Saturday, January 21, 2012

Returning to Roots: Making Butter

Butter. Yep, butter. One of my favourite food groups. 

Well, maybe not a food group but it's right up there in my books. I don't really do the margarine thing. Just another personal preference but I love the creamy dreamy rich smoothness of butter. Salted or unsalted. For cooking or for baking. I love butter. Not to mention, it seems that everywhere I turned online, I would stumble across another blogger or site writing about how easy and satisfying it was to make your own butter. My curiousity was peaked and I too had to try. 

Does this also constitute a contribution towards my French food goal for 2012? The French also seem to love their butter. I think that counts then. hahah.

Here is a fast-forward of the process...
four spoonfuls at various stages of the "churning."
From top left/counter clockwise: Whipped cream,
beginning of separation, unrinsed butter, rinsed butter.

Heavy cream
(I also love one ingredient lists.)

I bought a lovely little container of heavy cream from Vital Green Farms, an organic dairy farm in Alberta (if you're in Alberta, has a list of where you can find this gem of a product). If you're in Calgary, I found the cream at our neighbourhood favourite, Bridgeland Market (an amazing addition to our community - great people, great products, and right around the corner from us!). 

Anyway, I bought one container of this heavy heavy cream. It's not often that you encounter 52% MF! So, instead of buying the 500mL of whipping cream as I had planned, I bought one of these 250mL containers of heavy cream and combined that with 250mL of whipping cream. 

I could have gone the shake-shake-shake route but, after four laps at the dog park with Charlie, I was ready to let the KitchenAid do the work for me. So, I put the cream into the mixer with the whisk attachment and started it up!

With the thickness of the cream, it didn't really whip up like traditional whipping cream but rather got  even more beautifully thick and dense. If I had pie or something, I would have taken a scoop out right then... but I kept on whipping.

After another quick minute or two, the "butter" started to separate from the buttermilk.

Taking a tip from Dinner with Julie, I wrapped the mixer and bowl with plastic wrap, creating a little bubble of protection from the splattering of buttermilk and the rest of my kitchen. 

Another minute and there really was butter! It was clumped up in the whisk and nearly fully separated from the buttermilk. 

I layered a bit of cheesecloth that I had over a bowl and scooped the clumps of butter into the bowl. You can save that buttermilk too! Transfer it into a canning jar while you get on with rinsing your butter. 

Gather up the ends of your cheesecloth and rinse the butter under the coldest water that you can manage to keep your hands under. Squishing and manipulating the butter will release any remaining buttermilk from the folds of the butter. Rinse until the water runs clear. If you take the time to rinse the butter well and remove any remaining buttermilk, you may find that your butter will keep longer than the roughly one week that you would get from unrinsed butter. 

Scoop your butter into a pretty ramekin or canning jar or the like. You can mix in a bit of salt or flavour it to the furthest reaches of your imagination. Or you can serve it triumphantly, just as it is. Sweet and creamy and all yours. 

Butter on the left. Buttermilk on the right.

9 thought(s):

Lisen said...

Thank-you thank-you thank-you for linking to! We have been trying to find heavy cream since we moved here so we can make creme brulee :)

wannafoodie said...

Thank you for reading! I'm glad that this will help you track down the good stuff!

Nena said...

Was wondering roughtly how much butter and buttermilk this makes?

wannafoodie said...

Hi Nena! I used 500mL of cream (250 mL of 52% heavy cream and 250 mL of whipping cream) and this produced a bit less than one cup of butter (probably a bit closer to 3/4 cup) and 250 mL of buttermilk. It wasn't a lot but it was delicious fresh butter that was ready in a very short period of time (no culturing or waiting required).

CanadianMiss said...

Is the heavy cream scoopable, or does it pour out?
Also, can this be made with salt?

wannafoodie said...

Hi CanadianMiss! This heavy cream that I used was incredibly thick... almost like a double cream or maybe even molasses, so it did "pour" but needed a lot of encouragement. hah! You'll still get fresh butter if you use whipping cream alone but the yield might be slightly different because of the lower milk fat content. As for salt, absolutely. You can season the butter with salt after you've churned it or you can add a bit of salt to the cream itself (I just watched Michael Smith add salt to whipping cream then make the butter by shaking it in a mason jar). Personally, I preferred to add it afterwards so I could get a better sense of how much butter I yielded and season it accordingly. Up to you!

Anonymous said...

I saw the heavy cream at Amaranth and couldn't resist taking it home- but then I didn't know what to do with it...thanks for this. My husband loves butter. My only question is- how much salt would you add to make this amount of butter 'salted'? Thanks!

wannafoodie said...

Oh, how awesome! Your husband is going to be thrilled. I would mix it up then taste it as "sweet butter." It will give you a good base line of what you have flavour wise and let your palate guide you from there.

I've read that commercial salted butter has about 1.5 teaspoons of salt per pound (2 cups). Depending on what kind of salt you use to season the butter, it might seem saltier or less so.

Personally, I want to taste more of that beautiful cream than I do too much salt, so I'd start easy. Add 1/4 teaspoon per cup of butter. Taste. Add another 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon, if needed. Taste again. I wouldn't add more than 3/4 teaspoon. You can always add more but you can't take it away! If you have some nice Maldon salt, those crunchy flakes will add saltiness but also interesting texture. Or you can use a smoked salt! The options are endless.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the advice, Christine, the butter was beautiful! My husband was super impressed with the color of the butter, and the flavour. I can just imagine all the lovely things I could add to this the next time I make it. With my hand mixer, it definitely took longer, but it was worth it!
I'm glad to have found a Calgary blog that talks about local ingredients. :)

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails