In our endeavor to rely less on our grocery stores and more on ourselves or local farms I’ve been making butter lately. Ever since we’ve been making homemade bread, I’ve been thinking that we should have homemade butter to go with it.
It turns out, it’s a lot easier than I expected. I can even work on it easily while I’m waiting for my bread to rise. Plus, you end up make some buttermilk as a byproduct. So, two for the price of one!
This is also only a one or optionally two ingredient recipe. You’ll need heavy cream (or heavy whipping cream) and optionally salt.
I’ve made this with raw heavy cream and store-bought heavy whipping cream. The same steps apply to each the only thing that’s different is the color and to some extent the flavor of the outcome.
Tools You’ll Need to Make Homemade Butter
There are a ton of tools out there that you could use. Some are highly specialized, others high tech yet accessible to almost every kitchen. Others are incredibly basic. The main tool you’ll need is something to mix the cream with.
Containers to Mix Your Homemade Butter In
I use my food processor. It’s super-fast which is awesome; however, the draw back is it’s a total pain to clean. It’s a trade off I’m willing to make though.
If you don’t have a food processor or prefer to use something with a little more manual power behind it. You can use a glass jar with a lid or you could get a churn.
Tools Discussed In This Article
Making Homemade Butter
With a Food Processor
Pour your quart of cream into the food processors tank and lock the lid in place. I usually start on the first setting (my model only has two settings other than pulse which I don’t use for this recipe) for about 30 seconds. Then I move it up to the second setting(high). It doesn’t take very long, maybe about 3-4 minutes before the consistency changes.
You’ll be able to hear a difference in how the machine is running when the consistency changes. Visually, it’ll start to look grainy and will start to form into clumps. Once it does this, turn your machine off.
With a Butter Churn
If you choose to go with a manual churn, pour the cream into the base and twist the lid on to secure the liquid. Then use the hand crank to begin to churn the butter. Since I don’t have a butter churn I can’t say how long this will take. It will depend on the quality of the cream and how vigorous a ‘churner’ you are.
My guess-timate would be about 10 minutes but it could be longer.
With a Jar and Lid
If you choose to go with a glass jar with a lid, this is the most manual method but also the most accessible to everyone. Add the cream to the jar, close it up and you just go to town shaking that jar.
Separating the Buttermilk and Homemade Butter
Once the cream has separated into butter and buttermilk you’ll need to store them separately.
I usually have a jar of some kind at the ready and from the food processor just pour the buttermilk into the jar.
I take the butter out with my hands and place it in a mixing bowl and put it aside. Now I can pour the rest of the buttermilk into the jar. Then I seal it up and place it in the fridge.
How To Use Remaining Buttermilk
I use mine to in my morning muffins I eat for breakfast and occasionally when Big J is up for it he uses it to make pancakes. If I have a bunch and I don’t want it to go bad though I’ll use it as creamer in my coffee too.
The Color of Homemade Butter
The quality of the cream dictates the final product. It could end up very yellow looking or a very pale yellow. It all depends on the cream and cream depends on the type of animal (goats/cows) and their diet. Neither is bad!
That’s another reason to get your ingredients closer to the source they come from, so you understand why, in this case, your butter is a different color.
Wash Your Homemade Butter
I do this step directly in the sink. With your homemade butter lumps in the mixing bowl turn on the cold water. Any small bits I incorporate onto the large lumps so they don’t float away.
The water will start to get cloudy because of the leftover buttermilk. Our goal here is to get the water to run clear.
I like to fill my bowl almost to the top and then get my hands in there and knead the butter like bread. Dump the water, fill with fresh water, knead, and repeat until the water is clear.
Why You Should Wash Homemade Butter
Yes! Regardless if you use fresh raw cream or store bought cream you need to wash your homemade butter.
You’ll need to wash the butter in order to help preserve it. The cloudiness in the water that we are trying to remove is excess buttermilk.
If you leave the buttermilk in the butter it will go rancid and not last as long.
Additionally, we are removing the casesin. Casesin is the main protein that is produced by dairy cows in their milk. Casein putrefies and can cause humans to have a number of problems including respiratory and immune-system issues.
So, yes! You should be washing homemade butter especially if you use raw cream from grass fed dairy cows. Remember, it will petrify much faster than it will go rancid!
Homemade Butter Texture
The homemade butter will be a little softer than what you’d get at the market. I would expect homemade to be a little looser and easier to spread.
When homemade butter is completely melted it will have a different texture too. It’s more likely to remain creamy even when hot because there are no strange additives that state might have in it to keep the butter solid at room temperature.
Storing Your Homemade Butter
Using a Butter Mold
Now that we’ve got our homemade butter made we are ready to properly store it. One thing you can do before storing though is form it using a butter mold.
Butter Molds come in various sizes, shapes and can also vary in age. For example, I use a simple silicone mold from Amazon but there are some really cool vintage wooden butter molds out there. One day I’ll get one and give it shot!
Essentially, once your homemade butter is made and washed, it’s still pliable so you can use something like a spatula to push it into a mold. This way you can shape your butter before refrigerating it. So my silicone mold is in the shape of basic rectangles that you can get from the market, this way it’s in a nice shape for cutting a piece of butter.
Vintage butter molds tend to be round dome like shapes with an ornamental design that gets inlaid to the final product. Which is totally awesome and like I said one day I’ll try it. For now the standard rectangle shape is really how I want my homemade butter to solidify though.
Refrigerate Your Butter
In order to ensure your homemade butter lasts you will want to make sure you washed thoroughly in order ensure you avoid the butter going rancid. It will need to be stored in an airtight container or wrap. Fresh butter can last about 3 weeks in the fridge.
Storing Your Homemade Butter in a Butter Crock
A butter crock or a butter bell is a storage container that is meant to be left on the countertop. It uses water to seal the container with the butter inside it so it can stay on the counter. It also keeps the butter spreadable so you can have homemade butter that’s easily spread on your bread at a moments notice.
You put the homemade butter in the bell portion of the lid and fill the pot (or chamber) with cold water. Then put in the lid (bell) into the pot. You want enough water to just barely touch the exposed butter. This is about 1/4 to a third cup of water. You can even add a little salt to the water to help the butter stay fresh longer.
Using this method butter will last for about 3 weeks to 30 days. The water in the pot needs to be changed about once a week so it remains fresh.
Freezing Homemade Butter
To save your homemade butter in the freezer you’ll want to wrap it in something like saran wrap and then put it in an airtight container. As long as your butter is fresh and thoroughly washed of buttermilk your butter will last 6 months in the freezer.
If you chose to make salted butter and it’s also stored fresh and washed well it’ll last for 12 months according to BonAppetit.com.
How Much Butter Does Cream Make?
The cream usually gets split in half between making butter and buttermilk. Sometimes I do end up with more butter though if I let my food processor go a little bit longer once I see the butter lumps form.
Can you Make Butter from Milk?
Nope. Sorry but you must use heavy cream. Milk contains less fat than butter and so you wouldn’t end up with any of our tell tale golden delicious butter lumps.
For 2 cups of butter, which is 1 lb of butter let’s see what the cost comparison is. If I use a quart of organic heavy cream that costs $9.99 while non organic heavy cream costs me $2.99. Organic unsalted butter would cost me $6.79 and non organic unsalted butter $2.99 to $3.99 on average.
Is it worth your time and money to buy it over making it yourself? The answer is probably a not. For me, I enjoy making the butter especially because I like taking some of it and making flavored butter. So I will continue to make my own butter.
- 1 quart heavy cream (heavy whipping cream will work too)
- Optional: salt to taste, coarse sea salt is bes
- Pour the full quart of cream into the blender and turn it on high. Leave it on high, you should see the cream start to clump up (butter!). This takes 3-5 minutes.
- Pour the liquid, this is buttermilk, into a jar. I use a small mason jar.
- Dump the butter into the mixing bowl. Run cold water over this to fill the bowl. Dump the water. Repeat until water runs clear.
- Fill the bowl with cold water again and this time knead the butter, just like you would bread dough. Dump the cloudy water.
- Repeat the cold water and kneading process until the water runs clear after kneading.
- Put the butter into a glass jar with a lid and put it in the fridge.
You'll need to make sure during the washing stages that you don't skip these steps. You are washing the buttermilk out of the butter. If you don't follow these steps the buttermilk will cause the butter to go rancid.
Don’t forget to make some fresh homemade bread bread to go with your butter! If you like this recipe please take a moment to give it a rating or leave us a comment below to help others find it!