Butter Making Adventures

Butter Making Adventures

Fueled by my homesteading spirit, I am currently dreaming of getting a dairy cow. I just love the idea of having fresh, homemade, and preservative- and additive-free dairy products.

Well, I had to promise DH that I would hold off on the cow for at least another year and until I have a better handle on everything currently requiring my attention. I can completely understand his concerns. In the last 18 or so months since moving to the farm, I have taken on a massive load of extra work.

Just dealing with a house that is about 3 times the size of our old house has been an adjustment. We have to keep up with mowing the 7 or so acres of pasture and lawn (thanks mom for all your long hours on the mower this summer!) Learning how to manage pastures in a real setting as opposed to on paper has been an adventure. We also put in a gigantic 32×30 foot garden that I attempted to work that all summer (at least until the bermuda grass got so bad that I couldn’t stay on top of the weeds anymore – more on my new garden plan is coming soon). Plus, I have also started homeschooling DS & DD. Both are still learning to read so school time is still very hands on for me.

So, with all of that and more, I have more than I can handle and have reluctantly promised DH that I will wait on my cow.

Okay. Sorry about the crazy long introduction to my adventures in butter making. 🙂

I figured that if I want to eventually get a cow, I needed to practice and get in the habit of regularly making dairy products that we normally use. I decided to start with butter, which seemed like the easiest first step.

To make butter, you basically beat up heavy cream until the butter and buttermilk separate. First, I tried it in my KitchenAid mixer. That was fun and pretty easy but had two major negatives. 1. It made a huge, greasy mess! 2. It took close to an hour. But, the butter was really good! Plus, the buttermilk pancakes that I made the next morning were really good too.

Next, in an effort on contain the mess, I tried making butter in my blender. It was all going wonderfully until just after it started to separate when the heat from the blender softened the butter up so much that it blended into the buttermilk. I moved it to the KitchenAid, hoping to undo the problem and just made a bigger mess. Since I had been at it for over an hour and didn’t really feel like sticking the mixer bowl full of butter in the fridge for a while then trying again, I threw in some salt and mixed it for a few more minutes. I ended up with very tasty whipped butter.

Well, I started looking for a contained butter churn and found an old fashion, hand crank one. It said that it made butter in 10 min. I figured that it was worth a try, so I bit the bullet and ordered on. I tried it today.

The instructions said that the cream needed to be left at room temperature for 1-2 hours. After my experience last time, I was hesitant to let the cream get too warm so I tried it after about 45 min. Twenty minutes of hand cranking later (quite a workout) and still liquidy. I left it for another hour and tried again. Another 20 min of hand cranking (Ouch!) and still nothing. Another hour. Another 20 min. By this time, my arms felt like I had been carrying water buckets all day. Still just cream. 🙁 (Did I mention that I pulled the cream out of the basement fridge that is set on super cold?)

In desperation, I just left it alone until the entire thing felt close to room temperature and tried again. 10-12 beautiful minutes and 3 YouTube videos on using a hand churn later, I had about a stick’s worth of butter and over a cup of buttermilk! DD helped me sample as I added salt (1 tsp for a 1 pint container of cream’s worth of butter). She also was a big help churning, but, at 4, her arms got tired quickly.

So that has been my tasty adventure in butter making. I am going to try the hand crank churn again tomorrow or Saturday and will definitely leave the cream out for 3-4 hours first.

So, to any on you out there who are interested in making butter, I would say give it a try. It tastes so much better and really is a lot of fun to make!