Thursday, July 8, 2010

Homemade Butter

The first and last time I remember making butter was in Mrs. Hulse's second grade class. We sat around the room in a circle and passed a clear jar filled with cream and everyone had a chance to shake it for about 2 minutes. After the butter was ready, the mom helpers spread it on soda crackers and passed them out to use so we could all try it. I distinctly remember that I did not like it!  

I have noticed in the past year or so that some brands of butter aren't quite what it used to be. If I melt a little butter in a pan, there is a distinct water ring around the actual butter with several brands of butter. Tillamook, Danish and Kerry Gold are the exceptions that I have found. I don't feel like I am paying for water weight when I buy these brands.

I recently saw an episode of Alex's Day Off on the Food Network where she made homemade butter in minutes to have for a brunch that was being prepared. It looked so easy I decided that I had to make it. I especially wanted to see if homemade butter left a ring of water when melted!

The ingredients are very easy; 2-1/2 cups Heavy Cream and 1 cup Sour Cream (with out thickeners like Guar Gum.) I mixed them in my KitchenAide with the wire whip until blended and then turned it on medium high and set the timer for 5 minutes and this is what it looked like:

I remember my mom telling me, "Don't beat the cream too long or it will turn to butter" when I was young. There was always that fear of beating it too much.

This is what it looked like after another five minutes:

It was definitely thick and clumpy but it wasn't separating yet. I set the timer for three more minutes and then I had this:

This is what the recipe said would happen; buttermilk in the center with butter around the edges.
Next, I draped a double layer of cheesecloth over a large bowl: and then poured the mixture into the cheesecloth.

I then poured the mixture into the cheesecloth:

Next, I gathered it up and twisted the top as tight as possible so that the liquid would come out into the bowl. It took a while, but I finally got most of it out.

I then plunged it into a bowl of ice water so that it would solidify.

I pealed the cheesecloth off and wow, just like that! A perfect ball of butter! That was really easy!

This is what was left over, fresh buttermilk:

Believe me, this was the freshest butter we have ever tasted! And my suspicion was right, when we melted a little of it in a pan, there was not a ring of water around the butter! It would appear that some of the butter manufacturers are adding extra water to get the weight up and are giving the consumer an inferior product.

It was really easy, fun and well worth the effort. You should try it!

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