If you have never had homemade butter then you are in for a real treat. Homemade butter is softer, sweeter, moister and downright tastier than its store bought counterparts. Plus you can control exactly how much salt you add, and it’s an added bonus that people will be very impressed that you made your own butter.
If you think butter is bad for you then think again! As long as it comes from grassfed cows and is minimally processed (raw or only lightly pasteurized) then dairy is a much healthier options than margarines or refined vegetable oils. Learn more about why in my post about Why I Choose Raw Dairy.
I don’t make homemade butter for day-to-day use, but it’s a special treat for occasions like Thanksgiving or Christmas when I like to bake homemade rolls which compliment the butter perfectly. Bread and butter, meaning really good bread and butter, are some of my favorite foods in the world. It is so simple but in my mind nothing beats good room temperature salted butter slathered generously on a slice of soft freshly baked french baguette. It is ultimate comfort food.
Making bread is a learned skill, it is difficult for me to convey exactly how to make really good bread because it has so much to do with texture and intuition. It’s just something I’ve learned over many years of baking, but the good news is that making butter is really quite simple and I nailed it on the very first try!
Butter is basically the fat within cream. When you work cream beyond the point of whipped cream the fats begin to congeal and separate from the liquid in the mixture. All you need is some heavy cream and a stand mixer or food processor to whip up some butter of your own!
2 cups (1 pint) heavy cream
(makes 1 cup of butter)
sea salt (optional)
Use twice as much cream as the amount of butter you want. In a food processor or stand mixer add cream right out of the fridge and mix/whip on medium speed.
At first the cream will thicken, then turn into a whipped cream. This happens within 3-5 minutes. Next the cream will start to get chunky, this stage lasts longer than you’d think, at least 10-15 minutes.
Finally, the butter starts to completely separate from the liquid. Continue mixing on medium until you see a thick ball of butter and a pool of liquid at the bottom of the bowl which is a light, watery milky consistency.
This liquid is like a cross between buttermilk and whey, you can use it for baking or cooking if you’d like. With a rubber or silicone spatula press the butter up against the side of the bowl and gently pour the milky liquid away.
Then you want to “wash” the butter with some ice water. Pour about a half cup of ice water (just the water, none of the ice) over the butter, mix and press the butter together, then drain the water away. Repeat this washing step two more times, the water should be much more clear the third wash. This step helps the butter to keep longer.
Once washed, if you want salted butter add in sea salt to taste, then press the butter into a small bowl or dish. I like to put a hash pattern on top with a fork, then chill in the fridge until needed. It will continue to throw off water, which can be poured off.
I like to take it out 30-60 minutes before serving so it can come to room temperature. This goes best with fresh baked bread, but it’s really delicious on nearly anything.