Friday, April 12, 2013

Easy Butter

We’ve all heard of butter churns. Some of us have heard the horror stories of children being punished by having to make the butter. This involved a very boring time pulling and plunging at the churn for hours on end. Even with these stories, one day I decided that I need to know what real home-made butter tastes like. I’d never had it before.

I jumped online and found that most of the recipes are pretty much the same with varying degrees of salt and some added assorted herbs. I decided to stick with as simple as possible for my first try. My list of ingredients is as follows: One pint of heavy cream, sea salt.

The tools you will need are an electric hand mixer, a largish bowl, and your storage container. Additional useful tools are a wire whisk and a spatula. If you would like, you can use some type of food service gloves. I did not have good luck with them so I got rid of them after my third time having to extract them from a fold of butter. If this is your first time, I suggest using only one pint of heavy cream, though you certainly can use as much as you want. The more you use the longer and harder the process will be. Now, are you ready?

Place your bowl on a counter or comfortably reachable surface and pour in the pint of cream. Place your mixer into the center of the bowl and start mixing at a low speed and slowly turn up the speed.

As you mix, the cream will slowly get thicker and thicker, first resembling whipped cream (which is exactly what it is).

It will continue to get thicker and you will notice little curds appearing. This is where you really pay attention as the change is sudden and can be very messy in the way of splash back. Keep a towel or cloth nearby.

This is where you switch over to your hand whisk as continuing to use the electric mixer will make a splashy mess. Your product will start to separate more and more as you whisk it. You will suddenly have a thick buttery substance and the liquid whey.

Once you have separation, I suggest ditching the whisk and using a spatula, or even just your hands, (the butter will get stuck inside the whisk and make your job harder) and keep stirring.

Now you form the butter into a more solid little ball and pour off the liquid whey and save it for future use (in most recipes that use buttermilk).

Here’s where the gloves came in useless for me. This is where it gets a little messy and the kids might have fun. You need to spread and press the butter glob onto the side of the bowl to get a little more of the excess liquid out of it. Then add a little bit of fresh water and do the same spreading and pressing process to rinse the butter a little more. This batch of water should be discarded, not saved.

Here are my gloves being a pain….

Now take your butter glob and move it to another dish or right into your storage container and add your salt if desired. Start off with a few pinches and slowly add more to taste as you mix it. It’s much better to ere on the lesser side than to suddenly have way too much salt and have to throw it away.

Make sure you mix it in well. You can also add in any other spices or flavorings you want during this step.

Now smooth it out into your storage container and enjoy! Here’s my finished yumminess!

Now, there are various arguments about whether you should use store bought heavy cream or fresh raw milk. I can imagine that there is quite a bit of difference in flavor and that using raw milk will taste much better. I live in Colorado though and it is very expensive, due to FDA laws, to obtain any decent quantity of raw milk. Do try to avoid ‘ultra-pasteurized’ as it will not work as well.

As for storage time, it will always vary based on the temperatures in your storage area or your refrigerator. I found that if it is stored in the fridge, it will get a hard as a rock and be very hard to use. If I wanted to use it for dinner, I took it out and put it on the counter in the morning so it would thaw a little by the time dinner was ready. It will last three to four weeks in the fridge, just pay attention to the smell.

If you want to avoid the frustration of rock hard butter, you can keep it on the counter with well sealing lid. It will not last as long due primarily to the warmer temperatures. Also, being much easier to spread, it will be eaten much quicker. Leaving it on the counter will reduce its `shelf life’ to about a week or two. Once again, pay attention to the smell.

The salt in this recipe is not needed. It is only for flavor. I used it because I like it and I’ve become accustomed to it in my butter during my 45 years on the planet. As time goes by, I will be slowly decreasing the amount of salt and hopefully, eventually, not use any at all. I will also write another butter blog about my second attempt without the use of electricity.


As always you can join our Facebook group, like our Facebook community page, and visit our website. All of these are conveniently called “Kaya Self Sufficiency”. I hope you have enjoyed this post and I hope you are getting better at providing as much as you can for yourself and for your family, group, or community.

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