When I was in Elementary School, first or second grade, we made butter as a class project, and I’ve never forgotten it. Our teacher poured whipping cream into a quart glass jar, and had us all sit on the floor in a big circle. We rolled the jar back and forth across the room, one person to another, until the butterfat separated from the milk. She poured the milk out of the jar, and passed around the resulting butter, which we ate on pieces of bread. (Buttercrust, I’m sure, because there was a Buttercrust Bakery in Corpus Christi, which we also toured in Elementary School.)
Now and then, I like to revisit that experience, without the school children, and make my own butter. It is so easy and gratifying and fun; taking just 30 minutes an really little effort as long as you have an Immersion Blender or beaters. I sometimes imagine my grandmother, on her screened in porch, churning away with a butter churn and I imagine that she would have thought it necessary chore, but I think it would be relaxing.
I procured some local, lightly pasteurized Mill-King Heavy Cream from Salt and Time last week, with butter making in mind. (Mill-King has a booth at the SFC Farmer’s Market downtown on Saturday, and is also available at In.Gredients.) All you need, is the cream, a vessel of some sort, and an agitator. I started with a quart jar and my Immersion blender.
Pour the cream into the jar, and get after it. The first thing that happens, is that the cream starts becoming whipping cream. You just keep going until it starts separating into curd-like bits.
Once I got to this point of thickness, I was afraid that I’d start to lose some butter in the Immersion Blender – it just sticks to the blade a lot – so I switched to my beater with just one attachment, and just kept beating until the milk started separating from the solids.
It will happen fast at this point, and the beater will start encountering resistance, as the butter solids separate into a clump from the liquid. At this point, you pour off the liquid.
The milk fat solids left after you pour off the milk is butter. I like to put a paper towel on top of the jar, and screw on the lid, as much as it will, then store the jar upside down for a few hours, so that the remaining milk can drain off. Definitely save this, as you can drink it or use it in cooking and baking, just as you would milk.
The end result, is butter. You can salt it, but I prefer not to. You can always add salt later. You can make it into make compound butters. Just enjoy it as you would Grocery Store butter, but know that you made it and you controlled the ingredients and the process. What could be better? It’s BUTTER!