Friday, April 26, 2013

Homemade Butter-

My mother is an elementary school teacher, and consequently a fantastic reader of stories. When I was  a very young child she read my brother and me Little House in the Big Woods, and I was fascinated by Laura Ingalls' descriptions of pioneer life. I went on to read and recently reread the whole series, and on my second time through I was engrossed by Laura's descriptions of how to make and do things. How to build a latching door without the use of any metal, how to make and age cheese, how to safely dig a well, how to make and form butter. 
I'm interested in the idea of making more things. S and I make as much as we can, but some elements always seem to have to be bought in Manhattan. I don't have a cow to milk, so I had to buy the cream for this recipe, and I don't have a butter churn, but I do have a food processor! 

Homemade Butter Recipe:
This recipe is for unsalted butter, but if you want to make salted, simply add a dash or two of salt.

1 qt. Heavy Cream (I used grass fed for more nutrients)

Pour heavy cream into food processor (or a standing mixer, or a bowl and use a hand mixer), put the lid on and turn on, my food processor only has one speed because it is from the 1970's, but if you have choices, go with medium. You'll need to run it for 7-9 minutes. 

The cream will thicken, start to look like whipped cream, then like creme fraiche, then it will begin to pull apart and look curdled- you will think it's almost ready now, so don't get upset when it gets liquid-y and smoother again a second later because now you really are almost there. When it's about ready the fat solids will suddenly separate from the liquids and there will be a squelching sound, if you're using a hand mixer with an open bowl be careful of splashing now. 

After the fat solids pull apart it'll look like wet, kind of granulated butter. Turn off your mixer, place a mesh strainer (or a strainer lined with cheesecloth) over a bowl and pour the contents of the food processor in, you may need to do this part in two batches, depending on strainer size.

Using two wooden spoons, cheese paddles, or two spatulas (I used one wooden spoon and one spatula) press the butter into solid forms then press into the stainer (not so hard that butter forces through the holes, just enough so the liquid drains out), continue to do this, turning the lumpy butter forms over after each press, until they start to resemble store bought butter in the consistency, fairly firm. Mold them into balls, or other desired shape, and you're ready to go. Should last two weeks in the fridge.

This butter is amazing on toast, in homemade caramel, or bring it to room temp, pop it back in the stand mixer with some diced herbs and make compound butter. Delicious.

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