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How to Make Butter

How to Make your own butter.

Why am I qualified to tell you how to make your own butter?

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This is why.

I make a lot of butter.  I have a Jersey cow.  Who loves me and gives me lots and lots of cream.  A girl can only eat so much ice-cream.  I just can’t let the beautiful jersey cream go to the pigs – so I make butter.

Because of my many butter failures experiences, I can tell you how to make sweet, perfect butter every time.

Steps to Making Butter:

  1. Churn the cream until the butter “comes”
  2. Strain off buttermilk (reserve for baking or consuming)
  3. Wash the butter
  4. Dry the butter
  5. Salt if desired
  6. Store

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A sweet girl taught me how to make butter 3 years ago.   She was 7 when she taught me how.  She and her brother were staying with me for a few days.  I had some fresh milk with cream sitting on top and she asked me if I made butter.  I told her I didn’t know how.  So, she showed me.  It was life changing.  I no longer get my butter from Kroger.

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Start with some  cream.  I have raw cream from the 800 pound pet in my front yard.  However, heavy whipping cream from anywhere will do the trick.

#1 CHURN THE BUTTER

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Pour the cream in your mixer.  I use my Bosch Universal Mixer to make butter.  It can handle over a gallon of cream at one time.  To learn more about the Bosch & why I love it go here.

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Put the lid on your mixer & wrap it with a towel.  This way you won’t spend the next hour of your life cleaning buttermilk off the back splash, counters, and floor of the kitchen.

Turn the mixer on high and wait for the butter to “come.”  Yes, that is the correct word traditionally used when making butter. This takes about 5 minutes with my mixer.  It will “come” faster if the cream sits on the counter for a couple of hours before making the butter.

The cream will go through several stages before the butter breaks, or comes.

  • It will double in size into whipped cream.
  • Then it will deflate.
  • It will get big again.
  •  Then it will get clumpy like the whole batch has spoiled and you’ve ruined it.

Don’t loose hope,  you are almost there!

Suddenly, your mixer will sound different.  Look into the top of your mixer and you will see yellow clumps and a thin liquid splashing around in circles.   Congratulations!

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You made butter!

See the bright yellow butter clumps swimming in the thin creamy liquid?  The yellow clumps are the butter.  The thin liquid is buttermilk.  You not only made butter – you made buttermilk too.

Technically, you didn’t really “make” it.  I’d say it was in there the entire time,  you just transformed the cream into butter and buttermilk.

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Here’s another picture of the butter.  It is best to catch the butter and stop the “churning” when the clumps are the size of peas.  If you happen to be in the bathroom or upstairs, or outside when your butter “comes” and do not turn off the mixer your butter clumps will eventually become one giant clump that will be impossible to wash.

Don’t be like me.  Turn off the “churning” as soon as you see yellow butter the size of peas.  You will be much happier during the “washing” step.

#2 STRAIN OFF THE BUTTERMILK

The next step is to strain off the buttermilk.

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Place a lint free towel (or a couple layers of cheese cloth) into a large colander.

Next place that colander into a bowl. The purpose of the bowl is to catch the butter milk.

Once everything is all set pour the entire contents from your mixer into the towel.

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Here you can see that I am holding up the colander (which is filled with butter clumps right now).

The buttermilk is draining into the bowl below.  At this point the buttermilk can be transferred into a storage container and placed in the refrigerator for future use.

Let’s get back to the butter.

#3 WASH THE BUTTER

Right now it is sitting in our colander (that is lined with the towel) and it needs to be washed.

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Even though you just strained off the majority of your buttermilk, there are still traces of it laced throughout your butter.  If you don’t wash all the buttermilk off the butter, the buttermilk will cause your sweet butter to sour quickly.

To prevent this, all you need to do is rinse it well with cold water.

Grab a pitcher and fill it with ice, then cool water.  Ice water will keep your butter firm.  If you don’t use cold water the butter may melt and wash down your sink.  That would make me cry.  Please use Cold, Cold water, so I don’t have to cry.

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Pour some of the ice water over the butter.  See how cloudy the water is?  That’s the buttermilk mixing with the water making it cloudy.  We want to continue pouring fresh, clean, cold water on the butter to get all the buttermilk rinsed away.

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Gently move the butter clumps around with a pink, rubber spatula.  Just kidding.  You can use a spatula, a wooden spoon, whatever you have in your hand.

After the water drains through, pour more clean, ice water over the butter.  The water will drain through again, and you pour some more clean, ice water over the butter again.

As long as your water turns cloudy after pouring it onto your butter, then there is still buttermilk lurking in there somewhere.  Keep rinsing.

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Continue this process until the liquid around the butter is clear.  When the water stays clear – you know the butter is clean.

#4 DRY THE BUTTER

Time to dry the butter.

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Next we need to squeeze all the water out.  There is some water hanging around in that butter & it must go.  We don’t want watery butter.  Begin by twisting the towel or cheesecloth tightly around that hunk of butter and squish.  Squeeze.  Harder.  Tighter.  Put some muscle into it!

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When you think you can’t get another drop out, put it on the counter between 2 towels.

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Take your hairy arm and use your elbow & forearm to mash, mush, squash, push, keep on mashing it until both towels are wet.  Then turn the towels so you have a dry spot, turn the butter clump and continue mashing & squishing that butter.

Get all the moisture out.

#5 SALT THE BUTTER

The last step is to salt the butter if desired.

I am going to salt my butter.  You could take this ball of butter and store it & use it & love it.  But, if you like salted butter, this is when you salt it.

There are a couple of reasons you may want to add salt.  One is for taste.  I like salted butter.  I prefer to use salted butter.  I prefer to cook with salted butter.  The second reason you may want to salt your butter is to increase the shelf life.  Unsalted butter will last a couple of weeks in the fridge. Salted butter will last a month or longer. Salt is a preservative.  My salted butter will stay fresh and taste great sitting on the counter room temperature for almost 2 weeks.

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To easily mix salt into the butter I am going to use my Bosch Mixer again (the one I used to make the butter).

After the mixer is good and clean (and dry) add your fresh (room temperature) butter to the bowl.  To make this easier on the mixer be sure your butter is room temperature and broken into smaller pieces.

I add 1 teaspoon of salt for each pound of butter.

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Whip it so the salt is evenly distributed & the butter is ready for storage.

#6 STORE THE BUTTER

I wanted sticks.  I wanted to be able to grab 2 sticks of butter.  Unfortunately, I could not find butter molds for sale anywhere that would give me sticks.  I could get cow shaped butter, flower shaped butter, pig shaped butter, rectangular shaped butter pounds.  There were dozens of butter molds, but no sticks.

I had to be creative.  I wanted the equivalent of 2 sticks of butter in each package,  so I put my kitchen scale to use.

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I weigh out 8 oz. of my fresh butter, which equals 2 sticks, which equals 1 cup.   I then store my butter in 8oz balls.  The perfect measurement for almost every recipe I own.  If I need 1 stick instead of 2 I just cut the butter ball in 1/2.

Now, almost all my recipes begin with “Melt 1 ball of butter.”

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8 ounces.  Wrap it in plastic wrap.

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Here is our butter for the day.

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I’m going to put them into the freezer with their friends.  Did I mention that I make a lot of butter?

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I’m keeping a little out for the kids to smear on some bread.

See how yellow it is?  It is because this butter is raw.  The cream has not been pasteurized or homogenized which means all the vitamins and minerals and good bacteria are still intact.  Vitamins equal color.  🙂

Vitamin K is what gives butter its yellow color.  Raw butter has more vitamin K so it is more yellow.

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