How To Make Butter That Is Really Flavorful

Here, step by step, is how to make butter from cream. You'll end up with some delicious cultured buttermilk, too.


| June/July 2009



how to make butter - separated butter

How to Make Butter, Step 1: Pour sweet or cultured cream into the churn. Step 2: Churn the cream to separate butter from buttermilk. It’s fun and practical to use small hand churns, but food processors work well too.


PHOTO: WILLIAM RUBEL

Let me be the first to say how happy I am you want to know how to make butter. But first things first, equipment must be scrupulously clean. Before and after each use, scald any wooden equipment, including spoons and the inside of churns. Scald repeatedly, if necessary, until there is no butter smell left in the wood.

To make sweet cream butter, use fresh cream, skip the culturing instructions that follow, and go directly to Step 1.

To make cultured butter from raw cream, pour the cream into a bowl and cover with a double layer of cheesecloth or a clean towel. Leave out in a cool room. If your room is warmer than 60 degrees, set the bowl of cream in cool water. Become familiar with what is happening to the cream as it ripens (sours, ferments) by tasting it every six to eight hours. Raw cream can be used at any stage from fresh or lightly fermented (e.g. eight hours) to heavily fermented (e.g. a week).

To make cultured butter from pasteurized cream, you have two options: You must inoculate the cream with either a mesophilic bacterial culture (from a specialty shop), or a store-bought cultured product that contains live cultures. If you go the specialty route, purchase a culture for crème fraiche, sour cream, or buttermilk, and follow the instructions. If the commercial culture also contains rennet, your cream will set up slightly, but otherwise will achieve the consistency of soft yogurt.

If using a grocery store product as the inoculant (starter), strengthen the starter by leaving it out at room temperature for approximately 8 to 12 hours, and then add a tablespoon per cup of cream. If you are sure of the inoculant’s strength, just 1 teaspoon per cup should be sufficient. Leave the cream at cool room temperature for one to three days.

With either method, you can further develop flavor by leaving the cultured cream in the refrigerator for days, or even a week or two. The ripening cream should have a pleasant smell and develop a slightly tangy taste, sharpening with time. As the cream acidifies, it becomes hostile to toxic bacteria, but should the cream curdle, or smell or taste bad, discard it. The longer you ripen it, the more clear and distinctive the flavor of your finished butter will be. Butter churned from long-ripened cream is a butter of perfection, like a perfectly ripened fruit.

greendragonfly
12/1/2015 2:06:41 PM

I'm confused because, based on the photo, I hoped this article addressed making butter in a food processor or electric mixer.






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