Tuesday, March 11, 2008
I'll call this one, Works For (probably only) Me Wednesday because I doubt anyone will try it. It's purely for the curious.
Today I'm making butter. Not Parkay from a tub mixed with some herbs or garlic or honey. I'm making real, honest to goodness butter. From raw cow's milk. Why, you ask? Because I can, that's why! And because I'm a pioneer woman wanna be.
A few weeks ago, I started buying a gallon of raw milk a week from a local farm to supplement the organic milk I get from the store. If you don't know the benefits of raw milk, just look here. When I get it, it's in a normal gallon sized white plastic milk carton like the ones you see at the store. With one difference. There's a faint line you can barely see about a third of the way down that seperates the milk from the cream. The cream is just a little bit darker than the milk so when you shake the carton a little, you can see that line moving a little.
Now, if I wanted a glass of full fat milk, which is delicious and good for you, I would shake that carton every time I got it out of the fridge to mix the cream with the milk so I wouldn't be getting straight cream. But, since I don't mind the lower fat milk, and I want to get the most for my 8.50 a gallon, I'm going to pour off the cream and make butter.
Stick with me now, this is going to be fun.
Here's the milk after I've poured off the cream and that's the cream in the pitcher. I think that's the most cream I've ever gotten from a gallon. It was almost 6 cups!
Then I just let the cream sit out on the counter for a couple of hours because it tends to not want to become butter when it's cold. Here's a close up of all that creamy dreamy goodness.
Oh, and here's a less ambitious tip, if you don't want to make butter, you can always put this cream into a container, stick it in the fridge and use it in your morning java. Your coffee will thank you for that.
After it's been sitting out for a while and I've finished all my laundry, cleaning, cooking and I'm letting 2 freshly baked pies cool on the window sill, I pour the cream into my trusty mixer.
And then, as Devo would say, "Whip it. Whip it good." I couldn't go past the 2nd speed because I don't have that neat little splash gaurd attachment.
After a while of this, you'll notice your cream go from the liquidy stage to the foamy stage and finally to the chunky stage. Here it is somewhere between liquidy and creamy, but not yet to the whipped cream stage. I know all the technical terms, you know.
Now you can see it's getting to be a little chunky. (In a good way.)
Here, it's even chunkier.
And then, we have what experts in the field would call, the butter stage. And I'm so sorry about the color. I don't know what happened. I think the sun went behind some clouds and I lost all my natural light. If nothing else, I'm trying to be natural here, and all I get is this store-bought butter color. Really, sorry.
Now that we're done with the mixing part, I pour the chunky, buttery cream through a strainer and into a bowl. Again, with the color. Sheez.
And this is what I end up with. A big, chunky mound of almost perfect butter in a strainer.
Now about that liquid that's left in the bowl, I don't exactly know what that's called. Maybe whey. I'm not sure. I don't have my dairy degree yet. All I know is that it is drinkable. My kids never said a word. Of course it may have no nutritional value at this point. Like I said, I haven't a clue. I do know that in the "olden days" when people would let their cream set out for days before they made butter, what they would have left was buttermilk. And they would use that to make biscuits or maybe even pancakes. If you know more than I do about dairy, enlighten me please!
Here's my butter after I dumped it into a bowl. Looks an awful lot like ice cream, don't you think?
Everything up to that point I kind of cheated on seeing how I used a Kitchen Aide mixer instead of my own two hands and a butter churn, but these next few steps are almost exactly how my great grandmother would have done it. If she ever made butter. On the island of Samoa. Sitting amongst the palm trees.
She most likely would have used a wooden butter paddle where I am using a plastic frosting spreader. Same diff. What I'm going to do is press the butter, like I'm spreading it, against the side of the bowl. I'm going to do this repeatedly and I will notice that every time I do it, a little bit of liquid comes out of the butter. This, I have read, is a necessary step in making butter because if any of the liquid is left in the butter, it will make the butter become rancid. I don't like that word, "rancid." And I don't want it in my butter.
Then I'll add a little cold water and press that through the butter to "clean" it. See how I contorted my hand to do this step and get a picture of it for you at the same time. I'm so dedicated. When you first start this, the water will look cloudy. Pour that water out and add more water and keep doing that until the water is clear. Then you'll know your butter is clean.
And now, the final step. This one is a doozy because if you forget it, everyone will notice it. This is the moment we add salt. (Begin the hallelujah chorus) I'd suggest adding a pinch, depending on how much butter you made, mixing it and then tasting it. If it needs more, by all means, add more.
Then put it in your favorite butter container, like a butter bell, and enjoy. It's out of this world good and it really works for me!
Posted by Pamelotta at 10:44 PM