Back in the good ole' days, I remember in 4th grade making homemade butter. We were reading Little House in the Big Woods Laura Ingalls Wilder at the time and learning about the process of how the Ingalls family made things at their homestead. (You all remember them playing with the pig's bladder right? I won't forget that either!) I remember the day we learned about churning butter. The teacher brought in heavy cream, a ball glass pint jar and some salt. She added all of the ingredients into the jar and gave each one of us (I think there was at least 20 of us) a chance to shake the jar for a few seconds. By the time it reached the last student we had butter!
I remember her opening that jar and spreading fresh butter onto crackers for each of us. I can still remember the creamy and slightly salty taste. I've often thought back on that memory and wished to create my own butter at home. This time I'm more savvy about natural milk, and where my heavy cream comes from. I've also read up on cultured butter and the benefits of it.
Just in case you haven't heard of the term cultured butter, cultured butter is delicious butter created naturally by fermenting the butter. From Wikipedia - "Butter made from a fermented cream is known as cultured butter. During fermentation, the cream naturally sours as bacteria convert milk sugars into lactic acid. The fermentation process produces additional aroma compounds, including diacetyl, which makes for a fuller-flavored and more "buttery" tasting product."
If you've never tried your hand at making it from scratch, you really should give it a go. It's tangy, creamy, and oh so buttery!
- Natural Heavy Cream (that hasn't been pasteurized) Make sure you are getting your cream from a farmer that keeps his milking process clean.I've read about other recipes for making cream with buttermilk, sour cream, creme fresh, but this recipe covers the natural cream method.
- Pink Himalayan Sea Salt (or your salt of choice)
Pour your cream into a glass dish, and allow to sit at room temperature for 24 ours until you have a mildly sour cream. This can also be done by allowing your natural cream to sour in the refrigerator but it takes longer. I used about two cups of heavy natural cream for this batch.
Put your "soured cream" into the fridge until chilled.
Once your cream has chilled, pour it into the bowl of a food processor.
Start pulsing your cream, scraping down the sides if necessary until the cream begins to separate.
Once the separation has occurred, give it a couple more pulses just to make sure you've allowed all of the cream to give off it's whey. Now pour off as much whey as you can and add the butter to a clean bowl.
This next process is known as "washing & kneading" the butter. I like to use a wooden spatula to do the kneading and fresh filtered water. I want to make sure my butter is getting the best possible care.
Continue to use the spatula to knead your butter and wash it, dumping the "milky water & whey" off between each washing.
Once your butter yields no more milky water and the water is clean after a good kneading, you know you're done washing. Make sure all of the cloudy water is out of your butter, this is an important step to insure healthy longer lasting butter.
At this point you can mix in your pink Himalayan salt to taste or leave unsalted.
You can choose to add your butter to a mold, roll it in parchment paper and make a log or add it to your favorite vintage dish. My hubby added this piece of Blue Sapphire Fire King to my collection last year for my birthday. It makes a perfect butter dish.
This type of butter is great for spreading on freshly baked sourdough bread, crackers or melting over steamed veggies, anything you would add butter to, but not cook.
I hope this post inspires you to make cultured butter. It really is so easy and if the kids are around they will enjoy the process and helping you knead.