Friday, March 18, 2011

Making Butter

Making butter was NOT on my list, and in fact not even in my random thoughts. However, I DO buy cream to drink in my coffee... not artificial dairy creamer, not half and half (which is all ultra-pasteurized anyway), but real, honest-to-God cream.

A few days ago I was in a small store and happened to look in the cooler. I know there is a small Jersey Dairy started in the area about a year ago, but I hadn't seen many of their products around. This store had pints of their Jersey Cream for $1.49, and since I know Jerseys have a higher butterfat content in their milk, I decided to try it and bought 2 pints. The containers had no expiration date but I bought them anyway.

This morning when I put cream in my coffee, I thought the cream was about to go south. Even though it wasn't spoiled, it did have a few thicker chunks floating in it. So to make a long story short, I decided to make butter rather than lose a full pint plus the tad left in the first pint.

I left them on the counter to come to room temp for 3-4 hours, and then dumped the contents into a large bowl. All I had to stir was my whisk, since I didn't think there was enough volume to warrant bringing out my big KitchenAid mixer.

Within 30 seconds, the fat globules had started to separate from the buttermilk.

In 2 minutes it started looking like butter, simply stirring with the whisk.

In 3 minutes I had a substantial mass that was too hard for the whisk so I got out a spatula. You can see a half pint of buttermilk I had already drained off, standing in front of the bowl, and a little more buttermilk in the bowl.

Within 4 minutes I had to switch to a sturdier tool, a wooden tool I use for icing cakes. Not shown is taking it to the sink and running cold water over it while stirring/mashing to rinse more of the buttermilk out. I'm not sure I got it all. The best thing to do would have been to spread it out thinly on a marble slab except I don't own one. If all the buttermilk is not rinsed away, the butter will sour and spoil soon.

At his point I mixed in a pinch of kosher salt to taste, put it in a small container, and weighed it. My pint plus the remaining 1/8 pint in the first container made over half a pound of butter! I'm sure 2 full pints would have made a full pound of butter... and I paid only $1.49 per pint.


  1. when i was on the farm we would scoop the cream off the top of the tank when we had kids visiting, throw it in a jar and let the kids walk around turning it and shaking it.. by the time their tour was done they had fresh butter to put on their snax we made or if it was a small group they would take their containers home to use.. i dont know why we as a people have made making fresh foods like this so difficult as task... the butter looks great..

  2. Shaking cream in a jar to make butter is fun, but even more of a 'wonderment' for non-farm kids who usually have little idea where their food originates.

    Shaking cream into butter would be an easy and fairly inexpensive classroom project for kids. Bring a lidded jar from home, but some fresh cream, and let them shake away.

    Of course, today's schools probably would not allow glass jars.

  3. Very nicely done. I wish I could get some fresh cream here.

  4. Becky, I was just lucky. Most of the cream in the stores is Ultra Pasteurized, and I won't buy it. I actually have no idea if it will make butter or not...


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