Why Make Homemade Butter?
With supply chain issues and a lack of available products plaguing grocery stores, it can be difficult to find many products, including butter. The store where I shop is limited to one brand of butter and even that has been sporadic lately. Making your own homemade butter is a great skill to have when supplies are limited. If you can purchase heavy whipping cream, or if you have whole, non-homogenized milk from your own cow, butter is pretty simple to make… and it tastes even more heavenly when you create it from scratch!
Butter made from the cream given by grass-fed cows is rich in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) and is reputed to be better for us than regular butter (and margarine). Some people prefer to consume raw dairy products, while others use pasteurized milk, cream, and butter to avoid potential contaminants. Make sure that you trust your source of raw milk or that you follow strict cleanliness protocols when milking your own cows. Strain and chill milk quickly and store it in a clean glass or stainless steel container.
Update: When I originally posted these instructions, I was using raw milk from a local farmer. Since then I have started pasteurizing milk before using it. This is a personal choice and I fully support your decision, whether you use raw milk or you choose to pasteurize it.
For more information, check out my antique Butter Mold!
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How To Make Butter
Start with heavy whipping cream, or separate the cream from chilled, non-homogenized whole milk. The process of homogenizing breaks down fat molecules, suspending the fat in the milk and preventing the separation of the cream from the skim milk.
When starting with whole milk, skim the cream from the top to make butter or use it as heavy whipping cream. Use the skim milk on cereal, in recipes, or make your own milk kefir, buttermilk, and fresh cheeses, like cottage cheese, ricotta, farmer’s cheese, or queso fresco. For a truly old-fashioned recipe shared by one of my readers, try making a batch of traditional Dutch cheese (this is not an Edam-style cheese)!
Butter is one of the easiest things to make. Let the milk stand for 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator to separate into cream and skim milk. Skim the cream and pour it into your blender. You can also use a butter churn or a kitchen mixer. I used the blender and it was easy. You need to check often to see how the mixture is looking. It will go from cream to whipped cream to butter fairly quickly.
When it is ready to strain into butter and buttermilk, the fat will clump together into globs. Now it is ready to strain. Pour it into a colander (lined with cheesecloth or a linen or cotton cloth) with a bowl underneath to collect the buttermilk. You will need to lightly press on the butter to squeeze out the buttermilk.
Try not to spend too much time pressing on the butter with your warm hands. As your hands warm the butter, it will begin to melt. Next, you will rinse the remaining buttermilk out with cold water. As you run the cold water over the butter, lightly knead it with your fingers to rinse all of the buttermilk out. If you don’t get it all out, the butter will go rancid more quickly.
Pat the butter dry with a paper towel or linen cloth. Eat and enjoy, use in recipes, or refrigerate for later. You might also like my recipe for Honey Butter for a special treat!