I promise we think about things other than butter and various dairy products. But for now, I ask, “Who can resist the alluring taste and texture of butter?” Not this girl. Read on to learn how to make your own butter. And if you stick with me, I’ll teach you how to make the BEST BUTTER. As in tastes-like-France’s-awesome-butter or why-I-gained-15-pounds-in-one-summer butter. (Ok, I also have Nutella to thank for that one.) Back on topic: BUTTER.
I blame Laura. If society gets to blame McDonalds and Coca-Cola for their overindulgence, then I completely and totally throw Laura under the bus. Here I was, totally content with buying my butter at the grocery in its neat wax paper block.
Easy to measure, thoughtless to buy. Now, thanks to her suggestion that you can MAKE YOUR OWN… how am I suppost to resist that? I love to make my own… well, everything! (Ok not everything, but I’ll try my hand at a lot of things.)
Making Butter at Home
Well, I got right one top of this project. Ingredients: cream. How easy is that!? One ingredient! Done and done. Insert into blender…
Transfer to food processor because this blender is clearly inferior to Laura’s Vitamix which can whip up butter with ease. Dern, this project just got complicated and messier…
Blend or process (depending on the awesomeness of your machinery) until you go from cream -> whipped cream -> hunks of butter and separated milk. You’ll know when this happens. I didn’t think I would, but you can tell. It does not take long.
You could be good not pefect and scoop out the solids, your butter, and be done! However, the continued presence of some buttermilk in the butter will reportedly turn your magical hunk of butter into a rancid mess. You have 2 choices. 1. Quickly eat all the butter before it turns. (I cannot endorse this option. I will not, however, judge you if you cannot stop eating your delicious, fresh butter.) 2. Wash the buttermilk out of the butter so that it will keep.
Option 2 isn’t too difficult. Remove your butter from the buttermilk. (Save the buttermilk for the waffle recipe that I’ll post soon.) Put your butter solids in a medium-sized bowl. Add ice cold water. Let it sit for a second to harden up. Now massage the butter with your very clean hands. The water will turn milky.
Just like your shampoo bottle says, “Rinse and repeat.” It’ll take several rinses before the water runs clear. By this point, your hands will be numb and the butter will be hard. Take a break. You can use this time to wash the dishes (*snicker*) or you can have a hot cup of tea and catch up on Facebook.
Once the butter has returned to room temperature, season to taste. Some people like their butter salted. Go right ahead. Spread it on fresh homemade bread. I didn’t have the time to also make homemade bread. Store bought olive bread is a good-not-perfect option. Yummmmm.
“But wait, there’s more!” This butter was good, but not perfect. We can do better with our butter. If I’m going to wash the food processor, I need a good reason to get it messy. I read in my food bible, Mastering the Art of French Cooking (<–affiliate link) by Julia Child, that French butter (the BEST butter) is made from cultured cream. What? I must have this. I must make this! I’ve always wondered why my American made “jambon beurre” doesn’t taste as good as it did from the Paris boulangeries! (I thought it was simply that the Normand cows make super tasty milk. This makes more sense.)
Sophisticated (aka Cultured) Butter
aka “Ooh la la beurre”
This is not hard and completely worth a try. I read all about it from American’s Test Kitchen. A day or two before making the butter, take a out glass bowl or jar. Add 4 cups of cream. Mix in 1/3 cup of plain yogurt. Let this sit on the counter with a damp kitchen towel over the top. After 18-24 hours, it will look like this.
Take a taste. It tastes like sour cream’s rich cousin. Allow me to introduce you to cultured cream. Cultured cream, let me introduce you to your new fans.
Now you can process as described above for regular “sweet cream”. BTW, if you read the test kitchen’s instructions, she uses cheesecloth and stuff. I tried it. Not worth the effort. Just scoop the solid butter out of the food processor and wash in a bowl. The end result will be the same with less dishes.
What? Did you ask for a taste test? I’d be more than happy to! Let’s line ’em up! Cultured butter, homemade regular butter and regular store bought butter.
Before you even taste it, the cultured cream butter is more yellow. It just LOOKS better tasting. Turns out, it IS better tasting. Not even a fair fight. The texture is smoother and lighter. Cultured cream butter is the hands down blue ribbon winner. And I’m not going to mislead you. Head to head, homemade regular butter is almost indistinguishable from store-bought butter. I’d like to say that the act of churning it in your own home makes it taste better, but honestly, if I didn’t know better, I would say they were the same butter.
Back to cultured cream butter. This butter is amazing! It tastes great! This butter is what my baguette and serrano ham have been dreaming of. If you are going to make butter, make cultured butter. If you have ever lived in Europe, you will love this butter like a new best friend. (It’s also available for purchase as Plugra. Who knew? Sing-Yi knew. Thanks for the heads up, Sing-Yi!)
I learned a lot about butter from Laura, and I learned even more when making my own. If you don’t want to churn your own (p.s. you can make your school aged child churn it by putting cream in a jar and having them shake it for approximately forever. :)), try making flavored butters out of your store bought variety, like garlic goat cheese. Buy your regular butter and make it better!
Ta-ta for now! Coming up soon, pumpkin buttermilk waffles.
What do you make homemade that most people buy at the grocery? We’d love to hear from you!