How to make butter at home
Posted on 05 January 2011
We love our cultured butter! And actually it’s really easy to make!
We simply ferment some fresh raw cream (off the top of our raw milk) by leaving the cream on the kitchen bench until little bubbles start to form – around 24-48 hours. The lactobaccilis bulgaricus bacteria that’s naturally found in the cow will induce the ferment. You can’t really see the bubbles in this picture because they are pin head size!
Once the cream is fermented, we put it in the fridge as it’s easier to work with when cool. Once cool we simply whiz it with a cake mixer (a food processor would be easier but we don’t have one) until the cream turns to butter and separates from the buttermilk.
Then we strain the butter from the buttermilk…
Then we wash it 3 times in bowls of cool water until the water runs clear, to remove the remaining buttermilk…
..and store it in containers.
Sometimes we add freshly chopped herbs and garlic from our garden. Putting it in the freezer means it will last for quite a few months but since the butter has been preserved by the lactic bacteria in it (which is also why it doesn’t need salt), it can actually be kept outside the fridge for longer than normal butter too.
The garlic and herb butter in the photograph above has a description tag because we made it as part of our Christmas gifts. To see more of the produce we made, click here.
When you have finished making your butter you will have buttermilk left over. Don’t throw it out! We’ve read it will keep for approximately 2 weeks but you can freeze it for later too. We haven’t used our buttermilk much yet… but we will! It’s a very healthy drink and you can use it in pancakes, muffins, cakes, bread, mashed potato, chicken marinade, salad dressings, biscuits, creme fraiche (whisk a couple of tablespoons into a cup of heavy cream, bring to body temperature and leave to sit overnight), sweet lassies (use instead of yoghurt), and much more!
CJG is currently reading a book called Nourishing Traditions which recommends soaking grains in buttermilk (or whey, cultured yogurt, kefir, or in lemon juice or vinegar if you can’t tolerate milk products). We’ll definitely start trying this. Apparently soaking breaks down phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors until they are no longer harmful. Phytic acid is a substance that binds to phosphorus and prevents the absorption of vital nutrients in grains like calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc. Whole grains contain enzyme inhibitors which prevent proper digestion and absorption of nutrients. According to this book, as the grains soak, their vitamin content increases, especially the B vitamins that are so lacking in our modern diet. It also makes nutrients easier to digest and absorb.
So, enjoy making some of your own butter and reaping the benefits from your by product, buttermilk. It’s amazing how this simple process empowered us and helped us actually understand how so many of the products sold in supermarkets come from just one product – milk! As you will see in coming posts, it’s just so easy (and surprisingly not that time consuming) to make brie, kefir, yoghurt, butter, ghee, sour cream and cottage cheese.