Making good quality tasty butter at home is time consuming, but easy and delicious if you don’t mind a bit of a wait. I make European style cultured butter, rather than the sweet butter commonly found in supermarkets in the USA. Old fashioned cultured butter is made by adding live bacteria to cream then leaving it to stand overnight before it is churned or whisked. The live bacteria and the standing process result in a product that is silky rather than waxy in texture and has a rich, sweet but slightly tangy flavour. Shop bought cultured butter tends to be more expensive as it takes a lot longer to make and is often produced in smaller batches but making it at home is very cost effective. I pay approximately $1.20 for 360g compared to $8.55 for the equivalent sized block of Lurpak, but cost is very dependent on whether you can acces a cheap source of cream.
– 1 litre double cream
– 1/2 drop Mesophilic Starter culture or substitute 2 tablespoons of yogurt with live culture
– Iodophor (or other sterilising solution)
– Salt to taste
I skim the litre of double cream from 10 litres of full fat milk (see blog on skimming cream from milk) but you could always just buy a carton of double cream. I buy the mesophyllic culture from Mad Millie. It costs $12 for a pack of three sachets and each sachet will culture about 8 batches of butter. The recipe I use was adapted from the Mad Millie Artisan cheese booklet.
– Container with lid
– Electric whisk or hand whisk
– Mixing spoon
– Measuring spoon with drop measurements
Step 1. Sterilise all equipment then pour the cream into the lidded container
Step 2. Raise the temperature of the cream to 20° C. I simply placed the cream in the container near the fire, but you could use a water bath or place on the stove for a short time.
Step 3. Add culture 1/2 drop of start culture to the cream
Place the lid on the container and leave to stand overnight
By the next morning the cream should have set
Step 4. Whisk the cream at a low speed. If you are using a hand whisk this stage can be seriously laborious so part way through you will probably convince yourself it is never going to work. Persevere, it just takes time. An electric whisk makes this task a LOT easier.
Eventually the buttermilk (which is a slightly grey colour) begins to separate from the butter. Pour the buttermilk into a jar or other container and save for cooking. It makes ridiculously good pancakes.
After pouring off the buttermilk you are left with the creamy yellow butter.
Step 5. Using the spoon or a spatula press and fold the butter to squeeze out more buttermilk and drain. Pour some cold water into the bowl and continue pressing and folding the butter, then pour away the water.
Repeat this process until the water appears virtually clear.
Form the butter into a ball with the spoon and pour off any water released. Add salt if required and mix into the butter.
Store the butter in baking paper or an airtight container and place in the fridge. Alternatively, pop it in the freezer in the same packaging and save for later use.