Sunday, October 25, 2009

It's a Recession!: Homemade Butter (and Buttermilk)

Know what this is? Yeah, it's an actual butterball.

On occasion, when I need to bring baked goods in to the office, I get up at 5 a.m. and do my baking in the morning. One morning a few months ago, I thought I'd make some fresh whipped cream to frost a coworker's birthday cake. I put the cream in my Kitchenaid and walked into the other room. When I came back a few minutes later, the whipped cream was a disaster. It had separated into little beads of fat in a thin liquid. Disgusted, I threw it away and made a buttercream frosting instead.

Now I sort of wish I hadn't thrown it out. As I learned on The Kitchn a few weeks back, if I had let the mixer keep going I would have ended up with butter. If you keep beating the butter past the whipped cream stage, it eventually breaks down into the fat (butter) and what's left (buttermilk).


I've frankly become obsessed with making my own butter now. But beware walking away from this either, once it gets to the separated stage, the buttermilk is very thin and watery and will spray right out of your mixer all over the floor. (My dog Rex loves it when I make butter for this very reason.

The cool thing about this is, depending on what type of butter you regularly buy, making it yourself can be cheaper. A quart of cream at Giant runs between $4 and $5. By comparison, a pound of comparable quality butter, like Horizon Organic, is $6.

Eat Rating: Awesome. Imagine the best butter you've ever tasted.
Difficulty: Easy. Requires a Kitchenaid mixer or food processor. (You could also do this by hand by shaking a jug. But your arm would probably get tired.)

1 quart of cream

Place the cream in the bowl of the mixer and fit with the splatterguard (that step is super important if you don't want buttermilk all over your kitchen)

Turn the mixer to high.

The cream will begin to form soft peaks, then hard peaks of whipped cream. Keep beating and it will start to break down into little pieces. Continue beating. You'll know it's done two ways -- 1) the chunks will turn a golden yellow color and 2) you'll hear the change in resistance to the beater, it will sound sloshy.

Place a colander over a large bowl. Pour the butter mixture into the colander. Remove the colander. What's left in the bowl is your buttermilk. Pour it into a separate container, refridgerate and use within 1 week.

Turn on the sink to cold water and rinse the butter in the colander. Place chunks of butter in a clean paper towel and squeeze. You need to make sure all the whey is removed or your butter will go rancid. Rinse again in water and squeeze in a paper towel a second time.

Once the butter is clean, wrap in plastic wrap and freeze or refrigerate for up to a week.

For more storage tips and ideas for things to try with your butter, see this entry over at Brownie Points blog.

1 comment:

  1. I've thought about making my own butter and adding various flavorings (after I trued different types of butter at a french restaurant). For instance, cinnamon or parsley. The one I tried was a raspberry flavor which was kind of weird though.