Our simplest and most joyful kitchen adventure this week took a few dollars worth of cream and about five minutes of our time. It resulted in the most delicious butter we have ever eaten – and the most talked about mixing experiment we have ever undertaken.
I don’t know what it is about fresh butter, but I’m not the only one to sense the magic, and I can guarantee you making it will blow your three year old’s mind.
In five minutes, you’ll have something gorgeous, and inspiring, and delicious, and useful … and all you need is cream and a mixer, meaning it’s even simpler than the magical ricotta we made earlier this week. No heating, no measuring, no worrying that the curds won’t form and the whole thing will be a waste. All we had to do was put the cream in the mixer, and watch (and taste) while we passed through whipped cream, overwhipped cream, and then – broken cream! Boom! We had butter – and buttermilk!
But for Jacob, the best was yet to come: the rinsing, and squeezing, and squishing of the butter. I am pretty sure we had the most-pressed butter ever to come out of a Kitchen Aid Artisan. Not a drop of buttermilk could have possibly remained when he was done.
Jacob’s grin was relentless, and so was his commentary. “Mommy! It’s BUTTER! Really real butter that we made – it’s BUTTER!” Well, yes. Yes. It makes sense that this exclamation about really real butter would need repeating approximately nine hundred times before bed. It was pretty cool.
It costs more to make your own butter than it does to buy it. Any Farmer’s Market regular can tell you that there is an argument to be made about freshly made butter’s delicate golden color, and about the way the flavor of cream comes through. But the better argument for making your own butter is about the return you get in pure happiness for your sous chef. We will definitely be making more butter soon – if you doubt me, just look at the really real delight on Jacob’s face.
Really Real Homemade Butter
We followed Alana’s butter recipe, omitting the salt. Butter making is so easy that I have actually done it accidentally (though at the time it was sort of a tragedy and I called it ruined whipped cream instead of butter). Put heavy cream in your mixer and whip it (use the paddle, not the whisk) until it is whipped cream. Then keep whipping. After a minute or two it will ‘break’ (see photos) and you will have butter, and buttermilk. Drain off the buttermilk and save for baking. Then wet your hands with cold water, rinse the butter, and squeeze and squish it so any remaining liquid comes out.
It will keep in the fridge for at least a week, but with some warm muffins or a loaf of crusty bread on hand, it probably won’t last more than a day or two!