I’ve Got Butter, Baby!

homemade butterThe battle with butter was not over. As I wrote the other day, I had problems with  my first attempt at home buttermaking. I had thought perhaps it was because the whipping cream I had was U.H.T. Pasteurized (UHT stands for “Ultra Heat Treated” or “Ultra High Temperature” depending on who is defining it).  Or it could also because of my crappy Kitchenaid blender. I’m still not sure why after three hours of whipping and beating, both mechanically and manually, I never did get butter with my first attempt. But I did not want to give up.

I managed to borrow an electric beater that has two beater thingies. It’s hand held. I also decided in spite of advice I had read, that I should let the cream warm up a bit after taking it out of the fridge. I had read in other forums that the cream should be cold and should be put into a chilled bowl. I don’t buy that. The blender I used the other day was certainly not chilled, but the cream came right out of the fridge and was pretty cold. Now, our ancestors never had any refrigeration and made butter quite well without chilling their butter churns or cream ahead of time.

The other thing I did differently was try a smaller batch. Because my blender does have a large capacity, I had tried with the full litre (US quart) of whipping cream in the blender. If you’ve read that post already, you’ll know that when I turned on the blender, it did whip up the cream but when it began to whip, it all stuck to the edges of the blender and above the blades. I had to keep turning the blender off and pushing the whipped cream back down.

So I poured about a cup and a half into a large glass measuring cup and started up the electric beater. There was some splashing until the whipped cream formed, and then I kept at it. In less than four minutes (some forums say it could take more than ten minutes), that the pale yellow butter separated from the buttermilk. I kept beating a minute longer for good measure, and then rejoiced in the fact that a little whipping cream couldn’t beat me!

I ended up with just under 3/4 cup of buttermilk (which I drank and it had a creamy taste to it still so perhaps I could have beaten it all even longer), and removed the butter (before I drank the buttermilk, of course). I then squished all the butter together and dunked into a pot of water that was as cold as I could get it out of the tap.

Now, I’m lead to believe one is supposed to try to squeeze remnants of buttermilk and liquid out of the butter, and I did try to do that. I wrapped two coffee filters around the hunk of butter that I had, tried to keep my hands cold (but I’m hot blooded, and when I’m excited the blood starts to pump and run, so I couldn’t keep them very cold). I found that squeezing the butter really did not do much as far as getting out any buttermilk that is still in there – I’ll work on that another time. For now, I have butter that tastes like butter with an extra hint of cream. It’s not as solid as store bought butter and there is that extra creamy taste to it, but am looking forward to toast in the morning with my butter!

Making butter at home is not economical if the only “heavy” cream you have access to is stuff that costs over 7 bucks a litre or US quart. As well, here in Canada, the highest percent of BF cream you can get at the grocery store or supermarket is 35%, I do believe. I’ve never seen any cream with a higher percent. However in the UK, “double cream” is available with a much greater percent of butter fat.

But I wasn’t looking for economy when I decided I wanted to try making my own butter; rather I was curious about it and wanted to know if I could do it. As well, making your own butter gives some options as far as flavours you can add in the process of making it. I certainly won’t be buying up litres of cream so that I can make batches of butter, but at least now I know the method in general and in a pinch, can do it if I need to. I would like to do it a bit more often though, just to get some technique down for squeezing out whatever buttermilk and water that is remaining – but until then, I’m happy I beat the whipped cream!

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