Homemade Flavored Butter
As good as butter is on bread, flavored butter is even better. Here's how dress up butter with herbs and honey, along with tips for making your own butter at home.
ADDING FLAVOR TO BUTTER
Allow a stick of store bought butter to soften, then mix in your preferred flavoring with a fork. This takes a little extra time and dirties an extra bowl, but it's a nice touch for a fancy meal. Some suggestions:
- 2 T honey
- 1/2 T dried basil and 1/2 T dried thyme
- 1 T dried tarragon
- 2 to 3 finely chopped garlic cloves
- finely grated zest of one lemon
- a small handful of fresh lemon thyme leaves
- chopped, fresh chives
- 1 T dried dill weed
Butter is merely a form of cream.
Churn cream long enough — as was once done in barrel-shaped butter
churns — and the cream slowly transforms. First it becomes a frothy
liquid, then it turns into stiffer whipped cream that will hold its
shape. With more churning, whipped cream stiffens even more and
solidifies into soft butter.
HOW TO MAKE HOMEMADE BUTTER
cream into butter can be done relatively quickly in an electric mixer.
Just keep beating the cream at a high speed. The process goes more
quickly with a small amount of cream. When you have soft butter, that's
the time to mix in any flavorings (such as chopped herbs, honey, lemon
Making your own butter will not work if you are starting with:
- half and half
- milk or lowfat milk
- whipped toppings
The bottom line is that you need to use real cream with enough fat in it if you expect butter to be the result.
TIPS ON PRESENTATION
Flavored butter, whether made with butter from the store or butter made at home, can look a little messy in the mixing dish. To tidy it up: place the soft butter on a tray or mold and let it harden in the refrigerator for half an hour.
Molding the butter allowing it to harden is an extra step that is not strictly necessary for taste or texture. (Unless, that is, you're making flavored butter when it is very hot and humid, chilling the flavored butter will keep others from mistaking it for sauce!) Usually, firming flavored butter is just about looks.
BUTTER FLAVORS: MORE ABOUT HERBS AND LEMONS
- Starting a Culinary Herb Garden At Home
When you cultivate your own mix of fresh herbs, you'll be unconstrained by the varieties usually sold in a supermarket. The only limits are your time, patience and gardening skill.
- The One Window Herb Garden
Even if only one window in your house or apartment gets good light, it's possible to start an herb garden and find satisfaction in harvesting pinches and sprigs of your own homegrown herbs.
- The Meyer Lemon
Comparing a Meyer lemon to the lemons typically sold in supermarkets is a bit like comparing an apple to a bunch of oranges. Everything is different: the taste, the color, the shape even the thickness of the skin. Meyer lemons are milder, sweeter.