Thursday, August 13, 2015

A bit of butter...

Everything's better with butter. ~ Julia Childs

I've watched her programs for years. I was in my teens when I banished margarine from my diet and determined to only use butter. One of my cooking classes or one of the shows I watched (I don't remember which) taught me that ingredients make a huge difference in flavor. Some you can cheat on, but many you can't. I practiced and experimented. I did have a short period of time when I dabbled in spreads, but it was only because I wanted something easily spread. However, it's been two or three decades since I've used anything besides butter. Even when I make pie, the crust is made with butter. First and only time I've seen people eat the whole pie, not a leftover crust in sight. I'll share my pie recipe later if anyone's interested. Today is about butter.

For years, I've purchased butter whenever it was on sale and kept it in the freezer. It keeps well. Really. I won't confess how many pounds of butter sit in my freezer right now.

Several months ago, I was playing on Pinterest and discovered in my exploring a recipe for making your own butter. Wait... What? Really? Really.

On one of my shopping trips, a quart of heavy whipping cream, which also works, was cheaper than a half pint or pint of heavy cream. I bought it.

Sorry about the blurry pictures. Since I wasn't dividing it between two jars, I added more cream to the jar. Otherwise, the cream would only fill half the jar, so you know what to expect.

I shook it for about 20 minutes. The first time I did it, I shook the bottle for an hour. I'm improving. It's a good workout. For the first 19 or so minutes, the cream thickens and thickens until I wonder if it's moving at all. Between one shake and the next you can feel the weight shift from one end to the other. Keep shaking. Again, between one shake and the next, you can hear liquid sloshing with the constant weight moving back and forth, from one end to the other.

Keep shaking, another few minutes. This is what it looks like when you're done:

Drain the fluid off. My dad was raised on a farm and remembers his mother making butter and giving him the leftover liquid, buttermilk. Not the stuff you buy in the store. I usually simply use the tip of my finger to keep the butter in the jar while I pour the liquid into a cup I promptly give my dad.

For the record: This is the first time I've ended up with butterballs. Usually, it's a smooth, single clump of creamy butter. Once I drain off the buttermilk, I dump it in a dish. This time, I did shake the jar a little longer, and yes, ended up with butterballs. Cool looking and still yummy.


  1. I wish I didn't have the allergies I do. I love butter, too, but dairy doesn't love me back. ;)

    1. Bummer. I'm purportedly allergic to milk, but discovered I'm all right with raw milk. I'm able to enjoy lactose-free milk, since it's difficult to acquire raw milk.

  2. I used to make butter when I lived overseas. We got water buffalo milk, which was higher in fat than whole milk is here. We had to boil it, and the cream rose to the top. I would save it up to make butter. I used a mixer which saved my arms, but it was very messy -- when the buttermilk separated it tended to fly! And cleaning the beaters was a pain. Butter made from water buffalo cream is extremely white, so I would add yellow food coloring to the cream before mixing it, which helped. We also added salt afterwards, which was also messy and hard sometimes to get it mixed in thoroughly. I should try making butter this way, this has a nice color to it, and it would be interesting to see what butter tastes like that isn't water buffalo butter! :-D

    1. LOL! My dad said that his mother added salt to the butter. I don't, but then I've used unsalted butter for years. It's better for baking, so you have control over how much salt is added (not a problem in savory cooking). If it works for buffalo milk, I wonder if it would work for goat's milk...