The following is a guest post from my dear friend Wardeh. If you’re not yet reading GNOWFGLINS then you should be as Wardeh is an unbelievable resource and a true inspiration.
With lots of cream around, I’ve got no choice but to make lots of butter! But I do have a choice about how often I make it — and I prefer to make it less often, in big batches and with less work. That’s how I do most of my cooking. Call me lazy or call me industrious, but that’s my style.
My family’s Jersey cow — Gracie — gives us wonderfully creamy milk. Besides drinking it, I turn our milk into a gallon of kefir a day as well as frequent batches of cheese. And we still have plenty to share with friends, to make butter and to give to our chickens as a soy-free feed (I’ve got a video about that last item here).
I sour milk for the chickens and for our butter at the same time. Normally, people chill their fresh whole milk, then skim off the cream that rises to the top and finally culture the milk and cream separately. But you can culture your milk and cream very simply, all at the same time.
You can do this whether or not you have your own cow by leaving raw, whole milk out at room temperature to clabber. Clabber is raw milk that spontaneously cultures from the naturally present beneficial organisms. It happens in the refrigerator over the course of several weeks (sour milk, anyone?) or it happens in a day or two at room temperature.
If your milk is fresh from milking, like mine is, the cream rises to the top while the whole mixture cultures. If the cream has already risen to the top, the milk and cream will culture in their respective layers. In either case, when all is said and done, about two days later (depending on room temperature), the cream will be thickened into sour cream and the milk set up quite like yogurt. At this point, you can skim the cream off for cultured butter, and send the soured milk to the chickens or eat it yourself as it is quite delicious! You can watch my video about this process here.
My big batch butter method starts with this cultured cream, which I save up in the fridge until I have a gallon or two for making butter. If I had a cold cellar, I could store it there. While it is waiting for its oh-so-important task of becoming butter, we eat some as sour cream.
How to Make A Big Batch of Cultured Butter
A quart of cream will yield about a pound of butter, give or take. I pretty much always use cultured cream, not only for the incredible sweet and sour complex flavors, but because cultured cream makes healthy probiotic, enzyme-rich butter. You can use sweet cream (or sour cream by your own method) to make a big batch of butter, too! By the way, here are instructions and pictures for making a smaller batch of butter in a food processor.
1. Fill a blender, food process or mixer bowl (or butter churn) half full with chilled cream. Don’t use an appliance (such as a Vita-Mix) that will warm up the cream. You’ll have to do multiple batches if the appliance bowl is small. In the pictures, I’m using my Bosch mixer with cookie paddles and its bowl fits a gallon of cream when filled halfway. Turn on to a low or moderate speed and mix until the cream passes through all stages on its way to butter solids.
2. Cream is whipped and fills the bowl. Now you know why you can only fill it halfway to start!
3. Cream is whipped with a coarse texture.
4. Butter solids are broken out of the mixture. Remove the butter solids to a large bowl, leaving the buttermilk behind. If the buttermilk is not stinky — as it can get when using very ripe cultured cream — you can use it for baking or soaking.
5. Wash the butter solids with cool water over and over and over, continually discarding the water and replenishing with fresh. If you make butter in small batches, you can wash the butter by pressing and folding it against the sides of the bowl with a wooden spoon. When the batch is large, it is just easier to use your hands.
6. When the water stays clear, you have clean butter. Drain the water and then keep using your hands (or the sides of the bowl) to press out any remaining water. Drain the water.
8. Shape butter into logs (or use a butter mold) and wrap in natural wax paper. Keeps a few weeks in cold storage, or many months in the freezer. (I pop wrapped logs in freezer bags for the freezer.)
And that’s it. I hope you’ll give butter making a try, whether a large or small batch. If you’ve not yet had cultured butter, you’re in for a treat!
Thanks, Shannon, for letting me visit today. Your blog is a long-time favorite. I look forward to your updates about moving and thriving off off-grid!
And thanks to Wardeh for sharing this great post. Do any of you make cultured butter?