Make Your Own Butter – Laura Ingall’s would be proud

February 15, 2012 , In: Other , With: One Comment

I have a distinct memory of myself growing up in the prairies in kindergarten class at our annual Pioneer Days  (yes, we all dressed up as pioneers complete with bonnets and pinafores).  Cream was put into a mason jar and passed around from child to child who shook it like crazy to make butter.  It’s a very clear memory (perhaps a hint at my future love of making food?), but alas was my last attempt at making butter.

Fast forward many years, and I downloaded a sample of the book Make the Bread, Buy the Butter  by Jennifer Reese on my Kindle.  In it, she makes butter (which she promptly explains you are best off buying).  The book itself looks great, and I plan on buying the paper version (somehow a recipe book on Kindle just doesn’t seem to work as well).  Despite her telling us to make the butter, I remembered that I had a half pint of whipping cream in the fridge which I meant to use on a desert, never did, and it was all going to go to waste.  So, I thought what the hell I’ll make some butter.  Unfortunately, the next day when I went to check out her recipe again I realized that Kindle samples are a one shot deal, so instead I used a recipe from this website instead.  I am sure there are much more sophisticated butter recipes out there (this one from The Guardian definitely looks a little more intense) but I just wanted to do a little bit of experimenting, use up the cream and well, I think it turned out pretty darn good.

adapted from The Instructables – How to Make Butter website
makes a little ball about the size of a tennis ball

1/2 pint whipping cream (35%)

  • Put your cream into a stand blender (I suppose you could use a hand blender but it would be a bit exhausting).  I recommend using your splash guard.
  • Whip on high with the whisk attachment.  Cream will whip into whipping cream, then eventually start separating.  I suggest that after it is whipped into firm peaks you change from your whisk to paddle attachment just because the butter caught in the whisk attachment will be a nightmare.  Every once in a while stop the machine and scrape the sides.  I actually found it quite difficult to tell when the cream had turned to butter and separated.  You can use a spatula and push the solid product to one side and see the liquid buttermilk and then you will know it is ready.  In the video, he states it takes 90 seconds to go from cream to butter but it took me more like 10 minutes.
  • Push the butter to the side and drain off the buttermilk (you can use this in cooking if you like).
  • Clean the butter to remove the buttermilk and allow it to last longer.  This is done by adding fresh very cold water to the butter and mixing.  Squeeze the butter to the side and again drain off.  I did this twice. The water will not blend into the butter.
  • Take your butter and form it into a ball (or whatever form you want).  That’s it!
The Cream has Separated!
When draining off the water, I found quite a bit of butter bits escaped into the sink as well.  Next time, I would probably drain the product into a strainer to both recuperate the butter and prevent my sink from being coated in a slick of butter.
You can make salted butter too.  I believe you add it after you drain the buttermilk, about 1 tsp.
    • Anonymous
    • October 24, 2012

    I made butter every year with Grade one kids. We had a little rhyme, sat on the floor, shook the jar (which was at room temp) one verse each, passing it around. One turn was all anyone got. It was butter! It doesn’t need anything else in my opinion–just bread! Not much shaking for you either.
    At home as I grew up we had a gallon glass jar with wooden paddles–we turned. When not much cream we shook it in a 2-quart jar. That’s all.

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Michelle Little

Writer & Photographer

Originally from the prairies and now in Montreal, I love exploring new places, eating great food and modern design. I'm mom of two wild things and paper and cake make me happy. Photographing your cutie family would make me very happy.

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