I’m so pleased the dark cloud of doom has been lifted, the fear that one bite of bread slathered with butter would most definitely cause your early demise. For years we have heard, margarine and other spreads must be used rather than butter if you don’t want to die a horrible early death, I have been fighting this all my life. I have never been able to understand how something they try to pass of as palatable, made totally of manmade ingredients can be better for your health then a natural product. Ok I may have exaggerated slightly about the warning, but warning it has been.
Today butter is so popular we are spoilt for choice. Next time you are shopping at your local supermarket you will most likely find an array of brands, salted, unsalted, organic, Australian made or imported from Denmark. Enter a delicatessen and the range increases, Italian, French, salted, un-salted, semi-salted, hand churned artisan Australian made, there are quite a few localized and country-wide companies just making butter, such is the demand.
Although I encourage and support buying local, I have to be honest one of my little treats, is the occasional purchase of a roll of Lescure, a luxurious brand imported from France, resplendent in its gold wrapper. It is as much about taste which is divine as memories of various trips I have made throughout the years.
Opening the bundle and that first taste transports me to far away places and wonderful memories. Particularly breakfasts of baguette and butter, slowly enjoying every mouthful as I ponder what exciting and new adventures await me.
I have in recent years taken to making my own butter, I go through stages, some times I will make a batch every week, other times I make a large batch and freeze some to keep me going for the next couple of weeks.
Butter is so simple to make with 1 ingredient, cream. You can even make it in a simple jar with a rock scrubbed clean, you just need to have an agitater for the cream, a terrific thing to get the kids to do. Far too much hard work for me.
I use my fabulous butter churner or my Kitchen aid stand mixer.
This Kilner butter churner is so easy to use – although only makes smaller batches, which is often all I need. The plus is it keeps everything enclosed and no splatters. It was a fabulous gift from friends that know my obsession for kitchen tools (toys).
If you wish to make cultured butter then you require a second ingredient a live culture.
Cultured butter has a tang. This style is very popular in Europe, it is richer the non cultured, apparently it makes for better baking. I do notice when I make butter without adding the culture it does tend to be a little less rich and perhaps more crumbly. But not to any great degree making cultured butter adds another ingredient and a little waiting time for the culture to take.
If it is your first time, I would suggest just making butter with cream and if you think it is something you want to ‘get into’ try the cultured variety.
Cultured Butter Step: add 2 tablespoons of natural ‘live’ yoghurt or a powdered yoghurt culture as per instructions, to 600 mls – 1 litre of cream in an airtight container, leave on your kitchen bench for 12 to 24 hours. The longer the time the stronger the flavour.
Place in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to cool down.
I buy my cultures from Mad Millie if I can’t get to my local stockist. I do make yoghurt regularly so tend to have some on hand.
The following recipe is using 600 mls of pure cream, as this is an available size in our local supermarkets. 600mls yields about 200-250 grams of butter and about 200 mls of butter milk. If I am making a larger batch I will go with a litre of cream. I am very lucky as we have a number of local suppliers that sell farm fresh pure cream in 1 litre and 2 litre containers. I feel very decadent when I ask for ‘2 litres of cream please’, little things make me happy.
Your cream must be pure cream. NOT double, whipping or dollop as these have other additives that will change your butter if they work at all, I must admit I havent tried. The yield will also vary according to the time of the year, especially if your cream is straight from the farmer. In short making butter is not an exact science, it is hard to go wrong.
Now simply follow the steps below:
- 600 mls pure cream
- Place the cream in a mixing bowl, using the paddle attachment on low-speed.
- The cream will whip and then soon after you will see small granules of butter start to appear and the buttermilk start to separate.
- When the buttermilk and granules have separated drain the buttermilk off – keep this (in the freezer if you like) as it is fantastic for baking, pancakes and even in mashed potatoes.
- In another bowl add cold water with ice cubes, I use my freezer blocks, the butter needs to be ‘washed’ to remove all of the butter milk.
Not a pretty picture I know.
- Once you have given the butter a good rinse, shape the butter.
- Using your hands or butter paddles (I use my hands at first and then the paddles for final shaping) squeeze the butter to remove as much moisture as possible. If too much moisture remains it can alter the taste and texture of the butter.
Note in the picture below a few drops of the buttermilk, I need to ‘wash’ this butter a little more.
- This takes about 4-5 minutes. At this final stage you can also add salt if required or any other flavour.
Freshly made butter usually has a 7-10 life, but does freeze well.
This short shelf life make me wonder why, butter bought in the supermarket tends to have a 6-10 months shelf life – what has been added? How can that be god for us?
If you havent had the joy of using fresh buttr recently please give it a go- it is a taste sensation.
*Note if you are using an electric mixer, once the butter granules and buttermilk start to separate it can become a little messy, if I am using my Kitchenaid stand mixer I do tend to place a clean tea towel across the top of the bowl to catch the spatters
One of my local cream suggestions. This is readily available from supermarkets, if you don’t have a local farmer’s markets.