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Homemade Butter

By , from the Megan Scott collection


~ The best raw, lightly pasteurized, or at least unhomogenized whole milk or cream you can find


  1. If you buy unhomogenized milk, simply let it sit, without jostling or moving it, in the fridge for a few days. The cream will rise to the top, at which point you can pour it off into a separate jar for churning into butter.
  2. The next step in the process is up to you. I usually employ a Mason jar to give myself a little upper-body workout, but you can use a food processor or electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment as well.
  3. Work with cool but not very cold cream, as cream that has been given a little time at room temperature will be slightly easier to churn into butter. Then, simply shake.
  4. The harder you shake, the quicker your cream will become butter, but the process will take between 10 and 20 minutes.
  5. As you shake, the consistency of the cream will change. For a time, it will thicken until you have something resembling whipped cream. After that point, however, this emulsion will begin to break down. You’ll know when you’ve reached butter stage because you will see the butter floating on top of what is now buttermilk. If you purchased grass-fed cream, the butter will be noticeably yellow.
  6. To make cultured butter, simply add a few tablespoons of yogurt or buttermilk with live cultures to the milk and allow it to sit at room temperature for about a day or so, or until it smells faintly sour. Refrigerate for several hours, then proceed with the rest of the process as directed.
  7. Strain out the butter and save the buttermilk for another cooking project. This is real buttermilk. There will be little bits of yellow butter floating in it, and it will not be as thick as store-bought cultured buttermilk.
  8. Spoon the butter into a bowl. You will inevitably bring a lot of buttermilk with it, so you need to “wash” the butter to increase its shelf life. Any water left in butter will go rancid quickly, so removing this water is crucial if you want your butter to keep. Simply strain out as much buttermilk as possible. Then add about ½ cup cold water to the bowl with the butter in it. Using the back of a spoon, press the butter against the side of the bowl over and over. As you do this, the butter will exude buttermilk, and the water in the bowl will become cloudy. Pour out the water and repeat this process until the water remains clear.
  9. You can either add salt here or not. I usually add a small amount of sea salt for the simple reason that it tastes good. At this point, the butter is ready to be used as such. Wrap it tightly in plastic and refrigerate or freeze it.

Related post: Butter love

This content is from the Megan Scott collection.

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1. by Johanna Woodbury on Nov 8, 2012 at 2:30 AM PST

I work for a goat’s milk caramel company, who had too much cream on hand. I took the cream and put it in my food processor. I had butter in about 5 min. I couldn’t believe it. By the way, it was cow cream.

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