Post by Alison Hein.
There’s an old story about the discovery of butter: a nomad filled his skin bag with goat milk, strapped the bag across his mount, and rode across the desert from dawn to dusk. When setting up camp that evening, he was surprised to see that his forgotten milk had turned into a thick, yellow, tasty substance.
The scientific process of creating butter includes agitating whole cream until the fragile membranes that surround milk fat are broken, allowing fat droplets to form and join. More churning hastens the separation of cream into butter and buttermilk. In other words, if you shake, beat, or whip cream long enough, you will eventually get butter.
Perhaps you think this is time-consuming and unnecessary. All that will change as soon as you taste your first sweet and salty bite of thick, yellow, homemade butter. Have your kids help with the preparation, and watch their eyes widen as white turns to yellow, and cream turns to butter. Slather some on thick, crisped toast, and rediscover the perfect, homemade breakfast in bed.
1 pint heavy cream
1 teaspoon large-grain salt (I used Pink Himalayan)
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves (optional)
Pour heavy cream into large, deep bowl to prevent excess splatter. Using an electric mixer, beat cream on high until whipped cream begins to form. Keep beating, until cream begins to flatten and turns slightly yellow. Continue to beat until butter clumps form, and buttermilk separates from solids. Depending on your mixer, this process will take between 7 and 10 minutes.
Pour butter and buttermilk into colander to drain. If you plan to retain buttermilk for cooking or baking, be sure to drain butter into a large clean bowl. After draining, rinse butter well with cold water, then squeeze and knead by hand until all liquid is removed from butter.
Place a sheet of waxed paper in a 4-inch by 4-inch square dish. Spread butter on top of waxed paper to form an even layer, and fill the square dish. Cover and refrigerate until firm, at least 30 minutes. Trim to desired shape. Sprinkle with salt and fresh thyme leaves.
- Salted butter – add salt to cream before whipping.
- Sweet butter – make Maple Butter or Honey Butter
- Herbed butter – for a savory butter, add a variety of fresh herbs and spices to soft butter. Form into a log on a sheet of waxed paper. Slice into rounds and use to top toasted bread, roasted potatoes, or grilled steak
Makes approximately 5 to 6 ounces butter.