It rained last weekend. Not something we usually see in July at the coast but while it made for a damp day at the beach it also had some delightful aspects. The garden got a nice watering, the dust was washed off the blackberry bushes and the pastures turned verdant green. The cows grazing on that rich green grass produced milk with an abundance of cream and I made butter out of it!
Homemade butter is delicious and fresh tasting and if you let the cream culture over night you get a European style butter with a nice tang and very little moisture. Even if you are not lucky enough to have fresh milk just up the road, you can make butter at home very easily. Here’s how…..
Take a pint of cream and stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh buttermilk, cover loosely and allow to sit on the counter overnight, it should thicken slightly (you now have Creme Fraiche!).
In the morning, chill the cultured cream for a few hours. When the cultured cream is cold put it in a food processor or a mixer with a whip and turn it on as if to make whipped cream. By the way, cream does whip nicely in the food processor and makes a lovely, dense, smooth product, perfect for icing cakes.
The cream will take about 5 minutes to churn into butter, going thru the whipped cream phase:
Now it’s starting to clump and finally breaking into buttermilk and butterfat:
The liquid part is what was originally called “buttermilk” before what we buy now as buttermilk was commercially produced, it is the cultured whey separated from the butterfat. Drain the butterfat particles in a fine mesh strainer:
Save the buttermilk for baking. Run cold water over the butterfat:
You will need to change the water at least once. This is very important as excess whey in the butter will cause it to spoil. You will know the whey has been massaged out when the water in your bowl is reasonably clear. Now you have unsalted butter!
But I like salty butter for my toast so now is the time to massage in some salt. I use about a 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and simply work it in by hand.
It will feel rather plastic, kind of like Play-doh! Once the salt is evenly distributed, roll by hand into a log and wrap well in plastic or wax paper or press into a small container and refrigerate.
I recommend making toast immediately and slathering on some fresh homemade butter.