Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Cultured butter

While i was at Expo West a few weeks ago, i was fortunate to meet the great folks of Straus Creamery. I am a big fan of their dairy products using them for all of the cheese classes-LOVE their glass containers (great for my various booze projects) and the quality is amazing. At the Expo, i was going on-and-on about my love for them and they hooked me up with a few coupons which I recently used to make butter.
 (Straus containers make EXCELLENT containers for bitters!)

I used to make butter by shaking cream in a little jar with a few pinches of salt, but this time I wanted to use my KitchenAid to save my arms and make a little more than a single serving (although jar churning is a great project for kids).  I also wanted to experiment making the "European-style" butter, also known as cultured butter which has a more complex flavor with a hint of tang and just simply, a more intense butter flavor. I for sure recommend taking the extra step to make this kind of butter once you have made quick butter.
(thick, creamy and ready to churn)

What Happens When You Make Butter...
Butter is the fat of milk or cream.  Agitation of the cream or churning, separates the milk fats from the liquid part of the cream (buttermilk). The more you churn, the more the fats try to connect with other fats until you have large particles that can be brought together by hand. Some people call butter, "an overwhipped-whipped cream", and they are pretty much right. There are a number of ways that you can churn butter: a jar, Cuisenart, old-school butter churner (expensive but mucho cute factor), or in my case the Kitchenaid.

 (getting there...)
European-style cultured butter is not as widely available however, and if you do find it, can be a little pricey (at least as far as butter goes). Making it yourself is simple, flavorful and pretty inexpensive, especially since you can use the leftover buttermilk to make other yummy things like bread!

(whipped cream stage: almost there...)

  • 1c. organic cream (I used 2c. and I ended up with almost 2c. butter!)
  • 1t yogurt culture
Let the cream sit for an hour in a bowl and cover with a towel. Add 1t culture (some people add yogurt-try it!) and mix. Let it sit out to develop for 10-14hrs, the cream should start to thicken on top (still covering). If you cannot mix right away, put it in the fridge. Once you are ready to churn, make sure the cream is around 60F. Add to mixer and put a towel on top (you will thank me later) and keep checking on it, in less than 5 minutes you will see the fat develop.

 (we've got butter!)
 (buttermilk mess: keep your eyes on the mixer!)

Once there is enough of the butter formed, strain the butter from the liquid (make sure to keep the liquid) and work the butter over and over, you will see more buttermilk released, allow to drain for 10 minutes.
(first stage draining)

After the first draining, rinse the butter over cold water while mashing/squeezing the butter. The fat will stay, but the liquid will come out. Once you feel you have enough liquid removed from the butter, wrap in plastic and store in the fridge. I like to separate the butter in 1/2 adding salt to one batch and leaving the other plain.  The fat of the butter will make it last much longer than cream if you keep it cold and wrap it well (plus it won't adopt certain fridge flavors!)

(second stage straining)

 Now that I am into cultured butter I am going to try clotted cream, ghee and I have already started looking into some cute butter molds!


mothercluck said...

Cannot wait to try it, Delilah! Looks so beautiful!

Esperanza said...

Thanks for posting this! Very helpful and inspiring. Any chance you know how to separate the cream from unpasturized whole fat milk?

Evie G. said...

Delilah, Absolutely awesome! Gonna try it soon.

Dave Lieberman said...

Esperanza, pour the unpasteurised whole milk into a gravy separator (or multiple gravy separators, or a scrupulously clean cooler with a drain on the bottom) and let it sit, covered, in the fridge until the cream rises. Then pour off the skim milk until you see the cream start to come with it—that's all there is to it. Save the skim milk for other uses (you can make quite decent ricotta from it by heating it with a splash of acid such as lemon juice or vinegar, for example).