Monday, June 21, 2010

Churning Butter

I thought it would be fun to make my own butter this weekend.  After nearly failing, smashing my finger, getting a serious arm workout, and being underwhelmed with the end product, I'm not sure it was all worth it.

Start off with a pint of heavy cream.  For those of you not familiar with imperial measurements, that's two cups.  A pint's a pound the world 'round, so it's one pound of liquid.  We good?  Good.

Put the nearly-room-temp heavy cream (aka "whipping cream") into a big plastic container with a tight lid.  I would have used a glass jar, but I didn't have one handy.  A four-cup capacity (or twice your original volume) should be adequate.  Apply lid.  Put determined look on face.

Then shake violently about one shake every second in a strong downward motion so the liquid hits a side of the container forcefully.  But don't throw the container.  And don't do this over the edge of a counter where you might get really violent and catch your finger between the container and the counter edge and smash your finger.  It hurts.  Trust me, I know.

I ended up doing this about five minutes before I had a delightful whipped cream.  Another five minutes of perfecting my technique resulted in butter!  The liquid remaining is buttermilk.  It can be chilled again and kept about a day (maybe two) and used for buttermilk biscuits or pancakes.  Run COLD water (not sorta cold like I mistakenly used the first time) over the butter, reapply lid, shake another two minutes to really firm up the butter. Discard the liquid from the butter carefully.  Then repeat the cold water rinse five or six times until the water drains clear.  Add a little salt and stir up the butter if you want.

Poof!  Butter!  That you not only spent more per ounce on than store-bought butter, but you had to work harder and longer to get it.  Yay!

My batch yielded a little over a cup of butter, about 3/4 cup of buttermilk, and somehow lost 1/4 cup of cream in the process.  Not that impressive.  It tasted like... butter.  Seeing as how I don't butter toast or muffins or anything like that, I used most of my butter in cookies.  They're okay.  Nothing fancy.

But I can make butter, gosh darnit.


Dr. Weirdbeard said...

There's so many reasons for people to own paint shakers in their home...

cm0978 said...

My mom used to make butter; I have her old butter churn. It was a lot of work even with that!

cm0978 said...

Dr. Weirdbeard: Yes, who knew there would come a day when a cook when exclaim: "If only I had a paint shaker!"