Butter me up

A little background

The farm we buy milk, eggs and meat from, Pasture Nectar Farms, offers raw cream produced by their grass-fed cows, which I decided to try for making butter and ice cream.  I will not dwell on the negative hype surrounding butter over the past few decades, but suffice to say, there have been many assumptions that do not apply to butter made from milk produced by grass-fed cows.  The Weston A. Price Foundation published an excellent article on Why Butter is Better and how our culture has made itself sick through a phobia of fat and cholesterol.  Thankfully, doctors such as Dr. Stephen Sinatra, a cardiologist who’s been practicing for over 30 years and the author of The Great Cholesterol Myth, are discovering and speaking about just how wrong we’ve been about it.

I despise the anti-fat sentiment out there, but knowledge is power.  My family and I know butter is healthy and consume it regularly.  In our journey in the traditional diet, finding grass-fed raw butter has been not only expensive but incredibly difficult.  So, I gave churning my own a whirl!  There are many recipes out there, but they pretty much follow some general rules:  start with (raw, grass-fed) cream and clean off ALL the buttermilk.  You can add salt or whatever ingredients you like (such as garlic), but I kept it simple because this is how I like it.  Speaking of simple, making your own butter could not be any easier!

“Churning” butter

Unfortunately, I did not have my whisk attachment for my KitchenAid stand mixer when I made this, so I had to use my small food processor.  It would’ve been a lot easier with the stand mixer, but it’s in one of the six boxes of kitchen stuff sitting in storage due to lack of space–I did not have the energy to find it.  Here’s my recipe to make butter:

What you need —

  1. 1 quart raw cream (from grass-fed cows)
  2. Stand mixer with a whisk attachment (or food processor)
  3. Sieve
  4. Filtered water

Place cream in stand mixer or food processor and mix until butter becomes clumpy and grainy.  This step took about five minutes in my food processor because the sharp blade cut the fat globules smaller than a paddle or whisk would have.  I highly advise using a stand mixer for this reason!  When using a stand mixer, start the mixer off at the highest power that doesn’t cause the cream to “fly” out the bowl then increase speed as butter thickens.

"Churning" butter

“Churning” butter

After butter has fully churned, rinse the buttermilk off completely by draining the buttermilk into a separate bowl using a sieve.  Next use filtered water to “wash” the remaining buttermilk off while the butter is in the sieve.  You won’t need to keep the buttermilk or water from this phase, but the first draining of the buttermilk is straight, pure buttermilk that can be used to make yummy concoctions such as pancakes or biscuits.  It is utterly crucial to remove all the buttermilk.  For my first try at making butter, I did not completely remove the buttermilk (though I thought I did), which caused the butter to go rancid much quicker.

Clumpy butter

Clumpy butter

When you’ve washed the buttermilk completely off the butter, you can season it with salt or whatever then form it in a container.  Voila!  Raw butter (and buttermilk)!  I froze a lot of this batch to save it, so you can certainly make large batches for long-term use.  Make sure to store it in an airtight container because butter will soak up odors in the refrigerator or freezer.  I used my buttermilk to make some delicious soaked buttermilk pancakes, which I topped with my butter of course. 😉

Fresh butter and buttermilk!

Fresh butter and buttermilk!

Whatever you do, don’t give up if things don’t work out perfectly.  The creamy, fresh taste of real butter is worth it in the end!




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