Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Mmm Mmm Butter!

homemade butter, originally uploaded by Jocelyn | McAuliflower.

"People of Earth…today, I (J.) have made butter for N. and me! I am uber-cheap when it comes to purchasing butter. Why? Well, I use a lot of it and don’t like to pay money for…anything…especially not things I use a lot of. After scowering the ‘net for a good five minutes, I settled on just about the most simple and straight-forward recipe I could find. And it had pictures:)" 

This was an excerpt from the first time J. attempted homemade butter using store bought heavy whipping cream. It was quite good and worked despite being pasteurized. Cost wise I'm not sure how much money we saved, it would depend on the cost of organic butter versus organic cream where you are.

Where we saved money was when we joined a cow share and got raw milk complete with cream. Each week when we picked up our milk we would skim the cream off and make our own butter. Every once in awhile, if we baked a lot, we would have to supplement with store bought but for the most part we were pretty self sustaining.  

Now that's we've moved to Philadelphia we can't participate in a cow share and while we could still purchase raw milk it's much more expensive. Instead we purchase our butter in huge one pound rolls from the local Amish sellers. They make unsalted, lightly salted, and regularly salted options and they are a steal! But if you can I would still encourage you to try and make your own.

How do you make butter? Well, you get up at 4:00a.m., grab your pail and stool, and milk your cow. OK, so you don’t have a cow. All you need is heavy cream, a Kitchenaid (or a bottle) and some salt. So, I (J.) am an admitted/ self-proclaimed skeptic. When N. and I started this life revision, I was of the opinion that all things homemade were, for lack of a better term, not as good, and perhaps not as good for you. I’m a fairly simple person, and try to formulate my decisions and opinions based off of what I know can prove.

Below is a list of ingredients in our last 1/4 pound of Land O’ Lakes Light Butter:Water*Food-starch-modified*Contains less than 2% of tapioca malto-dextrin*SaltVegetable mono and diglycerides*Lactic Acid*Potassium sorbate* (preservative)Sodium Benzoate* (preservative)Xanthan gum*Natural Flavor*Vitamin A palmitate*Beta Carotene* (Color)* Ingredients not found in regular butter. Now, I still don’t know what Xanthan gum is, and I’m not sure why our store-bought butter needs two forms of preservative, but that’s what they have.

Below are the ingredients in the butter that we’ve just made:Organic Grade A Cream (Milk) Carrageenan and Sodium citrate salt (these were the ingredients in the Horizon Organic Cream). I truly can’t tell you what carageenan and sodium citrate are, but I hope you can agree with me when I say that, in this case, less is more. In the case of raw milk you are literally using cream and salt, it doesn't get much purer. 

  • 4 cups of heavy cream 
  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  1. Fit your mixer with the whisk. Blend. The cream will go through the following stages: Sloshy, frothy, soft whipped cream, firm whipped cream, coarse whipped cream. Then, suddenly, the cream will seize, its smooth shape will collapse, and the whirring will change to sloshing. The butter is now fine grained bits of butter in buttermilk, and a few seconds later, a glob of yellowish butter will separate from milky buttermilk. It took us about 15-20 minutes. 
  2. Drain the buttermilk. Keep for other uses as it is perfectly good raw buttermilk. (We usually made pancakes or biscuits)
  3. Add 1/2 cup of ice-cold water, and blend further. Discard wash water and repeat until the wash water is clear
  4. Add 1/2 tsp of salt, to taste, if desired.
  5. Squeeze out excess water. Take the butter out of the mixer and squeeze out any excess water.
  6. And you're done!
You could do all this in a jar using your own muscle power, but you need to shake vigorously for 10 plus minutes. 

Does anyone else make their own butter?