Making butter is so simple that you will wonder what took you so long to try it! It is so simple, in fact that your children will be able to do by themselves! It makes me feel very Little House on the Prairie-ish when I make butter!
I’m not going to go into the “why” of making butter much here. I am more interested in showing you the “how”. However, there are a few reasons why you may want to make your own butter.
Cost: Homemade butter is very cost-effective. You are either skimming the cream off your raw milk or purchasing cream. Both of which are cheaper than buying ready-made butter. Another option is if you are lucky enough to have your own milk cow or goat, making butter is free!
Control: You decide if you want sweet cream butter or cultured butter. You are in control of where the milk is coming from, how much butter you are making, if you want it salted or unsalted, etc. You are making it fresh for your family, farm to table.
Okay, now it’s time to make the butter! The only items you need are cream, salt, culture (if making cultured butter), and a mixer (I use a KitchenAid).
The first step will vary depending on your cream source. If you are using gallons of raw milk or milk from your own cows or goats and want to skim the cream to make your butter you will need to wait until the cream rises to the top. Then, using a turkey baster, draw out the cream and move it to a clean container. If you would like cultured butter which adds healthy probiotics to it, add some buttermilk or kefir (about a tablespoon) and let the cream sit out for 24 hours. Cultured butter taste sour so it may take some getting used to since most of us are accustomed to sweet cream butter.
Once you have your cream ready, pour it into your mixing bowl.
Turn on the mixer to medium-high. It will take anywhere from 15-45 minutes for the butter to separate from the buttermilk so be patient. You may want to go wash dishes or start another project to pass the time!
You may want to place a splash guard on your mixing bowl if you have one because once separation begins, buttermilk tends to splatter. You’ll hear a clunky sound when the butter is separating and will be able to see it. There should be no question whether you have butter or not.
Once the you have the butter, strain the whole lot through cheesecloth or muslin to get out all of the buttermilk.
Save the buttermilk for another purpose…pancakes maybe? You could also culture it (if not cultured already) and use it to culture future batches of butter.
In order for the butter to last longer, wash it in a bowl of ice water. Just knead cold water through it to wash out the buttermilk. Seems a little strange but leaving buttermilk in will cause the butter to go rancid quicker. If you are using the butter right away or within a few days you can skip this step.
Right after washing, add some salt if you would like salted butter. Salt to taste and if you accidentally over-salt just rinse away some of it. You can also add herbs at this time if you would like herbed butter.
You now have your very own homemade butter! Store it wrapped in parchment paper in the refrigerator or on the counter if using within a few days.
In summary: Gather cream, salt, and a mixer. Place cream in mixer and mix until butter separates from buttermilk. Strain butter. Wash butter. Add salt. Store. That’s it! So simple!
Enjoy your fresh, delicious butter and pat yourself on the back for your accomplishment!