Making Your Own Homemade Butter
Making Your Own Butter Is Easier Than You Think!
At the early 20th century, butter was something that most people still made for themselves. Just 100 years later, most people don't have the faintest idea of how butter is made, and a high percentage probably aren't even eating butter made from dairy anymore.
Natural, organic butter is a lot healthier than modern society would have you think, and making it yourself doesn't have to take a lot of time or any fancy equipment. One benefit of making it yourself is that you do get some exercise (lots of shaking). Another is that you wind up with a much smaller amount, not the pounds and pounds that come fast from the store. This helps in that you pick and choose when you're going to eat it instead of using it constantly.
At the very least, this makes a great rainy day project for the kids, and will teach them a lot about where food comes from and how it gets made.
Ready to make your own butter?
Why bother making butter yourself?
That's actually a good question!
For most of my life, I didn't think much about butter. Eventually I arrived at the special time of life called "middle age" when your digestion and metabolism often shift and you start to think more about what you eat and what it does to your body. There are some foods that give me inflammatory issues, which is a fancy way of saying that when I eat certain stuff, it makes my knees and ankles start to crackle. If I eat a lot, they might even hurt.
I took a food class on inflammation and learned one of key triggers from some people is dairy. For me dairy isn't as bad as several other foods. But as I got more and more into fine-tuning what I was eating, I found myself reading wider and wider on inflammation. It's annoying and there's no one way to deal with it. Then my sister (who took the same class and was grappling with the same issue but different foods) read me something out of book she'd found at the library one night.
While milk can be very inflammatory to some people (including her), it turns out that there is a whole family of nutrients in RAW milk that get destroyed by pasteurization (heating) and homogenization (permanent blending) which actually protect joints against calcification (a huge cause of inflammation). Wow, there was no mention of that the the class we took!
Lucky us, we live in a state where you can buy raw milk right from the producer at farmer's markets. But selling raw butter is not legal. We did some testing (a fancy word for eating) of the raw milk and my sister didn't have any reaction at all. I decided to commit to trying to only eat or drink raw diary and see if over the course of several months there is any change in my knees and ankles. And that's what put me on the path to making my own raw butter.
To make butter, you need to start with cream. Heavy whipping cream. This has the high concentration of butter fat you need.
This may sound wrong, but you will want to let your cream sit out at room temperature for about 8-12 hours. This allows it to sour ever so slightly. This actually makes it a lot easier to get the butter fat to come together.
Pour your thickened cream into a jar that is twice as big as the volume of cream. You need the space, especially if shaking.
Making Homemade Butter By Shaking - a straight-up butter-making method
Making homemade butter can be as easy as getting some heavy whipping cream and an empty jar. This is a great way to do it with kids or for folks who don't want to have a lot of kitchen gear to clean up afterwards. I found this to be the most helpful of all the videos I watched on beginning butter-making.
Making Butter with a Stick Blender - from cream to soft butterClick thumbnail to view full-size
One of the tricks to making butter is to make sure you do not over-whip or over-blend the butter. It won't be a total disaster if you do, but when that happens it means that too much buttermilk gets mashed in with the forming butter fats. This makes permanent soft butter spread and not firm butter.
Don't feel bad if this happens! Your soft, spreadable butter will still taste good. But be sure to eat it more quickly, as the increased buttermilk can lead it to spoil faster.
Traditional Butter Paddles - for draining and firming up the butter
These are the traditional paddles used to drain butter and make it more firm. Basically they help squeeze water and excess buttermilk out of the butter fat.
Straining and Rinsing Your Soft Butter - firming up and finishing the butterClick thumbnail to view full-size
Interested In Making Your Own Butter?
Are you going to give butter-making a try?
Other methods for making butter
Here you'll find demonstrations for other ways to make butter, from using a traditional churn, to using an Amish hand-cranked device, to using a modern electric mixer.
If you tried making your own butter, please let us know how it went! Did you have any problems? Let us know what went wrong and chances are someone (might be me, might be someone else) will come along with a suggestion for your next attempt.