Saturday, November 16, 2013

Making butter at home


Breakfast time. The coffee was about to perk. The brioche buns were warming.

Open fridge.


Saturday crisis.

Think. There's cream (for once). And One Knows Where Butter Comes From: cream.

One Googles. One starts the cream off in the blender, as instructed, but that doesn't work because the blades whir uselessly once the cream is thick. Out come the stainless steel bowl and the good old hand whisk. Five minutes of sore-wristed whipping later (a lifetime of gardening and cooking has made my hands rebel, at last), and we get to Picture no. 1 stage. I squeal. My first buttermilk. And the butter fat is yellow, all on its own. I rinse in cold water and press moisture out with a spoon, then pat crudely into shape. I spread it on hot brioche and carry it on a tray to bed, with coffee.

Tastes just like butter. Seems like a miracle.

I used something less than a pint (minus one slosh for chicken-with-grapes-and-sorrel and another slosh in last night's pot roast gravy) Organic Valley cream, which was what I asked the Frenchman to bring home other night for that chicken. Under one pint yielded 100 grams/3.5 ounces of butter (bit less than one stick, which is 110grams).

Of course, now I'm all fired up and want grass-fed local cream.

And it begs the question: is it worth it? Organic butter cost about $6 for 4 sticks. The cream for that much butter will cost much more. Still, I think it's worth the trouble and money for special occasions, and gifts. And I can't wait to start flavouring it.

Mushroom powder. Clover.


  1. Got the bit between your teeth now, haven't you! If you can source some unpasteurised cream you can make clotted(scalded) cream, too.

    1. Indeed, bit between teeth. But I confess to a loathing for clotted cream. Cultured butter, yes...

  2. I remember my mother making scalded cream (in the days of farm-delivered milk ) and telling me not to tell people we ate bread and jam with scalded cream "because that's what poor people have!" But it's must for a proper Devonshire Tea!

  3. Lidded mason jar, shake like mad - voila! Different workout, same result! :)

    1. Yup, that's the way we used to make butter for a treat when I was a child, and I do the same thing now with my son. Very satisfying when the butter suddenly forms and thunks against the lid as you shake.

  4. You can find the answer to your question in this book: Your guess is right - from a financial point of view, you should buy the butter...

  5. I've always wanted to make butter. Now I shall and use organic cream. Maybe it will greet you next Sunday !


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