Lekker: Ho(me) Made Butter

Yup, this past weekend I attempted making homemade butter for the first time, because as my best friend Ghost points out, I HAVE WAY TOO MUCH TIME. It's true. But, it keeps me "off the streets and off drugs" or twerking or whatever it is that normal people do at 11 AM on a Saturday morning. I have no idea, because I am busy making butter at that time.

I feel like every kid basically made butter in a jar at some point during their "colonial America" studies or whatever; I just have no memory of doing it. I prefer to ignore the things I may or may not have blocked out of my memory.

Anyways, I love trying new things and thought I'd give it a spin. It was fun, and you get to have that moment of pride right at the end, like "Holy crap! I just made my own butter! Someone hand me a goddamn floral bonnet." And, you know...you get butter at the end of it. Who doesn't love butter? I suppose this would be a fun activity if you had some of those tiny humans you created around that needed to be entertained--but those frighteningly honest little people scare me--so I do not have any.

Now, some people get all excited about making their own butter because you know where it comes from, and it's free of artificial preservatives, etc etc etc but I hate to burst your bubble--that's not entirely true. If you do like I did and just use store bought heavy cream, you STILL don't know where it's coming from. It's still coming from the store and a bunch of anonymous cows, you're just adding an extra step in there. If you REALLY want to have complete control over your butter like that, check out a farmer's market for some heavy cream. In that I do not even have control over my own hair, I am not too concerned about my butter...but you do you.

All you need for this little project is a stand mixer or an electric hand mixer (my preference, because I like things to be more hands-on when I cook), a large stainless steel bowl, a strainer, and about 20 minutes. Oh, and ingredients, I guess.

Homemade Butter
makes about 1 cup of prepared butter

What You Need
1 quart heavy whipping cream, as fresh as possible, organic is always best
1/4 teaspoon fine salt

Now, let's talk for a minute. All of the tutorials I found online said the cream should be as cold as possible, so I stuck it in the freezer for a few minutes before I started. They all said it should take about 9 minutes of beating for the cream to "break", but after 15 minutes and no dice I was getting frustrated and didn't know what was going on. So I left it sitting on the counter for about 20 minutes and did other things, came back to beating and voila! Instant success. I believe it needed to warm up a little, so consider that a head's up in case you run into the same problem.

What You Do
1. In a large stainless steel bowl, pour in your heavy cream. Using an electric hand mixer (or a stand mixer if you have one) beat on high for 9-15 minutes until it "breaks." Since it's cream, here are the stages you will go through: first, you will be beating a heavy liquid on medium-high speed. It will splash everywhere and be a sloppy mess. Oh well. Then you'll start getting more of a whipped cream consistency. Nice! But don't stop. Keep going and it'll get thicker, and thicker, and bigger, and bigger (giggity) until it starts to collapse and get gritty and curdle-y. That's when it start's to "break", and it'll look like this:

Super gross right? It'll start splashing even more at this stage, but at that point you're basically done.

2. Place the strainer over a second bowl and strain out all of the buttermilk. Knead the butter with your hands well to get as much moisture out as you can. I would suggest that you strain it again through a fine mesh cheesecloth, because every time I thought I was done I turned around and more buttermilk had appeared.

3. Place in a bowl and stir in your salt with a fork. Tadah! Buttah!

I'm not going to tell you how to enjoy your butter because if you don't know how to do that at this point in your life you need help. BUT, this particular batch I divided up and whipped in some chopped fresh parsley and lemon zest to make a compound butter that I plan to use on top of sizzling steaks or grilled chicken breast. This stuff keeps beautifully in the freezer for up to two months (well wrapped in cling wrap and then alu foil) or in the fridge for a few weeks. IF you can keep it around long enough--AND THAT IS WHY I WON'T BE MAKING BUTTER AGAIN FOR A VERY VERY LONG TIME. Because I have no self control. Neither with butter, nor with boys.

Posted on November 7, 2013 .