I know a lot of people were interested in my recipe for making butter, so I thought I’d share. For comparison’s sake, I thought I would include the ingredients list for my usual margarine of choice, I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter. Honestly, I can’t believe it hasn’t killed us yet: water, liquid soybean oil, salt, sweet cream buttermilk, xanthan gum, soy lecithin, polysorbate 60, lactic acid, potassium sorbate, calcium disodium edta (used to protect quality, natural and artificial flavors, vitamin a (palmitate), beta carotene (for color)
Compare that to the ingredients in the butter I made: Milk, salt. That’s it.
First, you need to obtain some fresh, raw whole milk. (If this is unavailable, you can also use heavy cream or whipping cream) If you have the raw milk, skim all the cream off the top of the milk. Let the cream come to room temperature.
Now you churn. I use Tupperware’s Quick Chef. You could also use a blender, stand mixer, or a good ol’ fashioned jar with a screw on lid. (Some people recommend putting two marbles in with the cream, to help churn.) If using a blender or mixer, stop frequently to scrape the sides with a spoon.
As to when you stop, you churn until, as the old timers call it, the butter comes. I’m sure a blender or mixer will make the job much faster, but if you choose the Quick Chef or Bell jar, it’s gonna take awhile.
In fact, I watched about half an episode of American Idol churning my butter. I kept opening the lid to peek inside and see what was happening. Just when I was thinking that I must have done something wrong, the sound of the cream sloshing through the paddles changed, and in an instant there was yellow butter floating in the cream.
Scoop all the butter into a bowl to work it. Use the back of a spoon to smush the butter up against the side of the bowl, squeezing out all the buttermilk. Keep dumping all the buttermilk back into your jar or bowl, and keep working the butter until you don’t see any more buttermilk. This is very important, because if any buttermilk is left it will go rancid. (According to the website I found, anyway. I wasn’t foolish enough to try it myself. This website has a lot of interesting old timey stories on it.)
Once all the buttermilk is worked out, you have to rinse it. Put a small amount of water in with the butter and smash it all around. Then repeat the process of squeezing it all out. The water will be cloudy. Do this until the water is clear. It took me about six or seven times to wash it.
Now salt it to taste. Sprinkle a little salt over it (the website recommends one teaspoon per pound of butter.) Stir it around and taste it. If it needs more salt, add more. If you’ve used too much salt by accident, you can add more water and work the salt back out.
And now you are done! I used about three cups of cream and got about a half cup of butter out of it. So it takes a LOT of cream to make butter!
I used the leftover buttermilk in Ryan’s birthday cake, which came out fabulously. (My very first cake made from scratch!) I’m not sure if it’s what you buy in the store labeled ‘buttermilk,’ but it worked great in the cake. (Okay, a quick search of Google tells me it is not, in fact, what you buy in the store. That’s cultured buttermilk.)
If you want a fun project to do with your kids, give them a baby food jar with a little cream and a marble inside and let them shake it until it turns into butter. Since they won’t get much butter from it, you can just add some salt and skip the working part. As long as you eat it right away, you don’t have to worry about getting all the buttermilk out.