There is a medium-sized list of things that I should do less. On the list is “eating butter.” However, when I saw a recipe in the NYT sunday magazine for homemade butter — alongside a compelling essay about one man’s experience with fatty, yellow heaven — I had to try it. So I just finished making the butter and I feel as if a fountain of blogging energy is a gushin’.
Before I share the magic recipe with you, put aside your image of me wearing a bonnet while I churn some piece of frontier barnyard hardware. I did this with only a mixing machine, heavy cream, and time. In only ten minutes, I had accomplished something that I didn’t know was possible: making my own homemade butter.
I encourage you to do this because of the valuable lessons you can learn and share. First, this is an important thing to do with your friends and your children so that they can understand how various dairy products are related to one another. It is also a lesson in how hard the pioneers and farmers had it before the Industrial Revolution. Finally, it is also a lesson in why doing things yourself is more fun. Please try it and let me know what you think.
Here’s the step-by-step from this past Sunday’s NYT magazine:
Homemade Butter and Buttermilk
6 cups organic heavy cream
Salt to taste (optional)
1. Pour the cream into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a wisk. Tightly cover the top of the bowl with plastic wrap and start mixer on medium-high speed. The cream will go through the whipped stage, thicken further, and then change color from off-white to pale yellow; this wil take at least five to eight minutes. When it starts to look pebbly, it’s almost done. After another minute the butter will separate, causing the liquid to splash against the plastic wrap. At this point stop the mixer.
2. Set a strainer over a bowl. Pour the contents of the mixer into the strainer and let the buttermilk drain through. Strain the buttermilk again, this time through a fine-mesh sieve set over a small bowl; set aside.
3. Keeping the butter in the strainer set over the first bowl, knead it to consolidate the remaining liquid and fat and expel the rest of the buttermilk. Knead until the texture is dense and creamy, about five minutes. Strain the excess liquid into the buttermilk. Refrigerate the buttermilk.
4. Mix salt into the butter, if you want. Tansfer to an airtight container and refrigerate. Makes about 16 ounces (2 cups) each of butter and buttermilk.