we go.
1. Get some cream and chill it in the fridge. I left mine in the fridge for a while, something I read said that older cream tended to churn better and have better flavor. I got my cream from a local dairy that has 'happy cows' (free range, eat grass, not crammed in barn or standing in their own feces, no antibiotics unless sick, and no hormones). Also chill your mixing bowl in the fridge. If everything is cold, this works much butter, I mean better. NOTE: I started with the bowl that came with my mixer. I used a half gallon of cream, which I thought would fit, but the cream expands so much at first, use a much bigger bowl than you have cream. You can see in these pics that the cream is about to overflow, so I switched to a bigger bowl.
2. Start whipping/beating the cream. I used a mixer, but if you have a real churn, then go for it. The cream goes through several stages. First it got really foamy, like runny whip cream (see above). As I went, it got stiffer and stiffer, and started to make peaks, sort of like meringue. All this was done on high, using the mixer. The cream finally got so thick that it started to clump a little. It filled the bowl up quite a bit, and my arm was getting really tired. Even with the big bowl, I was making quite a mess. It might be wise to start with smaller amounts next time. I had a spatula with me, and pushing the cream back down into the center so I would be mixing it all at the same time.
3. Finally, it happened. All of sudden, the buttermilk fell out of the solution. It rapidly separated into solid and liquid. In the picture below, you can see the milk pooling amongst the butter. When it starts separating, turn the speed on the mixer down to low. The whole whipping process took me about 30 min start to finish (longer if you count bowl switching time) . Your time could vary depending on how you are churning and your cream.
4. Next it was time to drain off the buttermilk. I used a colander and drained the milk into a container. This buttermilk can be saved to make biscuits or pancakes later on. I used a spatula and shaped all the butter clumps into one large ball.
5. Next I washed and pressed the butter until no more milk would come out of it. Milk left in the butter can ruin it. A good way to make sure the milk is out, is to rinse it with cold water while pressing it. When the water stays clear, you know you have gotten it clean enough. This is the time you could add salt or coloring. I did add salt to mine. Flake salt is a really good kind to use, because it is more easily absorbed.
6. Now you are done! I divided the ball I had into four equal portions. I pressed it together into smaller balls and put them in containers. I froze some of them to use later. I tried out the butter on some fresh bread, with some honey. It was delicious. This kind of butter is called sweet cream. There is another kind of butter called sour cream butter, which I have never made. You could also add herbs to your butter to give it interesting flavors and to make it pretty.