So let me begin by saying this. This process is incredibly simple and VERY worthwhile, especially if you’re making something special where you want butter to shine. Toast, muffins, biscuits, pancakes, hollandaise, etc. It truly is exquisite and when you make cultured butter, you are left with buttermilk. To make buttermilk biscuits to show off your butter. Alas, I realized this after I got rid of the buttermilk because it’s not something I thought I would use in the next week or two. Especially since we’re trying to watch our diet during the week. But this little “experiment” of mine was a stunning success and I will be making butter on a regular basis. Cost-wise it’s pretty much a wash in some respects. Butter costs about as much as the amount of cream to produce it. On the other hand, if you were to buy this quality of butter, it would cost much more than the cream. So if you are taking out a mortgage on your home to upgrade your butter taste, this will save you a bundle. If not, it will just make your taste buds sing.
I will say that I think one of the reasons this tastes so amazing is I used very high quality salt at the end. I may try it again with just commercial sea salt. However, my thoughtful sister knows my love of butter is only matched by my love of salt. And she gave me salt in abundance for Christmas. I can’t wait to incorporate them all. Saffron butter, truffle butter, herb butter, fiori (literally, ground flowers) butter, and porcini butter. All are flavored salts she bestowed on me from the salt gods last December. Along with this darling little silver spoon which is truly all you need. So they last a really long time. Yesterday and today I used my little tin of hand harvested sea salt. Incorporating it by hand caused the butter to warm from body heat. My feelings were not hurt to find my hands covered in homemade melting butter. It was seriously better than frosting. And as much as I didn’t think culturing would make a difference because the uncultured butter was so delicious, the difference was astounding! Both are mouthwatering but if you have enough notice (overnight), cultured is the way to go.
The process is pretty straightforward. I always wonder who thought to change the molecular structure of food to see what happens. It is so wondrous to watch. The same thing happened to me the first time I made caramel from scratch. You heat sugar over medium-low heat while constantly stirring. For awhile nothing happens. Then suddenly the sugar seizes up into cement and you’re all “crap, I had the heat too high/didn’t stir enough/didn’t watch closely enough”. You’re about to chunk the entire pan when something beautiful happens: The cement suddenly melts and turns into amber caramel viscous delight.
Something similar happens with cream. I chilled the stainless bowl with ice prior to the uncultured process and dumped the ice, dried the bowl and dumped in the refrigerated cream. For uncultured butter, the cream goes into a room temperature bowl along with 2 tbsp of PLAIN yogurt (1tbsp per 1 cup of cream). Whisk it together and cover at room temperature for 12 hours (70-75F). I do it overnight. Throw the bowl in the fridge after the 12hrs so the temp can drop before whipping. I leave it in there for at least an hour. You can see below the difference in the appearance of the cream. The rest of the process is the same.
You can also do this by hand in a mason jar too but it’s my understanding you practically lose your arm shaking it long enough to separate. Luckily my trusty Kitchen Aid mixer is up for the task. Hook up the wire whisk, put it on the second to highest speed and just walk away for awhile. As you periodically check, you will see it firm up into whipped cream, seize up into what looks like butter (it’s not, keep going) and then your heart will plummet into your stomach when you hear something that sounds like a 2 year old in a bathtub. OH NO! You’re cream has turned into white water!! What did you do wrong??? Nothing, keep going. Suddenly the mixer tone changes and sounds like it’s really working. What is that beautiful waxy blob on your whisk?? Why, that’s BUTTER!! Left in the bowl is buttermilk (if you cultured…if you didn’t, it just kind of tastes like skim milk which it is because you just removed all the fat, right?). Strain the buttermilk into a jar and refrigerate if you wish.
Isn’t that butter beautiful? Yes, yes it is. But we’re not done yet. Throw it in a cheesecloth covered strainer over a bowl, wrap and squeeze as much buttermilk out as you can. Then pour ice water over and squeeze. Do this a few times (1-2 cups) until your water is squeezing out mostly clear.
Gingerly remove the butter from the cheesecloth. I do this very carefully because the butter wants to stick as it warms and I want to lose as little as possible. At this point you can refrigerate or freeze to have unsalted butter for baking. I personally do not believe in unsalted butter. I think it’s disgracing to the butter. It’s akin to a beauty queen with no tiara. Butter deserves salt. It’s earned it after all that squeezing.
But be temperate. I’m not generally good at moderation with salt but it would disgrace the butter even more if I had to throw it away. I used one little tiny spoonful and it was exactly right. Start with a dash and go from there. I incorporate with a spatula. You can see these flakes of salt are rather large so they don’t melt all the way into the butter but neither Staci or I have a problem with that. Now swoop a finger in there and taste that miracle of physics. Am I right??? I know….no words. Let’s all take a moment of silence in reverence to the butter.
Let me know if you give this a try and what you use it for. I’m always up for another reason to use butter!
Have a wonderful week…happy reading, joyous cooking and spread the love!