Posts Tagged ‘make your own butter’

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I know I’ve blagged on about making your own butter before, but it really is so easy to do.  We almost never throw away expired cream any more.  I had a carton of pure cream (aka heavy whipping cream, 35% fat) which had reached its use by date, so I spent a few minutes this morning turning it into butter.  There was about 400ml of cream which made 170g freshly churned, lightly salted butter.  Life is good…

The cream went into my mini food processor in two batches (photos taken of the second batch, which is why the processor bowl is dirty).  My machine has a little whisk attachment that fits over the blade.  You could just as easily use a mixer with a whisk attachment, which is what we do whenever we have a larger quantity of cream.  If we do use the mixer, we switch from the whisk to the paddle attachment about half way through.

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Add a pinch of salt, if you like.  We find this helps the butter keep a little bit better.

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After a few minutes of pulsing, the cream will split, leaving fresh butter and buttermilk (whey).  The cream will whip up, then collapse, then split.

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Give the butter a quick rinse to wash off the sour whey.  Note that the leftover liquid is actually buttermilk, albeit a much thinner version of the stuff you can buy commercially.  When we make a large batch of butter, I save the buttermilk and use it for baking.

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Then smack it around a bit on a chopping board to get any residual liquid out.  We use gnocchi paddles and a wooden board placed at a slight angle over the sink, to allow the liquid to drain off.  The butter sticks less to wood than it does to plastic.

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Here’s the final butter, shaped and ready to be wrapped in parchment paper and stored in the fridge.  Our homemade butter doesn’t keep as long as the commercial version, but we use it for everything from spreading on steaks to baking cookies.  And there is almost nothing like super fresh butter in mashed potatoes!

I made two-thirds of a cup of butter this morning – from cream that was due to be thrown away.  Even just typing that makes me smile..

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I adore a low key, simple meal.

Patrick popped by for a quick feed on his way to the airport on Saturday. Lunch was pulled from the fridge and pantry – San Daniele prosciutto, Darling Mills olives, fresh ricotta, onion marmalade, mesclun salad, sheep milk pecorino and, because I had just a little time, a small pat of freshly churned butter.  These were served with a loaf of homemade sourdough which I’d defrosted earlier that  morning.

San Daniele prosciutto is, in my opinion, one of the finest things ever to be made from pork. It’s soft, sweet and almost buttery in texture.  Imported from Italy, it costs a fortune, but Johnny at the Cheese Shop always looks after us, because he knows Big Boy is completely addicted to this and won’t  have anything else in his school lunches.  Yes, I know, I’m making a rod for my own back – ask me how many times I’ve been told that – although I prefer to think of it as training a discerning palate.

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To finish off the meal, Pete whipped up a batch of sourdough pancakes, served with his raspberry jam and thick cream.  Patrick was in and out the door in 35 minutes and yet, lunch felt mellow and unrushed.  I even had time to stash four jars of jam in his luggage – let’s hope US customs let them through.  And that he didn’t end up with a bag of sticky clothes…

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Last night, our friends Kevin, Carol and their Astonishingly Nice Juniors came over for dinner. It was Kev’s birthday, and we were making pizzas to celebrate. The four of us go back a long way – over 25 years in fact. The wonderful thing is, we’ve been close for all those years – this hasn’t been a friendship that has waxed and waned – we’ve seen them regularly over the entire time we’ve known them, and being with them is like being with family. I can say what I think, feel what I feel, all without fear of judgment. We certainly don’t live out of each other’s pockets, but when we haven’t caught up for a couple of months, I find myself missing them. So last night was easy, relaxed and reaffirming – a perfect Saturday night.

As Carol was bringing fruit, I didn’t make a cake for dessert, and opted instead for a batch of Divine Dorie’s World Peace Cookies.


Pete thinks they would be more aptly named “World Conflict Cookies”, because either everyone fights over them OR you have an internal struggle not to eat five at one sitting. The recipe is from a great cookbook called Baking from My Home to Yoursand was recently discussed on Dorie Greenspan’s blog (there’s a recipe link here). For our batch, I used homemade butter, homemade vanilla extract and Belgian chocolate. As this recipe is quite simple, it really showcases the ingredients, so it pays to use the best you can find.

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This is one of the maddest, most empowering things you can do in the kitchen. Making your own butter is so easy, and yet it always makes me feel like Ma Ingalls from Little House on the Prairie. We never planned to make butter – it’s really just a byproduct of our desire not to waste anything.

Instead of throwing away cream that’s near its expiry date, we now beat it, with just the tiniest bit of salt, in the stand mixer until it splits into butter and whey (start with the whisk and move to the paddle attachment if it gets too thick). Rinse the butter in cold water, then it needs to be beaten to get all the residual liquid out of it. We do this by placing a wooden chopping board over the sink at a slight incline (to allow the liquid to drain off) and smacking the butter on it with wooden gnocchi paddles (one will work, but two is much easier). Surprisingly, the ridged paddles don’t stick to the butter, and the whole process is really quite quick, although it can leave your kitchen an oily, cream-speckled mess.

It really is delicious and worth trying – after all, how often do you get to taste butter which is just minutes old?  But being able to use our own butter in cakes and cookies – that makes me blissfully happy.


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More here : Butter Making #2
and here : Step by Step Butter Making Photos

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