Butter is one of the most essential ingredients for any baker or chef, and as many more people are choosing a farm-to-table experience, making your own butter is simple and easier than many might think.
In my home sate of North Carolina, the small farm is reappearing after seeing declines from the 1980’s. Professional chefs are more apt to be found shopping their local farmer’s markets than to be shipping in dairy and produce from parts unknown. And if you find yourself choosing farm over supermarket, one of the best ways to avoid high prices, preservatives, dyes and additives is in your local dairy where fresh cream is just a few steps from fresh, homemade butter. Of course, if you can’t find fresh cream at your local farmer’s market, heavy whipping cream will work just as well.
Let’s start with the utensils you will need; their simple enough!
A large, clean bowl,
A spoon or spatula,
A cheesecloth or kitchen towel,
Icy, cold water,
And one airtight container.
I recommend using a food processor for making butter as a stand mixer does not have a top and once you begin rinsing the butter, the water will slosh out from the bowl and create a huge mess. I have also experimented with a kitchen blender, and though it is powerful, it isn’t capable of creating enough of a vortex to bring the cream to a solid state. Cream needs a constant agitation to reach the texture that will create butter. If you have a Ninja Professional blender, or a Vitamix, I would suggest trying these blenders as they have a great amount of power to continually pull the cream down into the center. I do not have a blender like these, so I can’t say for certain they will create butter from cream. Now, we can begin to make our own butter!
Step 1. Pour the cream into the processor bowl and fasten the lid. Make sure you have secured the bowl and lid. I use an Oster food processor for making butter as it has a lid with a shoot for pouring or adding ingredients.
Step 2. Power on processor for approximately 3 minutes. You will see the cream begin to take on a more solid appearance. At this stage, you will have whipped cream, and if you would like to remove some of the cream you will have a delicious topping for desserts. Just add either vanilla extract or confectioner’s sugar to taste. If you would rather have just butter, replace the lid securely, and power on the processor again for another 3-4 minutes.
Step 3. At this stage, you will begin to notice the cream that had bloomed and expanded to form the whipped topping appearance, has begun to relax, and is now settling down. You will see a line form against the side of the bowl. This is where the cream is being broken down further into a crumbly look that will begin to form curds.
Step 4. Continue to blend in the processor for another 3 minutes. At this point, the crumbly texture will form defined curds. Also, you will notice a milky, watery substance has collected at the bottom of the bowl. This is buttermilk! And you can save this for use in recipes.
Step 5. Scoop out the butter curds and place in a colander or mesh strainer to allow the butter to continue to drain. Don’t try to force the butter curds through the strainer. This is just for draining, not straining! You can now pour out the buttermilk into a separate container if you would like to keep it for future use, otherwise, just discard the milk.
Step 6. Now, return the butter curds to the processor bowl and add approximately one cup of icy, cold water. Place lid on top and secure. This is very important at this stage. It’s about to get messy and you want to make sure the water doesn’t slosh about over your countertops!
Step 7. Continue this process of rinsing and draining the butter approximately 3 more times. Each time you will notice the water will be more clear and less cloudy. This ensures the butter is clean and will remain fresher and keep longer in you refrigerator.
Step 8. After the last rinse, place the butter in a cheesecloth or clean, kitchen towel and begin squeezing the cloth around the butter to drain out any excess water or moisture left remaining in the butter.
Step 9. Now we have a completed portion of fresh, homemade butter! Now, you can add salt if you like, or spices and herbs. For through blending of extra ingredients, just place back into processor and pulse blend for quick incorporation of your added ingredients! Store in an airtight container and your butter should keep for at least three weeks or around 2 months if frozen. Enjoy!