Homemade Butter! Before I became a locavore (local foodie), I had assumed that we no longer made butter because it was a long and tedious task. In my head were thoughts of a woman hunched over laboring over a churn to have butter at the table ready for breakfast. That and the deceiving notion that butter is bad for us led me to buy chemical induced margarine. Hey, I thought it was healthier. Isn’t that what they told us?
It turns out that butter is excellent source of vitamins, anti-tumerogenic fatty acids, anti-microbial fatty acids, and dietary cholesterol. Cream has the same properties as butter, but butter is like concentrated cream – with all the health benefits, plus it cooks up real nice and lends wonderful flavors that can’t be duplicated no matter how much companies try to mimic the flavor with margarine.
For more technical information – Visit a butter post on, Cooking for Engineers.
When I received my Mother Earth News magazine in the mail, it had a beautiful article on how to make butter and cultured butter (Online version of the article). I knew it was time! The article showed how easy it is to make, so I called a sweet woman in town who gave me some wonderful FRESH cream to make cultured butter.
What is cultured butter? Cultured butter is “fresh” cream that is left out at room temperature to ferment. Because “fresh” cream is naturally full of benign bacteria, “fresh” cream ferments and sours on it’s own, without the addition of a bacterial culture. Fermentation by lactobacillus bacteria changes the chemistry of cream, making it’s flavors more complex. Culturing brings depth of flavor to butter and really does create a fine line between butter and cheese.
Mother Earth News also explained that the best time to make butter is during the Spring and early summer when cows are out to pasture and eat grass high in beta-carotene.
Note* Make sure to buy local cream. When buying local, you know that the cows have been pasture raised and are hormone/chemical free. If you are going to be making butter from pasteurized milk, the best and sweetest butter is from Jersey Cows! Conventional dairies do not use Jersey cows, however, our local Picket Fence Creamery does!! Their cream is AWESOME!
Homemade Cultured Butter
- “Fresh” cream or Picket Fence Creamery Cream
- 1/4 tsp, per 4 oz butter, kosher/sea salt
Culturing the cream
- Let cream ferment at preferably 60 degrees (basement) from 8 hours to 1 week.
- After fermenting at 60-degree temp, you can further develop flavor by leaving the cultured cream in the refrigerator for days, or even a week or two.
If using pasteurized milk, you will need to use a commercial culture. Purchase a culture for creme fraiche, sour cream or buttermilk. If you make filmjolk or kefir, you can also use that.
Making your butter
- Once you’ve cultured your butter, you can use a food processor or stand mixer with the whisk attachment.
I used a mini food processor which inevitably made it a longer process. I had to make it in batches. If I were to have a normal sized processor or stand mixer, it would only take one batch.
- Pour your cream into the processor or mixer. During this time, watch as the cream goes through 3 phases. It will turn to cream, get grainy and lastly break into chunks of butter swishing in the buttermilk.
- Drain the buttermilk to reserve for baking and place the butter into a large bowl. You will now drain the excess buttermilk from the butter by keeping it on the side of the bowl and turning it over onto itself. Repeat this until you get as much buttermilk out of the butter as you can.
- Wash the butter. Once you have drained as much buttermilk out of the butter, place the butter on the bottom of the bowl and cover with water. Continue to fold the butter over itself draining out more buttermilk. Change water as needed and continue until the water runs clear.
- Remove the rest of the water by again placing the butter on the side of the bowl and folding it over until no more water remains in the butter. At this time you can add salt to the butter. 1/4 tsp per 4 oz of butter and mix through.
- You’re done!! It’s really that easy. I recommend at this time to either toast some bread, get out a muffin or croissant and eat it! It’s so smooth, silky and deliciously creamy! There is nothing like it.
- To preserve, wrap it in parchment paper and keep in the fridge. I’m sure it won’t last very long!