I can’t remember what made me think about butter first. It might have been the recent Bitten post, or the copious amounts of bread I’ve been baking or thoughts of making my own cheese. I’m pretty sure it was one of those. Turns out fixing the housing crises might be simpler. Making anything but the soft cheeses is a real pain and involves more patience and equipment than I currently can handle. Plus, Chelle barely tolerates the jars of sourdough starter fermenting in the fridge and wasn’t about to embrace active mounds of mold in the basement. Luckily, it turns out butter is a lot, lot simpler.
It’s been probably almost twenty-five years since the last time I made homemade butter. I definitely will not go that long before making it again. I think the last time I made it was in Mrs. Anderson’s kindergarten class when we passed around a pickle jar and shook it till we had a lump of butter. It was strange and mysterious and probably quickly forgotten by recess, surely by naptime.
It’s almost criminally easy to make your own butter and the result is so creamy, light and divine it makes store bought butter resemble bricks of dried yellow urine. Start with some whipping cream. You can even us the ultra-pastuerized from the grocery store, but try some fresher stuff if you have a local dairy nearby. It’s worth it. Some recipes call for letting the dairy sour a bit at room temperature, but you can also skip that step. Whatever you decide, take said whipped cream and whip the hell out of it until it breaks and separates. That’s it. Plus, besides a nice chunk of butter, you also get some fresh buttermilk. Not a bad consolation gift.
Now the fun part. Pour the mixture through some cheesecloth and let the buttermilk drain into a bowl. Knead and squeeze more liquid out of the butter till you get the consistency you like. You can mix in salt, herbs or other flavors now. It should keep in the fridge in a small jar for up to a month, but it’s best used within the week. It will smell off when it starts to turn.