Butter is one of those things that I am picky about. I buy organic most of the time. My first choice is organic butter from a local farm, but it's not always in stock. I'll buy organic at the grocery store, but sometimes I feel dirty because they usually only carry Organic Valley or other factory farm companies. I also like Kerrygold. It's butter from grass fed cows in Ireland. It's dang good. I can only find it at Trader Joes and, while this Irish girl fancies things from her ancestral homeland, the carbon footprint of having something flown across the Atlantic isn't a big selling point. And the price for some brands of homemade butter - oh my! We're on a pretty tight budget, so anywhere that I can save money is a giant help.
I knew in my head that you can make butter. I mean, duh, it's been around forever. Obviously people have been making it at home for centuries. I simply picutred a grandma sitting in a chair with an old-fashioned butter churn just churning for hours. I can't do that in my own kitchen. Though, it would be kinda cool. I decided to google it one night when I was unable to fall asleep. It turns out, making butter is kinda simple. I read a lot of pages, but most had the same advice. Shake or mix the hell out of heavy cream. You have butter.
I chose the shake method. This is probably the hardest method as it's labor intensive...sorta. You can use a mixer or even a blender, but more on that later. I chose to add heavy cream to a mason jar and shake away. That's it. That's all you do.
Here's what you need:
- Heavy Cream or Heavy Whipping Cream
- Mason jar or any glass jar with a wide mouth and a lid.
- Salt (optional)
- Willingness to look slighlty silly while shaking that jar like a fool.
Pour the cream into the jar. Screw the lid on the jar. Shake. And shake. And shake. Have you seen the commercials for the shake weight? It's just like that, only less assinine and pornographic. The shaking process can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes, depending on how much cream you used and how vigorously you shake. It's fine to stop and take breaks now and then. It won't hurt the butter. You can also pass it on to another person and take turns looking silly. This can be a fun activity for kids. Bonus: it helps them burn a little bit of that kid energy.
At first, all that cream will just coat the jar. It'll be easy to shake at this point. As the cream becomes thicker, the jar will feel heavier. You can open your jar and peek in. The cream will go from it's original state, to a thick whipped cream texture and then to a solid.
As it becomes a solid, the liquid will pull away from the sides of the jar and you'll hear it sloshing around while you feel the solid butter forming.
Shake it for just a little more. You'll eventually have a lumpy solid ball of butter that has separated away from the liquid (traditional buttermilk - not the same as the thick cultured stuff from the store).
Strain the buttermilk into another container and save for making pancakes or waffles. Dump the solid butter into a colander and rinse it with cold water. This just rinses the excess buttermilk off and helps firm up the butter just a little bit. And that's it. You can roll it into a ball, shape it into a rectangle, mold it into a bunny shape or leave it as a clump o' butter. Store your butter in a glass container or butter dish and enjoy! After refrigeration, it becomes just as firm as store bought butter.
This does not last in my house. I use butter for everything - baking, stovetop cooking, greasing pans, on breads, etc. From what I've read, it's shelf life is about 2 weeks. It does freeze well, however, so you can make a whole bunch and just pop what you don't need immediately in the freezer.
Now, I did say you can use other methods. So far, we have only done the shake method. If you want to try a mixer, just mix it on a slow to medium speed. The same process will occur. It will turn into a thick cream - just like making whipped cream - and then it'll just firm up and separate from the buttermilk. I have also seen a website or two that says a blender works well.
A word about the buttermilk. This is traditional buttermilk. This is not what we are used to buying in the store. It is thin and watery. The store stuff is thick as it's been cultured. You can still use this in pancake or waffle mixes.
I will update you all if I try another method. Right now, I'm enjoying my massively toned triceps.
This post is part of the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways Blog hop, sponsored by Frugally sustainable.