Making the Butter

I almost can't believe that I made butter on Sunday. In part because I love butter a lot ... and because it was really not challenging.

I'm not suggesting that I give up store bought butter on the reg but for a special occasion .... make some butter. In fact, I can't wait to have another ladies brunch and be like "oh yes, here are some scones .... AND HERE IS SOME BUTTER... I made both".

That sounds braggy, but I really don't mean it like that.

Like many of my favorite recipes, the best part about making your own butter is that (1) it shows how much you care but (2) it also is so customizable!. Like you want chive butter? Add some chives. You want honey butter? Add some honey. The options are completely endless.

I originally stumbled on this idea because I was looking for recipes to make in celebration of Cinco de Mayo and had tequila on the brain. I found this "ginger margarita swordfish" recipe that happened to call for homemade butter... and that's how this whole thing got started. Yes, I could have just used store bought butter and added all my mix-ins but that wouldn't have been an adventure and nearly as fun.

In making butter, I have learned a few things:
  • It is easy. Like, really easy.
  • The trick to great butter is to get as much water out of the butter as possible.
  • Salted butter has a lot of salt in it.
  • You get buttermilk for "free".
Here's what I did. I knew I didn't need all of the butter that would come from a cup of whipping cream ... but I wanted it. So I made the full recipe and just portioned it out for two varieties:
  • "simple" ... seasoned with Vermont honey from my friend Meghan and kosher salt.
  • "margarita" .... think tequila, lime, salt.
This is actually what went in the "margarita" butter more or less. All great things.
While making butter is very easy in principle, there is a fair amount of "shit, am I doing this right?" going on in your head while you are doing it. After I had the mixer on for about 3 minutes, I panicked and googled "homemade butter in stand mixer" and landed on one of my favorite blogs "Joy the Baker". Her pictures are insanely helpful and totally guide you through what to expect next. 

(Step 1) Pour your heavy whipping cream into the stand mixer and whip on medium. I wasn't sure how long it was going to take - so I obviously timed it and put my phone next to the mixer. You can kind of see what it looks like after about 4 minutes.
 (Step 2) After you progress through "liquid to "pretty whip cream" to "overwhipped" ... you end up around this phase when it starts to get "clumpy". That's my best description. Immediately after this phase you get the buttermilk, but I was getting worried because it didn't appear to be progressing. Just be patient and keep that mixer on medium. It'll happen.

(Step 3) See it happened! This is after about 9 -10 minutes or so. You want to remove all this liquid since liquid in butter isn't good. Who knew right?
 (Step 4) So use your handy strainer or sifter or whatever we call this thing. As an fyi, you'll get about a half cup of buttermilk for every cup of heavy cream you start with. Friendly tip, use a spoon or something to really press the liquid out of the butter.
 (Step 5) Return the curds to the mixer a few more times in an attempt to get more liquid out of the curds. I didn't get a whole lot more from this process but you never know.

(Step 6) Your butter is done! I dumped mine on a cutting board and just kneaded it a bit into a ball. You'll end up with about a cup or so? It looks HEAVENLY.

(Step 7) Now you can add your flavorings, if you are adding any liquids (like I was for the margarita butter) I recommend doing that in a dish as opposed to on the board.

Your butter will last for about a week in the freeze if stored well (i.e. wrapped or in tuperware).

 Good luck getting it to last that long... you'll put it on everything.

Shopping List
1 cup heavy whipping cream = 1 cup-ish of butter and 1/2 cup of buttermilk

this is what to add for margarita butter ... which is amazing. These proportions are for 3-4 people or like a 1/2 cup of butter. Adjust accordingly. I was making it for one person and really any proportions will taste great and be fine.
1/8 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon valencia orange zest
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/2 teaspoon reposado tequila
1/4 teaspoon Cointreau
a few drops of fresh lime and orange juice
1 teaspoon chopped flat leaf parsley
pinch of kosher salt

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