It starts with heavy cream. Raw heavy cream. From a local farm. Raw cream tastes best but is hard to find. Substitute low-temperature pasteurized cream.
Two quarts of cream are gently heated in a water bath to 80 degrees (if you are using pasteurized cream, you will want to follow directions for the culture OR heat the cream to 165 and then cool it to 75-80 degrees before adding the culture). Five grams of kefir grains (or 1/2 C of yogurt or kefir) are added to the warmed cream and stirred. The top is loosely covered and the cream is allowed to sit out at room temperature for 24 hours. It sours.
It isn't ready yet.
You can do one of two things: cool the cultured cream down to 40 degrees in the refrigerator if you cannot churn it right away. It will take longer to turn to butter, anywhere from 10-20 minutes depending on the method.
Or you can immediately churn it. It will turn to butter in a stand mixer with a whip attachment in about 2 minutes - so don't walk away from it or you will have a very messy kitchen.
To churn buter, you can use, what else, a butter churn:
or the bowl of a stand mixer.
And mix. Until the buttermilk starts to seep out.
Cold cream takes 20 minutes in an old-fashioned churn. Or 10 minutes in a stand mixer. You will sweat if you use the butter churn. It is hard to crank that handle.
Pour off the buttermilk. And mix some more. Until it is smooth and most of the buttermilk is ready to be poured off again and used in a recipe.
And mix the butter until smooth.
And then you can knead it, if your hands are cool. If not, use a spatula. Sprinkle on some salt. I like Maldon - the shape is perfect and it melts in your mouth. Add only a teaspoon at a time.
And then pat it into a baking pan lined with plastic wrap, if you don't have an old fashioned wooden butter mold. And most of us don't.
Chill it. And slice it into sticks or squares or turn into quenelles. Or don't chill it, and use a piping bag to pipe it into the shape you like. Stars are an old-fashioned restaurant cliche, so give it a try, just for the irony.
Freeze the butter or use it immediately.
Basic Butter Recipe:
(note: your yield will be approximately HALF of what you begin with, ie if you begin with 1 quart of heavy cream, your yield will be 2 cups of butter, or approximately 1 lb).
- 1 quart heavy cream, preferably raw or low temp pasteurized
- 1/2 C yogurt with live cultures OR 1/2 C kefir with live cultures OR 5g kefir or yogurt culture
- 1t to 1T sea salt, coarse
If using pasteurized cream, heat it in a stainless steel pot to at least 165 degrees F. Remove from heat, cool to 80 degrees and add yogurt OR kefir OR culture. If using raw milk, place milk in pan of hot water and stir until temperature is 80 degrees. Add yogurt OR kefir OR culture.
Place a lid (not air-tight) over the top and allow to sit in a warm place for at least 24 hours to sour.
Check cream. If sour, place in refrigerator and allow to cool to at least 40 degrees. If not sour, leave out and check every four hours, up to another 24 hours.
Once cream has cooled, place in either a butter churn (if you have one) or the bowl of a food processor. If using a churn, it will take about 20 minutes. If using a food processor, using a whip, begin to slowly churn cream. When it finally starts to become butter, switch to the paddle. As the butter starts to form, it will give off buttermilk. Remove and save buttermilk (it will be very messy to use your stand mixer otherwise). Add salt. Mold. Freeze if not using right away.
*This post is part of the Food Renegade's Fight Back Friday link carnival where you can read all about real food.*