Homemade Butter, So Easy a Kid Can Do It
There is nothing like homemade butter. That creamy, light, fragrant, deliciously silky flavor cannot be replicated artificially. And while butter itself is easy to come by, homemade butter is incredibly easy to make. So easy even kids can do it!
The cool thing about making your own homemade butter is that it’s super easy! Put some cream in a jar, and shake, shake, shake! That’s it. Piece of cake.
Ok, let me break it down for you a little further (even though it really is just that simple).
Homemade Butter Recipe
Ingredients & supplies:
Fill a glass quart jar about half full with cream. And start shaking! Depending on how hard you shake the jar will determine how quickly the butter separates from the buttermilk. I don’t go nuts; just a consistent back and forth, and it takes me about 20-30 minutes. Sounds like a long time, but really, just one sitcom and boom, I have fresh butter. It can definitely be made much more quickly in a food processor, but I’ve not tried that myself. Making butter the shaking method is just fun, and watching cream change into homemade butter is somewhat fascinating. What an easy way to keep a kid busy and productive while they are watching one of their favorite shows!
So how do you know when it’s done? You will reach a point when you think it’s never going to turn. It gets super thick and frothy. Keep shaking! About 5 more minutes and suddenly it will go chunky and separate. Keep shaking to get the chunks to bind to each other. You can keep shaking even longer, or stop and strain it at this point.
I like using a fine mesh strainer, but really you can use an unbleached coffee filter, cheese cloth, or even a clean dish towel (but it will get really buttery!). You can even decant the buttermilk liquid straight from the jar (especially with a lid like this) then shake some more to get the rest of the liquid out.
When you strain the liquid out, be sure to save it! People pay good money for buttermilk, and it makes the best pancakes.
Once the butter is strained, put it in a new container and work it with a spoon to get the rest of the liquid out. This will also compact it into the form we are use to seeing. This is a good point to add a dash of finely crushed sea salt if you feel so inclined.
And that’s it! Fresh homemade butter.
Tips and Tricks for the Best Homemade Butter:
You can use any cream you want. I use the top cream from my organic, raw, non-homogenized milk.
The best cream comes from organic grass-fed (pasture raised) cows. Homemade butter from grass-fed cow milk is higher in CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), a beneficial fatty acid that protects against some forms of cancer (source, source, and source). CLA also may protect the brain from stroke damage (source), and may aid in weight loss (source). Cream from grass-fed cow milk is also higher in the antioxidant and vitamin A precursor, beta carotene, which gives butter from grass-fed cow milk a darker color.
I let my organic, raw milk “ripen” (culture) for a week or two to increase the probiotic count. You should only do this with raw milk. Otherwise just use fresh cream. It does give the butter a bit of extra zest, but the boost in nutritional value is worth it. And I use the remaining de-creamed milk to make milk kefir!
Don’t fill your jar too full. Leave lots of room for expansion or you can make a leaky mess.
Have fun with it! Get two jars going for an easy upper body workout. Or put on some music and have the kids dance while shaking it. (If you do, I highly recommend a tether, like one of these, in case the bottle slips out of their little hands.)
I didn’t even touch on the cost factor yet!
I currently pay $5.00 per gallon of certified organic, raw milk here in NY. (I know. We are super blessed.) That gallon gets me between a half pound to a whole pound of butter, depending on the time of year, and how well I got all the cream from the top of the milk. Compare that to buying a pound of organic butter from my local grocery store? $4.99 is the current price. And that’s not even grass-fed.
Even if I only get 1/2 pound of butter from my milk, I also get a lot of buttermilk out. And the rest of the milk goes to making almost a gallon of kefir. The cost of buying kefir alone makes it totally worth it!
But it’s the flavor…oh the flavor. Can’t be beat.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy homemade butter?