If you’ve never tasted homemade butter, please take note: It’s delicious! It’s also fresher and creamier than store-bought butter. It’s easy to make, too. Just pour some heavy cream into your food processor, and you can acquire a cupful of bragging rights in exactly 10 minutes.
I was in the third grade at Adams Elementary School when I first tasted homemade butter. Our teacher, Miss Dokken, poured cream into a mason jar, and then let each child in the class shake the jar for 30 seconds. What fun! As the jar passed from student to student, the cream thickened and then separated into two components: watery buttermilk and solid butter. Dokken strained the butter at home. And the next morning, she presented us with the finished product, along with four loaves of delicious-smelling yeast bread, still warm from her oven. What a feast.
I know what you’re thinking. “That was a lovely story, Kevin. Now where’s the buttah?”
Alrighty then. Let’s get this party started.
Pour the cream into your food processor, making sure that you do not exceed the machine’s liquid fill-line. My 14-cup processor was able to accommodate 1 pint of cream, which resulted in an entire cup — or the equivalent of two sticks (226 grams) — of butter.
Now press the “on” button, and…
After 2 or 3 minutes, the whipped cream will dramatically thicken to the consistency of cream cheese. Also, the cream will pull away from the sides of the bowl.
Miss Dokken was a strict disciplinarian. Her warden-like personality matched her appearance: gray hair, no make-up, and a fashion sense that never exceeded a housecoat. I and my classmates were deathly afraid of her. That is, until the butter-making business. Then she morphed into the hippest woman on earth.
After processing for another 2 minutes or so, you’ll hear a “sloshing” sound. The sound indicates the cream has separated into clumpy solids and cloudy liquid. Stop the processor.
The liquid, by the way, is uncultured buttermilk.
Then transfer the strained liquid to a jar or measuring cup. As you can see, my cream produced nearly a cup of liquid. You can drink this uncultured buttermilk, or use it in breads, mashed potatoes, and the like.
Use your impeccably clean fingers to knead the butter as the water runs over it, to encourage any remaining buttermilk to escape. Keep kneading under cold water until the liquid runs clear — about 1 minute.
You can, of course, knead in other ingredients, too. Like honey. Or chopped herbs. Or minced garlic.
Now grab a loaf of crusty bread, such as this homemade Sourdough Boule (recipe here).
As you’ve just seen, butter is really very simple to make at home. It’s screamingly delicious, too. I hope you’ll try it some day.
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