When Pinterest first exploded, I went a little crazy making my own…everything. Bread. Granola. Laundry soap. Anything I could, I made. But it started taking up a lot of time and making a lot of messes and it wasn’t always the best idea. I started to realize that just because I could make something from scratch didn’t mean I should.
So I’ve tweaked it a bit. I make things from scratch if it’s way, way cheaper (like bread and granola), or if the storebought version uses preservatives or chemicals that I don’t (chicken nuggets), or if the taste is just so much better than storebought. And when I learned how to make butter, I discovered it tastes so much better. I don’t make it from scratch all the time, but for a special brunch or breakfast, or just so the kids and I can do a fun activity together — homemade butter is it, man. So much more creamy and full of flavor.
And one more pro of learning how to make butter? It’s just really fun. You get your hands in there, all gloppy and squishing stuff around. You end up with a side of buttermilk when you’re done (we’ll make something with that later this week!). You get to shape your butter (you can simply shape it into a log, but butter molds are pretty cool), and it’s just amazing to watch the whole process.
This recipe is from a book I got in December called “Kitchen Creamery: Making Yogurt, Butter & Cheese at Home.” I took a cheese-making class at The Cheese School in San Francisco with Louella, and it was the coolest thing. But the next best thing is this book, and if you’re at all interested in how to make butter or cheese or yogurt, it’s well worth checking out. I promise, it’s all easier than you think.
- 1 quart heavy cream
- 2 Tbso cultured buttermilk
- pinch of salt
- Pour cream into a medium saucepan and warm over medium heat until cream reaches 72°F, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat and stir buttermilk into the warm cream for 20 seconds.
- Pour the mixture into a jar and screw the lid on tightly.
- Store the jar in a vibration-free place above 60°F for 15-24 hours. The cream will thicken to the consistency of thick Greek-style yogurt. Stir in salt, if desired.
- Pour the cultured cream into the bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to about 1/3 full (any more than that and you'll splatter all over your kitchen! Work in batches if you need)
- Beat at medium speed. The cream will turn fluffy, then waxy, then collapse into a grainy mush.
- When it starts making a sloshing sound, turn off the mixer.
- Pour the contents into a fine-mesh sieve or colander.
- Move the butter clumps around in the colander to release more buttermilk (be sure to catch it in a bowl underneath, transfer your buttermilk to a jar with a lid, and store in the fridge for up to a week to use later).
- Move the colander to the sink, place under a stream of cold water, and start to swish the butter particles until they begin to clump. Push them into a ball.
- Continue washing and kneading until water runs almost clear.
- Take the butter ball and press into it to release the remaining whey. The drier the butter the better!
- Knead until no more water is released, then fold in salt to taste.
- Pack butter into a tub or mold, or form into a log (I roll mine in plastic wrap).
- As with most fresh food, the sooner you eat it after you're done, the better! But you can also freeze the butter for later use.
I hope you have fun making this — we always have a blast. And I’ve discovered an entire world of new stuff to collect — butter molds and butter bells and butter crocks and…this could be dangerous.