Sunday, February 7, 2010
Before we kick off cabbage week (oh my god aren't you so excited? Oh my god, I'm so excited!), I thought we would make a little bit of butter, you know, so we can put it on our cabbage tomorrow.
I've been making butter here and there, and of course enjoying it in the way that I do with activities of that nature, and I thought it might be time to tell you about it. It is February after all, and I'm guessing we all need a bit of a thrill, and homemade butter might just do the trick.
My butter so far has mostly been made from raw cream, which I leave out for a few hours to ripen as raw cream so nicely does. Technically, this is cultured butter. But because I know most of you are probably not making your butter from raw cream, I decided to buy some plain old ultra pasteurized cream at the store and see what transpired.
As I'd hoped, any kind of heavy cream will give you a nice little ball of butter, so long as you whip it for long enough.
Butter can most certainly be made in a jar with a bunch of hyper kids in a room who would really like to shake something, but we're not going to go there today.
Today, it's the Kitchen aid. If you don't have a kitchen aid, I assume that an electric hand mixer will do the trick. If you don't have an electric hand mixer, you better find yourself some hyper children. I have a few if you would like to borrow them.
Let me just say something right away, just so you don't feel like I didn't tell you. Unless you have a cow in your backyard, this is not cost effective. Do not make butter because you think it will be cheaper than store bought. There are a lot of reasons to make butter, but cost is not one of them.
I bought 16 oz. of plain old non-organic whipping cream. It cost me just under $3.00. From this much cream, I got 6 oz. of butter. That's a stick and a quarter, for $3.00. So there, I told you.
So why, you ask? Why should I get myself some cream and get churning? Mostly because it tastes fantastic. Butter is like garlic or lemons or so many things that we get so used to eating when they are old. Freshly made butter is sweet and creamy and wonderful in a way that is hard to find in store bought butter. But that's not all! Butter is also a fun and fascinating science experiment. For an ingredient that most of us tend to have around at all times, I'd bet you that most people have never seen the butter break from the buttermilk, or how exactly the whole process goes. It's a good one, because it's easy and the rewards come quick. You can make butter in about 5 minutes, which most kids even have an attention span for. And then of course, the best reason to make butter is that it's butter! That you made! Talk about food super heroes.
So, let's get to it then, shall we?
You will need 16 oz. heavy cream and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Combine these in the bowl of your mixer with the beater attachment (not the whisk! the butter will get stuck) and put on high speed. The cream will fly a bit, so you might want to carefully put a towel over the mixer. Just stay and watch so that you can keep peeking in.
The cream will start to look like whipped cream after a minute or two, like this:
Once you've gotten it to this point, keep your eyes on the bowl. The cream will get whipped, then overwhipped, and then:
It breaks. Now you can stop the mixer. With raw cream, this process takes about a minute, but with ultrapasteurized, it was more like five.
When your cream breaks, Pour the buttermilk off the butter into a jar. Strain the errant butter out of it, and then reserve the buttermilk for making the best pancakes you have ever had. I'm serious about this.
Now, the goal is to get all of the buttermilk out of the butter. First do this by squeezing the butter.
Then you want to rinse it in cool water.
Rinse the butter, and then squeeze it again.
Repeat this a few times, until there is very little liquid coming from the butter. You can also knead it a bit, turning it in on itself.
When it feels like the buttermilk is out, you can refrigerate or put into your butter bell and it is ready to go. Or, you could make butter shapes that would make your kids very happy. To do this, lay the butter between two sheets of plastic wrap or wax paper.
Roll with a rolling pin until it is about 3/4 inch thick.
Dig out your best cookie cutters.
And you have butter valentines!
Because the butter is so soft and pliable at this point, it's also a good time to make herb butters. Or mix with honey and cinnamon for a fancy spread for weekend toast.
Now you have butter. All we need is a little cabbage.
Tomorrow friends, tomorrow.