October 14, 2013

How to make your own butter!

Our leaves are starting to turn in the backyard with the tiniest tinge of gold.  And the weather is turning cooler. Hooray! Boy, has it really got me churning for the holidays! I cooked with pumpkin this weekend, and apples. And I started thinking a bunch about holiday cooking, staples, and splurges! But the one thing I made this weekend that is a holiday must - an every day must from this day forward - is fresh sweet cream butter. I will be storing it up for winter baking, cooking, saucing, sauteing and more!

I know that homemade butter may conjure up thoughts of covered wagons and hand-churning cream by oil lamp. But now that many of us have stand mixers in our kitchens, fresh sweet cream butter no longer requires a bonnet, unless of course you just feel like channeling your inner Laura Ingalls Wilder. You can, however, tie up your apron strings and make real fresh butter in your own kitchen. And listen to me, once you've had fresh butter you'll never go back.  Not only is it silky and creamy goodness, but you. made. it. Butter!  Believe me, you will have big-time kitchen chest-hair an enormous sense of pride when you make your own butter. You will text your friends and tell them. I know I did.

{makes 1 pound = 4 sticks}
One quart heavy whipping cream, cold
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
Bonnet, optional

In the biggest bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, pour in the cold whipping cream and the 1/4 tsp. sea salt. Cover the entire mixer with a large flour sack cloth or dish towel. There will be splashing when the solids separate, and the cloth catches the splashes.  Then turn the mixer on medium-high speed and set a timer for 9 minutes. 

If you peek, you will see the cream go from liquid to whipped cream consistency, then it will begin to curdle and separate which is the butter forming! At 9 minutes, turn the mixer up to high speed and beat for 1 more minute.  The butter is ready when it clumps and sticks to the whisk. 

With a fine mesh strainer over a bowl, pour the butter into the strainer and allow the bowl to catch the buttermilk. Yes, this is real buttermilk that you can jar and save for up to a week. Use it in baking, pancakes, and more! Gently knead the butter with your hand to carefully press out any moisture that remains in the solids. 

Store in a sealed jar or portion into individually wrapped sticks.  Butter will stay fresh in the refrigerator for approximately 1.5-2 weeks OR 1 month in the freezer. 

You will absolutely need/want/desperately-search-for a piece of bread to eat immediately. I spread a little soft piece of sandwich bread with fresh butter and mmmmm-ed my way through each bite. Then I might've eaten a second buttered piece with honey. Maybe.  

Now that you know how, run and make some this week because what goes better with butter than bread?! Sweet breads, pumpkin breads and a big, crusty, yeasty heirloom loaf are all coming soon!