Friday, October 26, 2012

How to Make the Most Delicious Butter

I love butter. Who doesn't, really? It's delicious and here is a link to an article with some information on the nutritional benefits of butter.

Because of the horrible conditions in which commercially raised cattle are kept, and the completely unnatural diet they are fed, we decided recently to only consume raw local pasture raised dairy. Lucky for us, there is a farm not far from our house which sells fresh raw milk from their pasture raised cows. Bonus points, the family who owns and operates the farm is in our homeschooling group! Talk about knowing where your food comes from.

The boys love waiving to the cows when we drive up. Thanks for the delicious milk, Ladies!

So, why raw milk? Raw milk is not homogenized or pasteurized. Homogenization is heat treating and pressurization of the butterfat globules into very small particles so they are distributed evenly throughout milk and do not rise to the top. Not good because when making butter, we want the fat to rise and separate. Pasteurization is the process of heat treating milk to 145 degrees Fahrenheit to destroy pathogens. This kills bacteria, but also makes proteins, vitamins, and milk sugars less available and destroys the enzymes that help the body assimilate them. Most milk at the grocery stores today are ULTRA pasteurized, meaning it is heated to 191 degrees Fahrenheit, effectively destroying all organisms. This process damages protein structure and completely destroys enzymes, rendering the milk useless as far as nutrition goes. But it has a month long shelf life! (Note- this shelf life is only when unopened. Once opened, all milk should be consumed within one week.) *

Now that we're done with our science lesson, on to the fun stuff! Making fresh butter! It took more trial and error than I care to admit, but hopefully you can benefit from my mistakes. Some photos are missing because of the messing around figuring out where I went wrong.

To start, let your raw milk sit for about 24 hours until the cream separates from the rest of the milk. You should see a distinctive line.

Then I took a turkey baster and sucked the cream off the top into my mixing bowl. Be careful to get only the cream and not the milk below it.

Let your cream sit on the counter and come up to room temperature.

Equip your handy dandy mixer with the whisk attachment (this can also be done with a hand mixer).
Be sure there is not too much cream in your mixing bowl. The butterfat needs space to crash around and separate from the buttermilk. I learned this the hard way and spend 20+ minutes mixing our cream the first go around.

Turn mixer on to medium speed, for the kitchen-aid I set it on level 4.

First, your cream will become foamy. If you added a bit of sugar here you'd have fresh whipped cream.

Then it will become liquidy again. Keep on mixing.

Then you will start to notice some butter solids creeping up the side of the bowl. You're almost there!!!

Then those solids will get sucked back into the buttermilk and come together, much like a dough will clean the sides of the mixing bowl when its got enough flour.


Now get yourself some cheese cloth if you have it, and a container to save your buttermilk.

Pour off your buttermilk through the cheese cloth to separate.

Look at that beautiful golden butter!

Rinse your mixing bowl with cold water, and return the butter to the bowl. Using a spatula or spoon work the butter around and rinse the butter with cold water until all the buttermilk is washed away and the water runs clear. I found it best not to let the water pour directly on the butter, but on another part of the bowl and then use a swishing motion to rinse the butter.

Once the water runs clear, transfer your butter to a dish for storage. Drink the buttermilk, its full of good for you awesomesauce, and delicious (not at all like the store bought stuff). Or use it to make buttermilk pancakes, topped with your fresh butter of course! And washed down with a glass of raw milk, naturally.

I'm not certain how long all this will keep, it's never been an issue in our house. I assume a one week rule would be safe. Enjoy!

*source- Home Cheese Making by Ricki Carroll