Butter, Make it Yourself!  

Posted by Dave in


I cook with a lot of butter. I refuse to use hydrogenated oils and things I cannot even decipher. Butter is simple, butter is wonderful. Unfortunately, butter in the store is often expensive. I beat that by buying it on sale and freezing it. It will keep a long time, I dunno how long because it never seems to last. Anyway, store bought is OK for cooking or baking, but for on home made bread or fresh biscuits, nothing beats the taste of fresh butter you just made yourself. In my case, I find it is cheaper too. I buy my raw milk from a farmer who allows me to clandestinely siphon it off for about half the price per gallon as store bought milk, and I simply skim a bit of the cream each time and make our table butter. It only takes a few minutes, and I feel good knowing that not only are we eating butter rather than some test tube fat spread, but raw milk butter has a greater concentration of nutrients for my kids. And, darn it, it just tastes great!

You can use store bought cream, if you must. Buy a pint of the stuff marked Heavy Whipping Cream. It is “Ultra-Pasteurized” and so will probably not clabber, that is sour, but it will still taste better and fresher than the sticks you buy for baking.

You will need:

· 1 pint cream
· salt to taste

· A quart mason jar with a lid and ring, or similar jar with a lid
· A butter bell, half pint mason jar, or similar jar with lid

OK, now this is tough, so get the kids.

1. Set the cream out on the counter, covered overnight, this will get it warm, and will allow natural enzymes to slightly sour the cream for better taste. As I said, this is traditionally called clabbering.
2. In the morning, pour the cream into the quart jar, fasten the lid tightly, and shake. You can shake fairly rapidly at first, though it is not necessary, but when the cream starts to coat the inside of the jar, slow to about one or twice per second. A snap downward with a rapid stop is especially effective, but really any technique that whips the cream will work. Watch as the cream begins to thicken and be “whipped”. Continue to shake.
3. After a few minutes, (and this varies greatly with your technique, the quality and temperature of the cream, and some ineffable qualities that I still have been unable to define), the whipped cream will begin to “break” and loosen. Particles or tiny grains of butter are beginning to form. Continue to shake.
4. Rather suddenly the butter will simply stick itself into a single mass. Stop shaking, and open the lid. Carefully drain the buttermilk into a glass or other container. Don’t let your butter slide out yet! You can save the buttermilk for cooking or baking or simply drink it. If the cream was clabbered it will have the wonderful sour taste that contributes so much to other recipes, and if it has not clabbered, it will simply taste like other sweet milk, and still carries the nutrition of say, skim milk.
5. Keeping the butter in the jar, slowly run the coldest water you can get over the butter to rinse away the butter milk, dumping it a couple of times. Then, leaving space to shake, fill the jar with water.
6. Shake as before, this time to wash the butter. Drain and repeat a couple of times until the water stays clear and no more milk can be drained out of it. At this point, the butter can be worked with buttersticks, but that’s really too much trouble for the small amounts we are making, and is really only to help preserve it by removing all last traces of buttermilk and water.
7. You should have about half a pint of butter, and it can now be put in the butter bell, Mason jar, or some other handy container. It can be refrigerated or frozen, but we simply leave it out on the table, covered of course, right beside the bread cutting board. I don’t have any data on how long it keeps that way, because we have never had it longer than 4 or 5 days, though it was great all the way to the bottom of the jar!

Some other things that you can do with butter:

Clarified Butter

Brown Butter

Herbed and Flavored Butters

This entry was posted on Thursday, March 6, 2008 at 3:00 PM and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .



I just made butter from my organic raw milk cream in my Cuisinart stand mixer and it took about 20 minutes to finally break on high speed! I let it set out for about 8 hours beforehand but I couldn't imagine doing it by hand. I love the taste of homemade butter with a pinch of salt and I KNOW it is better than margarine or store sold butters. MMMMMMMM

October 27, 2009 at 4:40 PM

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