Home-Made Butter

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I was given a butter kit from Williams-Sonoma as a gift years ago, but I’ve resisted using it. Why? Because I thought I would lose the use of my right arm.

If you read the directions to make the butter, which uses purchased heavy cream, you must vigorously shake the enclosed container of cream for 35 minutes. And I can’t use my left hand for anything. If I tried to brush my teeth with my left hand I’d surely poke out my eye.

But yesterday I was determined to try out this butter project and risk injury. This is the label for the kit.

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The kit includes the container plus all of this.

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So I placed the room temperature cream, a whole pint of it, in the washed and dried plastic container.

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And then I screwed on the lid and began shaking, with my right hand, reviewing the estimated times when things would occur inside the jar. For example, between 4 to 6 minutes the cream would thicken and you would no longer hear sloshing. Which did indeed happen.

But within minutes, I had come to the final step, which is when you can see through the plastic container and see butter. It took less than ten minutes in all, instead of the 35 or more minutes. Halelujah!

So this is what it looked like inside the container:

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As according to the directions, I poured off what they referred to as “buttermilk” into a glass for another use.

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Which left this in the container:

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So I placed the butter inside a bowl and poured 1 cup of icy cold water over the butter blob.

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Then I massaged the butter, much like kneading bread. This gets the milky water out of it.
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I poured off the water, then massaged a little bit more, which helped in removing a bit more liquid.

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I didn’t want to salt the butter or use the herbes de Provence, so instead I chopped up a little bit of fresh rosemary and thyme, and also included a bit of dried thyme.

Then I smushed the butter into the herbs and massaged them in.

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Then I placed the butter in some plastic wrap in a log shape.

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Then using the plastic wrap, I formed a smooth log of butter and wrapped it up and refrigerated it.
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For dinner last night I made steaks, which was a perfect opportunity to top them with a slice of the herbed fresh butter. Let me tell you, fresh butter is so different from store bought. I had no idea. I’ve since dipped artichoke leaves in this butter, topped hot quartered potatoes with it, and have many more plans.

The pint of cream makes 1/2 pound of butter, so it’s probably not economical in the long run. And I probably would never cook with it. But if you want to try out fresh butter, this is definitely worth doing. I wish I’d known how to do this when I taught cooking classes to young ladies. It would have really been fun!

I never ended up using any other parts of the kit, so I wouldn’t recommend purchasing the kit, although it makes a fun gift. And I think it would really be fun to do with children.

31 thoughts on “Home-Made Butter

  1. I love this idea, especially since it took less shaking time than you thought. And adding the fresh herbs is brilliant! I’ve made cheeses, but not butter– I’m going to do this!

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    • I stupidly didn’t taste the buttermilk because I don’t like buttermilk. But after I poured it down the sing I realized it probably didn’t taste like commercial buttermilk. I threw it away cause after a week I really hadn’t made anything in which I could have used the buttermilk. I’ll plan better next time! Such a waste!

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  2. This reminds me of many years ago when I first started to learn how to cook. I was making a chocolate mousse recipe for the restaurant and was whipping the cream (it was a lot of cream) in a Hobart Countertop Mixer. I got busy doing something else and forgot about the cream. :o When I came back I had over whipped the cream and made butter. :) Oh, well. We did what you did and made a compound butter to go on top of filets that evening as a special. :D

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  3. Very cool, love the idea of home made butter but shaking it would be painful for me, I too have problems with hands and arms and I doubt I would have the strength to do it. I thought of those shaker things to mix paint in the paint store, that would be handy!! I bet it did taste really really good though.

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  4. I make butter at home too but there’s a much much quicker way. Just put the cream into a mixing bowl and whizz it with an electric whisk until it’s starting to look buttery. Then squeeze it through a muslin cloth to get the buttermilk out. Done! And, like you say, the taste is SOOO much better than store bought :-)

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  5. I think home made butter might be my idea of heaven. I am a little bit addicted to freshly made bread with lashings of butter. I believe you when you say it is better than shop bought. Home made rather than shop bought is one of my mantras for a happy life. Emma xx

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  6. Very interesting! I wonder if you could make ricotta out of the buttermilk? It would be even better if you could get unpasteurized cream — sometimes I splurge on raw-milk French butter and it’s amazing.

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  7. You know you can make butter in your food processor? Much easier. Though kudos to you for shaking it! (I am lazy. Which is why my butter churn from my grandmother remains unused.)

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