butter from scratch

I had no idea how easy it is to make your own butter. No idea!  I recall using a wooden butter churn in 1st grade, many, many years ago, with each of us taking a turn with spinning the handle. After quite a while (seemed like hours to a 7 year old) we had creamy butter on saltines. It was delicious.

Today my oldest child celebrated Colonial Day at school. He spent the last month writing a bio of John Hancock, researching the requirements to become a proper wainwright, and crafting a costume and properly aged accessories, such as “parchment” paper complete with stained and curled edges.

In honor of his fun day I decided to make butter for our dinner. I found a recipe online and, thanks to my Kitchen-Aid mixer and my own spin on ingredients, this was a project that couldn’t have been simpler.


You’ll need:

  • A heavy-duty stand mixer
  • towel
  • 16 oz. heavy cream
  • plastic wrap
  • herbs and seasonings (optional)

Pour the heavy cream into your mixing bowl. Attach the whipping attachment. Secure the bowl and turn the mixer on high speed. Cover the mixer with a towel to prevent liquid from spraying out.  Let it mix for about 15 minutes.

After about 10 minutes, check on the cream to see where it’s at. At first it will turn into whipped cream. Keep going!  Over the next few minutes it will begin to look almost curdled as the buttermilk separates. This is when it’s really important to have the towel covering the bowl. The buttermilk will spray out. Let it mix about another minute. You should see whitish watery milk separating from the solids.

Turn off the mixer and bring the bowl over to the sink. Scoop out a handful of the butter and squish it between your fingers. It will immediately form into a firm ball. SQUEEZE out as much buttermilk as possible and rinse under cool water. It’s important to remove the buttermilk because this will cause the butter to go rancid quickly.

I ended up making three different kinds of butter with my three handfuls but you can also form them altogether as one if you want. It’s easier to squeeze out the buttermilk in small handfuls and then combine them.

Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze or place in an airtight container and use within a few days.

My favorite add-ins (knead about a teaspoon or so into the butter):

  • Garlic salt
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Honey
  • Orange rind, finely chopped

Spread on toast, crackers, bread. Enjoy!

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