Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Adventures in butter making

So as soon as we walked in the house with our jar full of milk yesterday, my seven year old was beside me, begging to make more butter. Apparently she thought butter making was as cool as I did.

I have a tendency to dive right into a project without looking first. Sometimes this proves successful, other times I'm realizing I should've done some research. Making butter from fresh raw milk was one of those times.

We poured off our cream into a quart sized glass jar. (we poured off about 3 cups of cream, and left a good top of cream on the milk for when we drink it.) The milk was already cold, and I'd read before about making sure your milk is as fresh as it can be.

Well, I don't think they were talking "farm fresh". Fresh from the farm and fresh from the grocery store are two very different things. I ended up researching later and learning it's best to use raw milk when it's 3 or 4 days old. But whatever, I don't believe in following directions.

So we rolled our butter jar. We shook it. We danced with it a bit, then rolled it some more. And shook. And shook. And shook. And in thirty minutes....

We did NOT have butter. We had very foamy cream.

My arm was sore. The kids had given up and were outside playing. I dumped the jar of foamy cream into the KitchenAid with the whisk attachment. I'd read that would work, and I thanked my lucky stars that I was born in an era with electrical appliances. I turned the mixer on at medium speed, and promptly sloshed foamy white cream all over my counter and wall. I turned it down to low. I left it there on low while I made lunch. And while we ate. And while I washed the dishes. The websites I'd read assured me we'd soon be to the "soft whipped" stage. They were wrong.

Afraid I was going to burn out the motor on my KitchenAid, I looked at some more butter-making web pages. Hmm... this lady says she uses the blender. Maybe we'll try that. I poured the (still) very foamy cream from the KitchenAid bowl to the blender. I flipped on the blender, and watched as closely as I could.

And poof! Suddenly there was a big blob of creamy yellow butter sloshing around in the milk! I might've jumped up and down with glee once or twice at this point. But I'm pretty sure I didn't squeal out loud.

I followed the directions for straining and rinsing the butter as best I could without any cheese cloth. Rinsing it will help it from going rancid too quickly - getting all the milk out of the butter. What we ended up with won't likely last more than a few days though, so I'm not too concerned. But isn't it beautiful?

For dinner we had pancakes with homemade buttermilk, homemade butter and homecanned strawberry jam on top, with homemade elk sausage on the side.

I rolled half of the butter into a log and wrapped it in waxed paper and put it in the freezer. That way it'll stay fresh longer and I can take it out when it's needed.

We got about half a pound of butter from this experiment. In reading up, I learned that you'll get a higher yield if you wait a few days, too.

I spent a few minutes on eBay last night, drooling a bit over antique wooden butter molds and Amish-made jar churns. Not that I need either a butter mold or a jar churn. But they were neat to look at and wish for a little bit.

Anyone else making homemade dairy products? Would love to hear of your experiences!


Just Me said...

I want to try making butter! I have this nifty little chopper thing that has a whipper blade attachment. I think I will try using that. After I let the cream set for a few days, once I buy some milk. ;)

Anonymous said...


Wendy said...

your butter was beautiful! Once my real life farm-living friend and I tried to make butter with our kids. She'd done it many times before. We shook that thing but never heard the plop. She thinks it was because it was too warm outside. Oh well.