Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Works for me Wednesday

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!


~Mary~ 4boys4me said...

I think it's still called buttermilk. :)
We've made butter just as a Science experiment, but shaking whipping cream in a jar. It's very cool but we don't get much.

Amy said...

You're right, I'm not going to be trying this any time soon. But it's an interesting read. And I now feel a lot better about the $6.50 a gallon I spend on organic soymilk.

How much butter did you get out of the six cups of cream?

Edi said...

We were feeling a bit pioneer-ish yesterday (well the kids have been lately)...so we made butter too. But we used some rather unsophisticated method...

take one little carton of heavy whipping cream, pour into empty, clean, plastic, instant coffee container. Screw on lid nice and tight. Take turns shaking.

It turned out beautifully.

Pamelotta said...

I got the equivalent of a stick of butter on this batch, but that was unusual. I usually get about half that much.

Laura said...

Oh, I'm so with you on the pioneer wanna be thing! We love fresh butter from our raw milk too! Just saying the word butter makes me happy. Or cream. That makes me happy too! :)

a suburban housewife said...

It is still buttermilk :) It just isn't cultured. If you have a child who is slightly underweight, this would be a perfect beverage every once in a while!

Francesca said...

Oh my freaking goodness. I got tired just watching this mess. I will stick to my stick and allow you to shine. I have to go take a nap now.

CC said...

Wow! What a great tutorial! A little too much work for me... My son made some at preschool but putting cream in a baby food container and shaking and shaking it. I hope he didn't have to do all the other steps your described! ;)

Erica P said...

this one is alllllll you.

High in Demand said...

Hmmm, I'm just trying to figure out what to say. I'm thinking Francesa summed it up for me.

Why is it that my brain doesn't even know that one can make butter? I thought it grew in grocery stores or something like that.

anniepooinclyde said...


High in Demand said...

You know I'm just jealous of your butter making skills, your growing vegetable skills, your having babies at home skills.

suzof7 said...

I'd love to try this some day soon! I need to get my hands on some raw milk. Great tutorial! Love the Kitchen Aid usage! Love.

I'm drooling just thinking about it. How many people eat this? Because in our house of seven people, we can go through a stick in a meal...

mccobbey said...

What beautiful butter! So when can I come over for some home made bread and home made butter and home made jam?

Ooh. That sounds good right about now.

trish said...

Hey I 'll place my order for two tubs now! Trade ya some hummus or whatever else you'd like to barter. I am still waiting for movie night with baited breath. Have you seen the Jane Austen Movie?

Anonymous said...

Pam! Thanks so much! Ever since life group the other night, Cole has been wanting to buy raw milk. I said we should start getting it when Justus is a year old, but I don't know if Cole can wait that long. Whenever we do, I'm sure I'll give this home-made butter thing a try!

Alison said...

Awww, now I want to make butter with you in addition to salsa. But we have to do it at your house, because your junk drawer, even at its worst, still looks way better than my counters. I'd be too embarassed.

Jet Pass said...

The pioneer woman could learn a thing or two from you.

Great shots and insturctions.

Anonymous said...

It is still buttermilk, my hubby and I make butter and then freeze the buttermilk for pancakes or any other recipe that calls for buttermilk. . . We can usually get a stick worth of butter out of 2 cups of cream. . Hmm I wonder if we're doing something funky!