Emily has been wanting to make butter since last week. Don't ask me why she had this sudden urge to make homemade butter when she shouldn't even eat dairy but she's been hinting, nudging, short of hanging a huge billboard in the kitchen, that she wants to make homemade butter. I think she just wanted to see liquid state turn into solid state as a scientific experiment.
Yes, she's taking Chemistry this year. Or maybe she just misses her Play-Doh. You'll see in a minute.
But I ignored her since the image of women, sitting or standing, churning butter conjured up in my mind and frankly, I didn't want her to go to that extreme and become a homesteader's wife when she grows up.
Nope. Instead, I want her to become independent, self-reliant, self-sufficient, resourceful, and strong when she grows up.
Wait a minute. That IS being a homesteader! Duh. What was I thinking?
Well, anyway, while I was trying to convince her that she is slightly allergic to dairy and butter is not exactly our staple food that we need, this article about making butter came to my inbox a few days ago. Drat! And it looks so easy and it doesn't look that messy to make! Heck, if pre-schoolers can do it, why not?
So during the snow day yesterday, we made butter.
- Heavy Cream (or whipped heavy cream) We used the regular hardcore Heavy Cream for the full spectrum of experience. (Nope. Hubs just grabbed the first Heavy Cream he saw on the shelf.) Organic is preferable . Also, just know that you will end up with half the amount of heavy cream as butter.
- Hand Mixer or Blender
- Strainer or cheesecloth
- Glass bowl or jar to store butter
There are as many directions as the types of butter you can make. There is the good old, shake, shake, and shake method as described in Craftzine but it takes 15 minutes or more of shaking and requires very strong arms and "War and Peace", unabridged version to keep your mind off from what you are doing. And there is more modern method of using a Cuisineart, without using butter churning machines but that's only practical if you are making butter for the week.
And then, there is the hand-held mixer method that we used since we were making just one cup. All of them will work because all you are trying to do is to make the fat molecules in the heavy cream to coagulate and bind together and squeeze out the liquid, which is buttermilk, leaving you with solid butter in the end.
It's Chemistry 101 all over again. Yeee Peee!!!
Memories of buns and burners, foul smelling sulfur, charred hair....never mind. Wrong experiment.
Back to butter. Here are the stages that you'll see, no matter what method you use.
Pour the heavy cream in a stainless steel bowl and whip it using a whisk attachment. Don't use the one that you see in this picture. We couldn't locate our whisk so we started out with these. "Do as I say, not as I do." Sound familiar?
At first, you'll see this slushy mixture in the beginning.
Then, you'll see frothy, creme fraiche type of frothy goop. Did I say frothy? Don't you just want to dip your fingers and taste it? Don't. It does not taste good. Not like the fresh creme fraiche that you're thinking of.
Notice the color. It's still white frothy cream. Then, slowly, it starts get a little yellowish and more solid, like soft whipped butter.
Then, you'll get more yellowish solids to form and now it's looking more like a real whipped butter. And oh, look! We found our whisk! Yay!
I think we're getting close! I see clumps of butter in its yellowish glory! Be careful when celebrating because this is when little bits and piece of butter will fly all over and possibly land on places that you can't clean and you'll cuss. At me, no doubt. You can actually use this state as "Whipped Butter" if you wish. You know, like the ones you see in tubs? But see what happens if you keep whipping the mixture. Pay close attention. Are you watching? See that whitish liquid forming on the bottom? Guess what that is.
Yup! it's buttermilk!
Ok. Now you have to take your solid mixture and squeeze all the buttermilk out. You can strain it in a strainer like we did. Or, you can squeeze it out using cheesecloth. You see that dripping into the glass bowl? Can you say, Buttermilk Biscuit? Buttermilk Pancake? Buttermilk facial scrub? And do you see butter on top? Cool!
Then what Emily did was take the solids and ran it under cold water and squeezed the butterball some more to get the liquids out. Play-Doh time! Told you she might be missing her Play-Doh.
But you can't do this too long as your warm hands will make the butter melt in your hands. But once all the liquid is squeezed out as much as you can, you'll be left with....butterball ready to be stored.
Butter with buttermilk ready to be used up!
French Toast dipped in Buttermilk and Eggs and Homemade Butter on top. Yum!
So other than some flying specs of butter on the wall and on my camera lens, it wasn't messy at all.
And very tasty!! Hope you'll try making your own.
My next versions will be with some strawberries, sliced up spicy peppers, apple pieces, and may be even mango.
Woo hoot! Possibilities are endless! Now I can truly say I spent the day churning butter without actually churning butter! Boy, I wish I listened to Emily earlier! She's so smart!
~from your homesteader greenie and her daughter~
Laura Ingalls has nothing on me...or Emily 🙂