When I discovered the antique butter churn at the farm house, I got a little overexcited. If you’ve read some of my other posts you’ll know how happy it makes me to make my own cheese and yogurt. And now that I’m back on the farm with an endless supply of fresh Jersey milk, I’m basically in dairy heaven.
Making butter is really easy, and you don’t need a churn. I just chose to use one because it looked cool and I wanted to know how it feels to work the cream into butter, the way it was in the olden days. An electric mixer works fine.
One of the nice side effects of making your own butter is you also get buttermilk out of the process! Buttermilk is great for baking, and at the farm, buttermilk = rusks. Stay tuned for an upcoming post 😉
Raw, unpasteurized cream is most desirable for making butter, since it is naturally full of healthy bacteria and ferments on its own, adding flavour to the butter. And Jersey milk is ideal due to the high fat content. The result is a creamy, flavourful and deep ivory to golden coloured butter.
If you don’t happen to be living on a Jersey farm and have access to raw milk and cream, buy local organic cream from the store if you can – it’s the next best thing. Avoid “ultra-pasteurized” as this process uses super high heat that basically destroys all bacteria and flavour.
There is truly nothing better than homemade Jersey butter layered thick on a slice of bread or cracker, sprinkled with sea salt. Don’t expect this butter to last more than a day or two. It’s too damn good!
Okay, enough raving about homemade butter. Here’s how you do it:
1. Take some cream and let it stand for about an hour on the counter, to get to slightly cooler than room temperature.
2. Add the cream to your mixer (or in my case, butter churn) and mix on medium high speed. You will want to cover with plastic wrap or a towel to prevent splattering.
3. Keep mixing/churning until the sold mass (butter) separates from the liquid (buttermilk). At this stage you can stop mixing.
4. Strain the buttermilk off through a cheesecloth over a bowl and then gather the cheesecloth around the remaining butter and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Pour the buttermilk into a container and reserve for later baking purposes.
5. Now “wash” your butter. Place your butter in the bowl and add some ice cold water. Using a spatula, press the butter into the ice water. Pour off the water, which will be cloudy, and repeat the process with fresh ice water until the water runs clear (might take up to 6 washings).
6. The butter will be firmer now and can be pressed flat or rolled into a ball. Sprinkle with sea salt and store it in a jar or wrap in wax paper in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks (if it doesn’t get devoured in the first few days!)
Butter and Your Health
Here are some recent articles and links on why butter is best:
The myth that butter is bad.
The Boston Globe on latest research.
For a healthy heart, stick to butter.
The Guardian on why butter is good for you.