Sunday, July 18, 2010

Butter...two ways

I've been wanting to make my own butter for a while - and I finally tried it! I had been planning on making it in a jar, but then read somewhere that you could make it with a hand mixer. So I thought, why not try both? Then I could compare which one was easier. Using a cup of heavy cream (whipping cream), you'll end up with about a half cup of butter and a half cup of buttermilk.

Mixer Method:
Pour the cream in a bowl and start beating with a hand mixer. After a few minutes you'll get whipped cream - just keep beating! The cream gets thicker and thicker, until it starts looking like lots of little lumps (kind of like cottage cheese). Then, gradually, liquid starts appearing. Keep beating until it looks like there's a fair amount of liquid (for me, about 10 minutes total beating) Then, you can gather the small lumps of butter into one big lump. Squeeze it to get all the buttermilk out.

Jar Method:
Pour the cream into a jar (the cream will approximately double in bulk when whipped, so use an appropriate size jar). Cap tightly. Start shaking! I didn't shake vigorously - just a nice constant movement. This method takes a while, but gradually it got thicker and thicker - I opened the lid and checked it a couple of times to see how it was doing. It was thick cream, and then all of a sudden, there was lots of liquid and a lump of butter in the middle. Making the butter this way took about half an hour of shaking. Once again, I squeezed the butter to get the rest of the buttermilk out.

Both methods were really simple and easy, the real difference was the time; ten minutes vs. 30 minutes. However, some other things to consider:
* The jar method was a good way to do something productive while watching TV or a movie (as I did!)
* Shaking the jar was not as tiring as I had thought it would be - I didn't shake it hard, but gently and it worked fine (although maybe it would have been quicker if I had shook it hard)

So which method will I use in the future? Honestly, I'm not sure. I probably will use both at different times - using the jar method makes me feel a little better if I'm just sitting around watching a movie!
The butter turned out really well, and of course, I'm saving the buttermilk to use in some baked goods!

One last note, I know I've read something about rinsing the butter when you make it, but I wasn't really sure how or why that is necessary. I did try rinsing it bit, but I'll have to look into that more for next time.

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