Gastronomy 101, a blog about food and Los Angeles restaurants

RECIPE: Homemade Butter

For some reason, butter seems like it would be incredibly hard to make. I think perhaps it has something to do with having grown up on Little House on the Prairie books and perhaps getting the idea that homemade butter is something that necessarily requires intense physical labor and equipment that one doesn't just have laying around the modern kitchen.

As a matter of fact, when I told people around my age I was going to try to make butter I invariably got asked whether I had a churn.

Well, guys ... it's modern times! And I am a modern girl. The recipe that gave me the inspiration to make butter was all by hand, although it requires nothing more than a bowl and whisk, since you're not making a whole cow's worth of butter. However, I haven't the peasant arms to pull that off, and even if I were inclined it wouldn't be the pleasant and relaxing task I envision when I set out to make something.

But I am a modern girl, and I've got modern equipment and a healthy dose of modern laziness. I've almost missed out on that contagious mistrust of all things manmade and technological in favor of the "natural" that seems to be spreading. If there's a machine that will make my job easier, let me at it.

So I abandoned my romantically rustic butter-in-a-wooden bowl recipe and turned to science to help me. I used this method from Cooking for Engineers, which is an awesome site for recipes for the science-minded, or just for good techniques and pictures.

It turned out to be so simple. I located some raw cream at the market and used that. I let the cream sour for the better part of the day before mixing it just to get some of that flavor. Basically after that, all you do is mix it. I was kind of afraid it wasn't going to mix right, but once it got to soft peak stage, it came together quickly and like magic.

Getting all the buttermilk out was the hard part. I put the butter in a cheesecloth first (as above) and let it drain for a while, then I wrapped it in the cloth and squeezed more out. THEN I put it in a bowl and kneaded it with a wooden spatula. Then I washed it. At the kneading stage I also added some salt.

Finally I formed it into a brick and wrapped it for the fridge. If I was more forward thinking, I would have divided it and frozen some. I didn't come nearly close to using it all in the three weeks it was good for. As for the taste ... it was almost exactly like the Kerrygold Irish butter if you have had that. Very rich and full flavored. I find that a little much to just put on toast, but it's good for baking and cooking.

The point is though ... making butter is super easy. It practically makes itself. So if you're curious, go ahead and try. If you have a stand mixer it's basically just a matter of babysitting.


You need a get a t-shirt that reads "Churn, baby, churn!" =D

said by Chubbypanda at 10:39 AM Delete

Creative Commons license The content on Gastronomy 101 may be reproduced under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 License.