Thursday, 26 August 2010

Homemade Cultured Butter!

For every dairy product there is a season; churn, churn, churn.

This month our industrious Forgers joined in with Phyl Divine and made Cultured Butter!
Cultured butter is inoculated with the good flora and fauna of natural yogurt to make a delicious, sweet/tart spread just perfect for slathering on homemade bread.
This is actually my first time making butter and I love how simple it is with a stand mixer. The butter is so gloriously fresh and the by-product, buttermilk, is thick and delicious and just waiting to be made into some muffins or something delicious.
So why not try your hand at making butter this weekend!

Cultured Butter


* One quart heavy cream Not ultra-pasteurized
* 1/3 cup whole milk yogurt (Dannon is a good brand; make sure whatever you use doesn’t contain any gums or stabilizers) I used my own, homemade yogurt
* Salt, to taste I used fleur de sel, in half


1. Mix the cream and yogurt in a clean glass or ceramic bowl. Avoid plastic, which can harbor bacteria in any scratches or imperfections. Cover and let rest for 12 -18 hours, until the mixture has thickened slightly and tastes somewhat tangy. If your room is cool (i.e., less than the mid-70s), it may take longer to culture.

2. Once the mixture has cultured, cool it slightly by placing in the refrigerator for an hour or so, or by submerging the bowl in a sinkful of ice water for a minute or two. The ideal temperature is around 60° F.

3. Prepare a bowl of ice water, which you will use to clean the butter.

4. Put the cream mixture in a mixing bowl. If using a stand mixer, use the whisk attachment. Beat the mixture on high until stiff peaks form, then reduce the speed to low. Watch closely at this point, as the cream mixture will soon break, separating into butter and buttermilk. If you have a splash guard on your mixer, you might want to use it so you don’t have buttermilk flying everywhere. Once the mixture breaks, turn off the mixer.

5. Pour the buttermilk into a clean container. You can use this just as you would commercial buttermilk for drinking or baking. If you aren’t going to use it within a week or so, it can be frozen and used later for baking.

6. Press the butter with a spatula, spoon, or your hand to remove as much buttermilk as possible.

7. Pour water from the bowl of ice water over the butter to cover. Rinse the butter by kneading it under the water, then dump off the water. Continue to add water and rinse until the water you pour off is clear. It is necessary to remove all the residual buttermilk in order to keep the butter from spoiling too quickly.

8. Once the butter has been cleaned thoroughly, knead it on the counter for a minute. If you want to salt the butter, press the butter out on the counter, sprinkle lightly with salt, then knead it in. To store the butter, you can press it into ramekins or, as I prefer, roll it into logs. Cover the ramekins or wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap. If you make two butter rolls, you can freeze one for later use.

Yields two cups buttermilk and about 12 ounces butter.

New Forgers are always welcome!