Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Butter

     Since we bought Brindle, our sweet dairy cow, we have stopped buying all dairy products at the store.  Since I like to bake so much, the greatest challenge has been not buying butter and making sure I have plenty on hand. I'm going to show you how I make butter, and I promise it is so easy you just won't believe. Even if you don't get your own milk from your backyard, you can still make your own butter. I hope you'll try it, at least once, the butter does taste better and cook better, and gives you plenty of bragging rights.
     Start with some cream. You cannot use store bought milk that has been homogenized. Buy just the cream. We use heavy cream because that's what Brindle gives us. Use what's cheaper either heavy or whipping cream. I don't think it will matter.
     What I do is use the milk from the day before. That way there has been plenty of time for the milk to separate and it is as fresh as possible. This is what it looks like after the first day in the fridge.
      The cream is the bright white at the top. The skim milk is at the bottom. I use a small ladle to scoop out the cream. Our cream is usually the consistency of yogurt to syrup. I keep scooping out the cream until I see the skim milk. Then I stir up the cream to get it all the same consistency and bring it to temperature.    
     The most important thing is to start with the cream at a temperature of 60 degrees. Get your food processor out and put in your metal blades. Pour in the cream to the maximum fill line. Put the lid on and start it on high for 4-5 minutes. If you watch the process, you'll notice that the cream will turn to whipping cream, then break down, and then turn to butter. Usually by 5 minutes it's ready, but it just depends on your machine, cream, and the temperature of the cream. This is what it will look like when done.
     Turn off the processor and grab a rubber scrapper. Mush the butter together into a clump. It should be a little stiff and want to stick together. The buttermilk left over should be milky and not have too much butter residue left. If you do still see butter in the milk and it doesn't stick to your butter clump, spin it in the processor some more. This is what it looks like when it's clumped together. Notice how the milk is just milk.
     Pour out the milk (I give it to the pigs), and dump the butter into a separate bowl. I use a pan with a handle because it is easier for me to hold and work with the butter. What you want to do is smash up the butter. You are trying to get all the buttermilk out.
     Add water to the milk and mush it up and smash out the water. Keep dumping out the water, adding water, smashing the butter with the water, and dumping it out. Keep going until the water runs clear. Then you will stop adding water and just smash the butter until no more liquid comes out. This is the hard part to me. I never am really able to get out all the liquid. If you have an older kid that has been driving you crazy, give them this job. They'll think twice about crossing you again.
     Once you think you've got it as drained as possible, get a cookie sheet, wax paper, and a tablespoon measure. Put a sheet of wax paper down on the cookie sheet and start scooping tablespoons of butter. Pack the butter into the spoon with your finger. This will help get more liquid out. Scrape the spoon against the edge of the bowl to get an exact tablespoon.
Then use your finger to scoop out all the butter. Put it in tablespoon piles on your wax paper.
     The reason I make tablespoon balls is because this is the most common measurement when you use butter. Many of my bread recipes call for a certain amount of tablespoons so it is very easy to grab the right amount. All the measuring has already been done. Even if I am making cookies and need a cup of butter, it is easy to count out the balls to equal a cup.
     After I have all the butter divided up, I place the cookie sheet in the fridge for about an hour. I want the balls to be hard and cold. Once they are very cold, I put all the balls into a plastic container and put them in the freezer. This helps the butter keep longer (especially since my milk is not pasteurized). Another plus to making the tablespoon balls is that the butter comes to room temperature much faster.
     I hope you'll give it a try and let me know how it goes. The perfect thing to make with your butter is grilled cheese sandwiches!

If you'd like to try your hand at making butter like we do, contact me to arrange for a visit. The milk is free if you bring a container. I do ask for a donation if you can afford it. I'll even teach you how to milk a cow.

No comments:

Post a Comment