Sunday, November 4, 2012

It's All About the Butter

There was a time when I didn't understand this well-known quote from Julia Child. While growing up, I thought that margarine was butter, and cream came from the freezer section with mini-marshmallows and nuts in it.

In my 20's, I learned that there was a difference between butter and margarine, which had nothing to do with nutritional value. It was all about the finances. As a young married couple, margarine was cheap. I remember buying a particular brand that cost a mere $.39/lb. That was an entire box! For 39 cents! And I could add it to our 25 cent carton of macaroni & cheese. We were poor, and it was ignorant bliss that we chose to stay in until much later.

At the turn of the 20th century, heart disease was unheard of. And everyone ate butter. Because margarine didn't exist. (Neither did soybean oil, but I'm not opening that can of worms today!) It wasn't until some dude in the 1960's declared that saturated fat caused heart disease, and the ban on butter began. Even though, up until this point, every home in America had been using butter, much of which was made right at home. And if butter is so bad, why hasn't the rate of heart disease decreased with the increased use of low-fat, butter-like psuedo spreads? Maybe because butter, by itself, is not the culprit of clogged arteries and coronary heart disease?

I wish I would have known how easy it was to make butter earlier. It takes only minutes, and doesn't require that you have a family cow or a special churn. Homemade butter is best when used fresh, but it can also be frozen for up to 2 months if wrapped in waxed paper and placed in a freezer bag. (I freeze in 1/2 cup servings so it's easier to use in baking.)

And don't let fear of butter stand in your way...

...start with the cream.

That Julia Child was a smart lady.

There are a couple of ways to make butter at home. First, start with some heavy whipping cream. This can be fresh from the cow, or bought from the grocery store. Just try to find cream that has not been ultra-pasteurized and is organic if at all possible.

Method #1~

Pour 2 cups heavy cream into a wide-mouth quart jar. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the jar, then secure with a screw-top lid.

And shake.

*See below for next step.

Method #2~

Pour cream into mixing bowl with paddle attachment.

If your mixer has a splash guard, use it, otherwise you can just place a towel over the mixer.

Turn the mixer on medium-high and let it run until the butter has separated from the buttermilk.

*For Method #1 & #2~Using a strainer, pour the buttermilk off. (Save it for the chickens, pigs, or use it in a recipe.)

Put the butter back into the bowl and pour some ice water into it. I use the strainer to keep the ice out of the butter.

Using the mixer with the same attachment, turn it on the lowest setting and allow water/butter to swirl around for about 15 seconds. Pour off the water. You can add salt now, if desired. (I only add salt if we're going to put it in the butter crock.) Use a wooden spoon to press out any remaining water, before transferring the butter to a covered glass container. Store in the fridge until ready to use, or in a butter crock for soft butter.

Now I need to find some biscuits...☺

This post is linked to The Homestead Barn Hop.


Carolyn Renee said...

Oooooo, it's been years since I made our own butter. Stupid non-rising-cream milk those goats put out. I need a JERSEY COW, like now. Just have to talk DH into it.

Candy C. said...

You go girl!! :)
I (sometimes) wish I had a cream separator so I could make butter from the goat milk.