- Author: L. Watts
Betty Botter bought some butter,
"But, " she said, "This butter's bitter.
"If I buy a bit of better butter, it will make my bitter butter better!"
So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter and made her bitter butter better.
Anyone remember this tongue twister? Anyone. . . Any one?
Well, that Betty could have avoided the bitter butter and made a batch of MUCH better butter if she had only purchased some heavy cream and made her own, un-bitter butter.
How do I know this? I just made a pound of absolutely delicious butter all by my lonesome last week. What does butter making have to do with food preservation? Lots, because if you use fermented cream to make butter, you make it slightly more acidic, which helps to preserve it in the fridge and it improves the flavor!
Butter from the store can vary in taste, from salty and heavy to sweet and light, from simple milk flavors to rather complex, deep buttery flavors. Sad to say though, most butter I have experienced from a grocery store is just plain old butter--and sometimes it is hap-hazardly made, too salty or greasy. I have tasted "European" or "fermented" butters (butters make with fermented, "ripened" cream) and love the flavors, but I can only get these in my local stores by paying a premium price, if I can find it at all. The most common example of fermented in my area is Plugra, which I like and can find, sometimes, at not-too-outrageous price.
Now I have been thinking about making butter for quite some time. I researched the internet, saved recipes, read instructions. Finally I got inspired and decided to make butter. The best yield for butter was supposed to be from heavy whipping cream, so off I went to find some. Sadly, brand after brand of heavy whipping contained cream (like duh!) AND a thickener/stabilizer of some sort, like carageenan or some sort of gum. What?
Finally I found organic heavy whipping cream at Trader Joe's: ingredients--nothing but cream. I had found my cream for my butter. It soon resided in my fridge, two pints of it. It continued to reside in my fridge, because I kept forgetting to make butter. Cultured buttermilk was purchased to use to make my cream ferment--and I still kept forgetting the butter making.
After using some of the buttermilk, I finally remembered to set my cream in a bowl in the evening, add some buttermilk, cover it and let it ripen. I followed the recipe at the link below and oh my goodness, gloriosky and pass the -- BREAD!! I made delicious, fresh, tasty butter from that ripened cream.
The procedure is so easy, you must give it a try at least once. The hardest thing about making this recipe was washing the butter, and then squeezing all the excess clean water out of the butter. These actions will give you some real arm fatigue, for sure, but every effort and minute I spent was well worth it. It has a depth of flavor that makes me just want to eat it all in slabs on good bread. (This reminds me, I MUST freeze what butter is left; I have eaten waaaaaay too much on bread alone this past week!)
Make a bit of better butter and FORGET that store-bought "bitter" butter!
Many thanks to The Kitchn! at: http://www.thekitchn.com/
1 pint (2 cups) heavy cream, preferably organic and not ultra-pasturized
2 tablespoons plain yogurt (optional)(DO NOT use this if you wish "plain" style "sweet" butter; "sweet" means unfermented butter--L. Watts)
Scant 1/4 teaspoon of salt (optional) (and this amount is enough, though a little more would be ok--L. Watts)
2 or 3 cups of ice water, for washing the butter
--Optional culturing equipment:
Measuring cups and spoons
Clean kitchen cloth
--To make the butter:
Cheesecloth or clean napkin
Bowl for catching buttermilk
Stand mixer, hand mixer, food processor, or canning jar (or other covered container)
Plastic wrap or kitchen cloth
Spatula or wooden spoon
Clean containers for butter and buttermilk
Waxed paper or parchment paper (optional)
Culture the cream (optional): The day before you would like to make your butter, pour the cream into a bowl (I like to use the bowl of my stand mixer) and add the yogurt. Whisk briefly to combine and cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Set in a slightly warm place (about 70°F - 75°F) to culture. Check after 8 to 12 hours. The cream is ready when it has thickened slightly and is a little foamy. It will smell slightly sour and tangy. This can possibly take an additional 12 to 24 (see Recipe Notes). Once it has cultured, place it in the refrigerator for about 1 hour to chill. → If you did not culture your butter, let it warm on the counter for about an hour (to about 60°F) before churning.
Prepare the sieve and mixer: Place a sturdy sieve over a bowl and line with a few layers of cheesecloth or a clean napkin. You can use a stand mixer, a hand mixer, a food processor, or a canning jar to churn your cream. (See Recipe Notes below if you want use a canning jar.)
Prepare the cream and mixer for churning: Place the cream in the bowl of your mixer or processor. Cover the top with plastic wrap or a kitchen towel to prevent splattering.
Churn the cream: Turn on the mixer to medium-high. The cream will first whip into peaks (at around 2 minutes) and then become grainy (around 3 minutes). Keep whipping until the solid mass (butter) and liquid (buttermilk) are separated (about 5 minutes total). The mixture will splatter heavily in the final stages of churning, so be sure the plastic wrap is secure. The process may take a little longer, up to 8 to 10 minutes, although it usually takes me less than 5 minutes.
Strain off the buttermilk: Pour the buttermilk through the cheesecloth and strainer, holding the butter solid back. Allow the buttermilk to strain through, then plop in the butter. Gather the cloth around the butter and press it hard with your fist. Do this several times to get as much buttermilk out of the butter as possible. Pour the buttermilk into a container, label and refrigerate.
Wash the butter: Rinse out the bowl used for buttermilk. Remove the butter from the cloth and place it in the bowl. Add 1/2 cup of ice water to the bowl, and using a spatula, press the butter into the ice water. It will quickly become cloudy with buttermilk. Pour off the cloudy water, add another 1/2 cup of ice water to the bowl, and keep pressing. Repeat until the water is clear. This may take up to 6 washings. The butter will firm up towards the end, so you may find it easier to use your hands.
Salt the butter (optional): Sprinkle the salt over the butter and knead in. Again, your hands may be the best tool here.
Store the butter. Pack the butter into a jar with a cover, or roll it into a log using waxed paper or parchment paper. The butter will keep in the refrigerator for about three weeks or can be frozen for several months.
Notes on culturing: Many factors will influence how long the cream takes to culture: ambient room temperature, how your cream was processed and pasteurized, how your yogurt was processed and pasteurized, etc. If the cream cultures too quickly and you're not ready to make the butter yet, simply put it into the refrigerator until you are ready. Just be sure you remove it about an hour before churning so that it can warm up a bit. Cultured cream will be thickened and slightly foamy, and it will have a somewhat tangy, almost yogurt-like smell. Trust your senses! If you feel it is too strong and has gone bad, just throw it away. But remember that the yogurt is introducing beneficial cultures that help prevent spoilage, so the likelihood of this happening is small.
Unplugged butter: You can skip the electric mixer/processor and simply shake your cream in a covered canning jar or well-sealed container until it forms into the butter mass. This can take a while, up to 20 minutes or more, so be prepared for a work-out or solicit some help.
Recipe can easily be doubled.