I know what you’re thinking. Why make butter when you can buy it in the store? Here are five great reasons:
- It’s fresh.
- It’s easy.
- It’s fun.
- It’s neat to do things that our ancestors did.
Some butter history factoids:
It’s thought that butter was probably discovered by accident in the Mesopotamian area between 9000 and 8000 BC.
- Wife to Husband: “Look dear, I shook up the cream and got this spreadable stuff – we don’t have to eat our bread plain anymore!”
- Husband to Wife: “Wonderful stuff, let’s call it butter!”
Until the 19th century, the vast majority of butter was made by hand, on farms. The first butter factories appeared in the United States in the early 1860s. By 1900, more than half the butter produced was factory made. Today, butter is readily available in any grocery store, or if you choose, you can make it in about 20 minutes in your own kitchen. All you need is:
Heavy cream (The amount you need depends on how much butter you would like. When making butter, you will get ½ butter and ½ buttermilk from whatever amount of cream you use. So if you start out with a pint of cream, you will get ½ pint of butter.)
A clean jar with a lid (The size of the jar should be roughly twice the size of the amount of cream you’ll be using, so there’ll be plenty of room for shaking the cream)
A rubber spatula
A mixing bowl
Pour the cream in the jar, and then put the lid on.
Start shaking the jar, baby.
For the first 10 minutes, it looks like nothing is going on, but just keep shaking. Think about the calories you’re burning.
The cream will become whipped cream, and shortly thereafter, the whipped cream magically separates out into two products- butter and buttermilk. Viola!
Butter and Buttermilk
Next, pour the buttermilk out of the jar. You can drink it, or save it for cooking.
Put the butter in a mixing bowl.
Put some cold water in the bowl, and then “wash” the butter. This is just a process where you “wash” the residual buttermilk out of the butter. It’s done by using the spatula to press the butter and water against the sides of the bowl.
When the water gets cloudy, pour it into the sink, and put more water into the bowl. Continue “washing” until the water is almost clear. This process takes about 5 minutes.
At this point you can add salt if you would like, to your taste. Just stir it in.
Press your fresh butter into a small airtight container, or pat it into shape, and wrap it in wax paper, and store in the fridge.
I found this adorable crock in an antique store last week.
It was used to contain spreadable cheese made by a cheese company in Wisconsin. Mine is from the 1950s.
Now how cute is that?