How To Make Butter

butter-1.JPGToday, Hillary of Mass Audubon shares a how-to on making butter (I am so trying this with Laurel this weekend!):

As a former food editor for a national magazine, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about food. Yet, it wasn't until I took a class at Drumlin Farm with my daughter Abby that I learned how easy and, to be honest, pretty amazing, it is to make butter. The simple act of shaking a jar can turn a liquid to a solid. What better way to introduce kids to the wonders of science and nature? To see if we could recreate what we learned at the farm, Abby and I gave it a go at home. Here's how we made butter, sans churn.
You Will Need:

  • Heavy cream (as it has the highest butterfat content)
  • A small glass jar with a lid (a jelly jar works great)

    Step 1: Fill the jar a third full with heavy cream and tighten the lid. To speed up the process, get the cream to room temperature. Start shaking. Abby and I would take turns (ok, I shook it a little more than she did), but we put on some upbeat music and turned it into a making butter dance party.

    Step 2: After a few minutes of shaking (3-5 depending on how vigorous you shake) take a peek inside. The cream should now be whipped cream. You're halfway to butter. Keep shaking.

    Step 3: Shake, shake, shake. And then all of a sudden, like magic, you will hear a thump. Open it up and there should be a ball of butter surrounded by what essentially is skim milk (yes, that skim milk). Technically speaking, though, it's uncultured buttermilk.

    Step 4: Spread the butter on some crackers to give it a taste. If you'd like to save the butter, you will need to wash it. Discard the milk and put the butter in a shallow bowl. Add cold water and gently knead. Pour off the cold water and repeat until the water stays clear -- an indication that all of the milk solids have been washed out. Add salt if you wish, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge.

    And here's our end result!


    Editor's Note: Laurel and I just tried this and it was amazing! It definitely speeds the process up if you let the heavy cream come to room temperature first (literally, we had butter within minutes) and it's important to shake until the butter is a really solid lump. We did a second batch and took the butter lump out too early and when we did the rinse step, it was clearly too soft. As I type, Laurel is prepping another batch!