Monday, January 10, 2011

Make Your Own Butter

I am still using up some of the surplus of baking supplies around the house in a desperate attempt to stave off an inevitable trip to the grocery store. This requires a bit of creativity on my part, I admit, since we are talking the remnants of relish trays and a few errant starlight mints at this point. But I also had a quart of heavy cream that needed to get a move on for freshness' sake. IF I had a bit of chocolate, I would make some truffles. Alas! there is none.

So, I thought this was as good a time as any to try making my own butter. I had come across a cut little article somewhere about how nice it was to put some heavy whipping cream in a mason jar and shake shake shake butter! So, I poured a cup of heavy whipping cream into a pint jar.

Yeah, um, I shook that jar like a shake weight and I got really really thick, foamy white heavy cream.
At which point, I actually said "I can't believe it's not butter."

Novelty gone.

drain off the liquid
before molding
the butter
Recalling to all the times I had warned a new helper in the bakery to watch closely how far they whipped the cream so it didn't turn to butter, I scraped the contents of my jar into my trusty-dusty Kitchen Aid, added a paddle attachment instead of the whisk and set her on low (my mixer is a girl, trust me). I used the paddle because, unlike when making whipped cream, I didn't want to incorporate air. I just wanted the fat molecules to come together.  In a few minutes, I had yellow sweet butter and a bit of white water in the bowl.

I tossed the liquid into a pot of heating corn chowder so as not to waste it. The butter, I smoothed into a little plastic butter mold I happened to have. I think it came out of a box of junk somewhere and I had never used it for anything. In fact, I had to as Thing 1 to dig it out of the toy box. (Yes, I washed it promptly). I then covered it with some plastic wrap and popped it into the freezer so it would harden faster.

Now, if you don't have a butter mold, it's no big thing. Any little shaped tin, like a jello mold would work nicely. Or, you know, you could sculpt it into your own unique shape (we're all adults here, settle down).

Now, here's what you need to know:

First, if you are looking for a workout, use a quart sized jar, not a pint. I simply had too much in too-small-a-space for the butter to really form, so perhaps this way works better then. I'll never know.

Secondly, even though you are making real butter, it's not recommended that you use this for baking purposes. Why? well, because commercial butter has a controlled water percentage so it is more reliable than homemade. Try it if you want though. Otherwise, smear it on anything you like.

Which leads us to the third thing--what's the point then? Well, if you wanted some nice, sweet cream butter for a special meal, this is nice stuff. Instead of softening a stick of butter and adding stuff to it, you can make it all yourself in less time. And you can add anything to it--a bit of honey or cinnamon. Or maybe some herbs to make pats for a dinner party. You may also want to add a tiny pinch of salt in this case as well. 
I guess you could say it falls under the heading of "Because I Can."

If you have placed your butter in a mold, run a bit of warm water over the container first and give the mold a tap on the counter and the butter should pop right out. 

So, now I have little fish made of wonder somebody threw that thing out.


Anonymous said...

Wow, this is impressive. I love the fish!!! Bet it's great on homemade bread!

Mother B said...

This is pretty interesting, my dear!