I’ve been curious about making my own butter now for a little while. Since I received my beautiful KitchenAid Stand Mixer for Christmas 3 years ago, to be exact. However, it seems to be getting harder and harder to find butter for sale in stores for under $3.00, and we use a fair amount of it. I grew up using margarine for everything, but my husband loves butter and, in the past 8 years, I’m afraid I’ve become a bit of a butter snob.
|Just Plain Old Whipping Cream in the Mixer|
I had heard that it’s actually cheaper to make your own butter than buy it, so when I found heavy cream on sale at Shopper’s Drug Mart yesterday for $0.80/250mL, I thought that I should give it a go.
|Watch out – now’s the time to cover the mixer!|
I read a few articles and blogs online about the process, and they all seemed to say more or less the same things – except that most of the blogs didn’t put as much of an emphasis on cleaning the butter as best as you can before storing it in the fridge. This is important, because the more ‘buttermilk’ that’s left in/on your butter at the end, the faster it will spoil & smell like expired milk, even in the fridge.
|Skip this step & your kitchen will be MESSY!|
<anecdote>Bear with me for a funny story: My mom grew up on a farm in the ’50s & ’60s, and as the youngest child, she and her closest-in-age brothers would be in charge of shaking the fresh cream into butter. My grandma would pour it into mason jars & seal the jars, then my mom and my uncles would go to work shaking, shaking, shaking until the butter separated from the whey/buttermilk, at which point they’d turn the jars over to my grandma. One of my uncles decided that there was a machine that existed which could do the job a lot better & faster than they could, so he proceeded to convince the others to pour the cream into the washing maching. You can guess how well that turned out for everyone and everything involved. They did not make a habit of doing that again. </anecdote>
|Finally: the separation happens.|
The process of making butter today (if you have a stand mixer) is simple, easy, & doesn’t require an ounce of exertion. Follow these steps, and you’ll be a pro with homemade butter in less than twenty minutes! As a note, you can use however much heavy cream you’d like, but you should end up with equal parts butter & buttermilk when you’re done. I used 500mL cream and ended up with 250mL buttermilk at the end.
|Fresh Butter + Buttermilk|
- Pour cream into a chilled mixing bowl.
- With whisk attachment, mix on med-high speed. It’ll take about 8 minutes to get to the next step.
- When cream becomes thick/buttery, cover your mixer. It’s about to get messy.
- Keep it mixing. When you start to hear sloshing & splashing, you’re almost there. Let mix for another 2 minutes.
- Uncover mixer, put colander/strainer over another bowl, and drain the liquid (buttermilk) into other container. Return butter to mixing bowl, mix on high for another 2 minutes. You want to remove as much of the buttermilk as possible. This step is to help force the excess liquid out of the butter.
- Strain again. Return butter to mixing bowl, add salt (I added 3/4 tsp for 500mL cream). Mix again for 2 minutes. Strain over sink. If your’e going to use the buttermilk for baking, you don’t want to have the now-salted buttermilk added to your stash.
Continue Rinsing Until Water Remains Clear
- Rinse out mixing bowl with ice cold water, fill with ice cold water, & kneed the butter in water for several minutes, squeezing to let out trapped buttermilk.
- Dump water, rinse butter, repeat kneading process in fresh ice cold water.
- Repeat step 8. This is to remove as much of the buttermilk as possible from the butter.
- When water is finally clear/not cloudy, shake off excess water, shape, & wrap to store in fridge. Handle as little as possible with your hands, as you don’t want the butter to melt while you’re shaping it.
- Refrigerate buttermilk for use in a baking recipe.
If you can find butter on sale for under $3, it’s probably cheaper to buy it. However, if butter is not on sale but cream is, it’s cheaper to make your own butter. Plus, you get the by-product of buttermilk, which is useful in baking and saves you from buying some or using the milk in your fridge.