If you are a regular follower of UK food blogs, you cannot fail to have seen lots of descriptions of how to make butter recently. It seems lots of very lucky bloggers got invited to a blog camp down at River Cottage a couple of weeks ago at which they learnt how to make butter. Sadly, I was not one of those bloggers…….. but hey! I can still make the butter!!
On reading the descriptions of people’s butter-making experiences, I was instantly fascinated by how incredibly simple the process was. We love butter in our house, so the prospect of knowing how to make our own was more excitement than we could hang on to.
After our recent foray into the scientific world of making honeycomb, the thought of making butter presented the opportunity for another food science lesson which sounded both entertaining and educational. And all it involved was a large pot of double cream, a bowl and whisk and some other basic kitchen equipment.
We are having a pretty stressy time at home at the moment. We are unfortunate enough to live in a part of the country where children are put through the 11+ to decide whether they qualify for a possible grammar school place. Whilst we may opt not to go down the grammar route even if a pass is achieved, if the test is not taken, the options become seriously limited. Having been sat in early September, the results are now due……. Needless to say, there has been lots of worry and tantrums on the child-front alongside hours of researching and visiting possible secondary schools. It all feels quite harsh…… By the end of October, our choices would have been submitted, but with no guarantee of getting the school we choose, I fear the stress may continue for a while.
In the midst of all this, butter-making feels quite therapeutic…… and frankly a lot more straight forward than choosing a secondary school place!
As promised by the wisdom of others, turning cream into butter was amazingly uncomplicated. It was literally a case of whisking until the butter separated from the buttermilk and then bringing the butter together in a block and washing through. If you have a really good mixer (I am lucky enough to own a Kitchen Aid), then it is speedy quick…… turn up the dial and watch…… cream….. whipped cream….. sort of scrambled-egg blobs……. butter…… done!
We worked out that it was cheaper than buying a block of butter too. From 600 ml double cream we got 11 oz (310g) pure butter and 250 ml buttermilk. That’s all for £1.00 (your average 250g block of butter costs anywhere between £1.30 and £1.70 and you can add an extra 50p for the buttermilk)!
Add a little salt to the process if you want salted butter, but if you use the buttermilk (and let’s face it, you wouldn’t want to waste it), just remember to remove any added salt from your chosen recipe or add the salt after the churning process to keep pure. I used mine to make some amazing gluten free buttermilk scones, which I think were the best gluten free scones I have ever tasted. I will post them shortly as they are simply too good to keep to myself.
And the butter? Perfect! Yellow…… creamy……. natural….. delicious! If you have never tried making your own, this should definitely be on your list of ‘must do’s’. It may not be something I will have time to make every week, but for special occasions like Christmas, we will be pushing the boat out for certain!
I am sharing this simple method for which I can thank my fellow bloggers who inspired me to try it with :
Home-Made Butter & Buttermilk
- Pour the cream into a large chilled spotlessly clean (and preferably sterilised) mixing bowl. You can add the salt now if using, or wait until the butter has separated from the buttermilk to keep the buttermilk unsalted.
- Beat the cream with a balloon whisk until it thickens. Keep whisking. It will reach firm peaks before it begins to separate into butterfat globules. Continue to whisk and the buttermilk will completely separate and the butter will become firm and hard and slosh around in the bowl.
- Pour the contents of the bowl through a clean (preferably sterilised) sieve to collect the buttermilk in a jug, leaving the butter in the sieve.
- Save the buttermilk in the fridge to use later.
- Fill a jug with iced water and rinse out the butter bowl.
- With clean hands, bring the butter together and squeeze to force out as much remaining buttermilk as possible. Place in the bowl and cover with the iced water to rinse.
- Remove from the water and squeeze again. Empty the bowl and re-rinse with fresh iced water.
- Repeat the squeezing and rinsing process one more time until the water is clear.
- Mould the butter into a slab. wrap in cling film and chill for a couple of hours before transferring to a butter dish.