Dairy products : How to make butter

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Raw, grass-fed butter contains incredible nutritional properties. It is also amazingly delicious. Butter made in the spring, from cows eating the new, rapidly-growing grass, was considered sacred by traditional dairy cultures. 

This kind of butter is extremely high in Vitamin K2, which contains many health-promoting properties. 

 Raw, grass-fed butter is also high in vitamins A and D, which are needed for the absorption and utilization of the proteins, minerals, and other vitamins we consume. 

So if you want to make butter , just follow the steps below.


 Cream ( we will make an article about how to get cream from milk )

 A glass container that is more than double the volume of your cream, with a tight fitting lid.

Salt (if you want a salted butter) 

Let’s start :

  Pour the cream into the container. It is very important that the container is more than double the volume of the cream. 

Let it sit out at room temperature for several hours to allow it to warm up. 

The butter-making process is easiest when the cream is around 55-65°F. 

Next simply shake the jar until butter forms. (It’s nice to have a friend to pass the jar along to when your arms get tired.) As you shake, the cream will get thicker and thicker, and then all at once, it will “break.” 

At that point, instead of one thick, homogeneous liquid, you’ll have clumps of yellow butter floating in a thin murky liquid, the buttermilk. 

Older cream will always break sooner than fresher cream – in fact, to ensure that the cream breaks into butter, you should only attempt to make butter if the cream is at least 2 days old.

 Sometimes, if you’re working with particularly heavy cream, the cream has trouble breaking. It will get extremely thick, to a point when you can no longer shake it. When this happens, pour it out into a bowl and agitate it with an immersion blender, or process in the food processor. The butter usually breaks after a minute or two.

As an alternative to the labor-intensive shaking method you could pour the warmed cream into a food processor and just let it run till you notice the yellow flecks of butter.

After the cream breaks into butter and buttermilk, pour off as much of the buttermilk as you can without losing any butter into another container. 

(This is different than the buttermilk sold in the store, which is really cultured skim milk – see recipe below. You can use it in place of buttermilk in baking recipes, but it won’t produce the exact same results.  However, it could be used for cooking oatmeal or fed to chickens.) 

Then add cold water to your butter jar – approximately the same volume as the buttermilk that you just poured off. Shake a few times,

then dump out as much water as you can into the sink. Repeat a few more times.

 This process is  called “washing the butter;” its purpose is to get rid of as much buttermilk as possible, which will keep the butter from going sour.

 After washing, take out a clean bowl that will easily hold all of the butter you just made.

Rinse the inside of this bowl with the coldest possible water from the tap. Then dump all of the butter and whatever liquid remains into the bowl. If you like salted butter, sprinkle in some salt.

(Approximately 1 teaspoon salt for each pound of butter; one quart of cream will usually yield a little under one pound of butter.) 

Wash your hands, rinse them with the coldest water possible, and don’t dry them. Now for the fun part – knead the butter with your hands, working in the salt and expelling as much liquid as possible. As you coax out more liquid, dump it into the sink.

 The purpose of the cold water coating the bowl and your hands is to keep the butter from sticking.

(This works because fat and water repel one another, and the coldness keeps the butter solid.)

 Finally, when you’ve gotten rid of all the water, press your butter into a glass container. If you’ve done a thorough job at expelling all the buttermilk, you can keep it at room temperature for a few weeks. For longer-term storage, keep in the freezer.

 One note of warning – butter-making is not a fail-safe process. The thickness and temperature of the cream, along with many other variables, can affect how well the process goes and how long it takes. Once in a while, it just doesn’t work. Be patient, it sometimes takes a little experimenting to really get a feel for it and to figure out what works best for you.

 If you’re just starting, it’s a good idea to use just a small amount of cream. We have done a lot of experimenting with butter-making, and have encountered many different situations and results, so if you have a question, just contact us and we can help you troubleshoot.