The days of using a butter churn to make butter for the family are mostly over. The convenience of buying premeasured sticks at the store reigns supreme. We have become so accustomed to being able to pay for the convenience that we have stopped to question the freshness of that butter, or what preservatives are being used to make it sustainable. Make your own butter?!? It’s easier than you think! Thanks to modern technology replacing the old fashioned butter churn, butter making is actually a quick process! Once you taste the fruits of your labor, you won’t know how you ever did without it!
I started making my own butter about 6 years ago. I like to keep some stashed in the freezer so that I always have it on hand. Every Easter I shape it into a Buttered Lamb for my Polish husband. If you have no idea what I am talking about, click here for a photo and directions. You can also mold the butter in candy molds to make individual butter pats that will “WOW” the guests at your next dinner party or holiday meal! The pats freeze well so you can make well in advance and always have them on hand! Butter Pat directions are below, after the basic recipe. Be sure to only work with half the container of cream (approx. 1 cup) at a time, to ensure you don’t overflow the food processor. Been there, done that, and it’s a mess to clean up!
Prep Time: approx. 2 hours to warm to proper temp
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Makes: About 2 cups
- 1 quart pasteurized heavy cream* (whipping cream can be substituted)
- ½ tsp. salt, or to taste (can be omitted if you want unsalted butter)
*When buying heavy cream, it is okay for it to be pasteurized, but AVOID ultra-pasteurized. It won’t set properly. If you are substituting Whipping Cream the pasteurization rule still applies. It will say on the container if it’s pasteurized or ultra-pasteurized.
- Set cream on counter and allow to warm up to 60-65 degrees. It’s critical that the milk be between these temperatures for it to set properly. Use a kitchen thermometer to monitor the temperature. This step will take about 2 hours, but more or less depending on the temperature of the house, so monitor regularly.
- Once the cream is to the right temperature, pour half of the cream into a food processor fitted with a metal blade. Process cream until it looks like grains of rice. This will take between 5-8 minutes. Stop processing as soon as it gets to this stage.
- Let the butter sit for 5 minutes, then pour into a mesh sieve that you have placed in a large bowl. Allow the butter to drip off the excess milk in the sieve while you add the remaining cream to the processor and repeat step 2. Let the butter sits for 5 minutes, then add to the sieve with the first batch of butter. Save the liquid that drains off for another use.**
- Put the butter left in the sieve into a medium sized bowl. Using the back of a wooden spoon, knead the butter, pouring off the liquid you work out until it’s mostly gone.
- Add about ¼ cup of cold water, and work it through the butter to rinse it. As the water works through the butter, it will get cloudy as it rinses off the extra milk fats that remain. Pour off the cloudy water and add fresh cold water, working it through the butter again. Repeat this step a few times until the water stays mostly clear. It is important that the water is as cold as possible to keep it from melting the butter.
- Add ½ tsp. of salt and continue kneading until the butter is creamy and all liquid is worked out. Taste as you work to see if it needs more salt, and adjust to taste.
**Don’t throw the liquid away – it’s Buttermilk! I have cooked with it in baked goods a few times now, and it gives them a lighter and fluffier texture. It also adds richness to the flavor!
How to Make Butter Pats Using a Candy Mold:
You can purchase candy molds in the baking supply section of most craft stores, or online. They are plastic or silicone, and both work great! The possibilities of shapes are endless.
- When you finish working the salt into your butter, press spoonful’s of the butter into the individual candy molds, ensuring that you pack it in there as best as you can to ensure there aren’t air pockets. If the mold is clear, you can flip it over to check.
- Once you have the mold filled, place it in the freezer to let the butter harden. This makes it easy to pop it out of the mold like ice cubes. Leave it in the freezer for at least an hour.
- Flex the mold in all directions to loosen the butter from the sides. Turn it over and let the butter pats fall out on a piece of waxed or parchment paper, continuing to twist and flex as needed until they all come out.
- If you are using the pats in the next day or two, wrap them up in wax paper and put in the refrigerator in an air tight container or bag. If you are storing them in the freezer, wrap them in layers of parchment paper, then place in a freezer storage bag, pressing out any excess air from bag.
Pull the butter pats out of the freezer and allow thawing for about 2 hours before use. Place them on individual little dishes at each place setting to add pizazz to any dinner party or holiday dinner!
I would love to hear how your butter turns out! Decide to make a Butter Lamb? Send a picture to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I may just publish it for you!
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