Friday, May 15, 2009

Better Butter

When we first got a cow, we started making our own butter. We put the cream in jars, about 1/3 full, and shook and shook and shook until we had butter. It takes about 20 minutes per jar. Then I would rinse it, salt it, press the water out, and we'd enjoy it. But no one liked all that work and I noticed our butter consumption dropped drastically. Soon, we were all tired of all the work and I started buying butter again. It just isn't that expensive compared to all that work.

Well, last week the "How to of the day" on my iGoogle page was "How to make butter with your electric mixer" or something like that. I'd tried that and it was just a mess. But I looked at the how to page and there was even a video. PLUS they had directions for how to rinse the butter in your blender.

So we tried it today. We're getting about a quart of cream per day and I need to do something with it. I've made sour cream, cream cheese, ice cream and still there's more cream than we know what to do with. So I figured I'd better try this.

It was great. Following are pictures of "batch 2" from today.

cream in jarStart with a quart of very cold cream. More than that and you end up with a big mess splashing out of the mixer. So less is more.

pouring cream
mixer with lid on
Next you dump the cream into the mixer. Notice our cream is very thick and not dumping. I had to use a spatula at first to get the thick cream off the top. Then put the lid on the mixer and turn it on on its highest setting.

whipped cream Within a couple of minutes I had whipped cream. Now I've tried this before when I wanted whipped cream and couldn't get it to whip this well. I think the fact that we had the cream very well chilled made the difference today.
lumpy whipped cream
After a couple more minutes the whipped cream gets kind of lumpy looking. Keep mixing.

It keeps getting lumpier and will begin to splash again as the buttermilk separates out from the butter. Don't quit too soon.
lumpier done
The top picture shows it getting lumpier, the one on the bottom is done. There are big lumps of butter rather than little blobs of it.

Now it's time to rinse the butter. I took the blobs of butter and put them in the blender while Claire prepared some ice water in a pitcher for me. I poured the buttermilk back into the jar I'd had cream in. Between the 2 quarts of cream that we made into butter, I had almost 1 quart of buttermilk. I added a couple spoons of sour cream that I'd made last week (this won't work with store bought sour cream), shook it up, and set it aside on the counter. Tomorrow I should have cultured buttermilk. It takes about 24 hours. This can be used for starter for sour cream or cream cheese, or it can be used in recipes requiring buttermilk. If you like buttermilk, you can drink it straight. I don't care for it though.

blending ice water and butter This is the butter in the blender on low speed with ice water added. The purpose of this is that the milk will cause the butter to spoil faster. So you wash the milk out of the butter. I did this by hand before and it was exhausting.
draining off the liquid You pour off the "dirty water" and add fresh water. Repeat this process until you drain off clear water.
adding more ice water

Then we dumped our clean butter onto a cutting board. You have to press that water out now and add salt while you're at it. I had a flat, wooden tool that I used, but today it broke and cut my hand. Grace took over and used a wooden spoon.

salt adding salt

And here's the finished butter.

But like I always tell the kids, no job is done in the kitchen until you wash all those dishes. Another thing we were doing by hand when we first made butter.

Thankfully we have a dishwasher now! Those are some greasy dishes! Claire washed the dishes. Faith took the pictures. Thanks for the help, girls! To me, this is the bestest part of making butter nowadays--helpers!!!


mo said...

God is awesome!
He made cows to make milk & butter!
oh yeah & icecream!

Ann said...

Wow!! sounds like a lot of work, but it obviously has great rewards!! And you have awesome helpers....