Come, butter, come; come, butter, come.
Peter stands at the gate
Waiting for his buttered cake,
Come, butter, come.
That's an old rhyme that you're supposed to chant over and over as you sit by the homestead hearth, butter forming to the accompaniment of the soft, rhythmic thunk-chunk of churn and dasher.
Ha! Not only do I not have a lovely, antique churn and dasher, but I don't even have a hand-cranked (or electric) butter churn!
Jordan, over at Blueberry Hills Homestead, has been experimenting making her own butter using a recently acquired hand-cranked glass and metal butter churn. Reading her recent posts brought back memories of when we had our dairy goats and I made our butter . . . using my electric blender. I dug out the recipe, took out an extra two cups of heavy cream I had in the refrig and made butter yesterday afternoon.
Thinking my method might be of some use if you're interested in trying your hand at making butter, here's how I do it.
I poured the two cups of heavy cream in my blender. My original recipe says to have the cream at 55°. I've tried making butter with the cream at that temperature and with the cream straight out of the refrigerator and can't tell any difference in the end product.
Cover the blender and start at a slower speed increasing it until the surface of the cream no longer moves. Then turn the blender off and stir the cream with a spatula. A little air bubble "burps" up from the bottom. You can tell the cream is already getting thicker. Continue blending on a higher speed until the top becomes stationary again. Another stir, another burp, and so on.
By this time I've gone way beyond whipped cream. Small curds form now, and the cream has a slick, greasy look. When I get a big clump sitting in a thin liquid, I'm done with the blending.
I drained the liquid off into this blue bowl so you could see it. It's technically whey and you can use it in cooking, or feed it to the chickens.
Now I rinsed the butter with cold water several times. I just ran cold water into the blender and carefully poured it off holding the cover slightly ajar so I could drain the water but keep the butter in the blender. Do this until the water coming out is clear.
I weighed the butter to see how much salt I should add. I had 14 ounces which is, of course, just under a pound. I put the butter into a bowl. I've read that it is best to work the butter in a wooden bowl (why, I don't know) but I don't have one right now so I used a rigid plastic bowl.
My recipe says to add one tablespoon of salt per pound of butter, but whoops, I had forgotten that was too salty for our taste. (I should have marked this on the recipe card but hadn't.) So I went ahead and added a scant tablespoon of salt before I remembered. It turned out okay since we use only sea salt, and it doesn't have as "sharp" a taste as regular table salt, BUT I would advise you to start with maybe 1-1/2 teaspoons salt and add more if it turns out you'd like more.
After sprinkling on the salt, let the mixture rest for 10 minutes. This allows the salt to draw more moisture out of the butter.
After this rest, more moisture will have run out of the butter. I drained this off.
Now comes the part I like . . . when I feel like I'm really "making" butter. You need to "work" the butter to get the last of the liquid out. (I saved all of the liquid/whey I worked out and it came to about 1/2 cup.)
Using a wooden paddle, cut the butter as you would cut shortening into flour, never rubbing or smearing. (The above picture shows two wooden paddles in comparison to a small rubber spatula. Yesterday I used the small paddle on the right, because I couldn't find my larger paddle . . . until this morning! I believe the larger one [which was the one I've always used when making butter] would have done a quicker, better job.)
Starting on the left of the mound of butter in the bowl, I cut down through the mound (from top to bottom) over and over working across to the right hand side. Then I gave the bowl a quarter turn and repeated the same process. Can you see the grid pattern made by the paddle on the bottom of the bowl? (I have the mound of butter pushed over to the side for this picture. When working it, it would be spread across the bottom of the bowl.)
I worked the butter (draining off the liquid as it formed in the bottom of the bowl) until the soft, slippery lump became a smooth, compact, bright, waxy ball of the high priced spread. Yesterday this step took twenty minutes, but I know I've done it in about ten minutes before. (Maybe I'm out of practice?)
Here's my finished product in a glass dish. The very white color has me stumped. Usually, even in winter time when the cows have only dried hay to eat, the butter will have a light yellow tint to it. This I made yesterday looks extremely white. When I made butter with our goats' cream, it was always white because goat cream is never yellow. I used to add a couple of drops of vegetable dandelion butter color so it didn't look so much like lard!
This morning we taste tested the butter on our toast and we both thought it was delicious, even though a smidge bit salty.
I had forgotten what a sense of accomplishment making butter gives. And like so many other foods that are homemade, fresh butter just tastes better!
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