“I’m smoove, like butta”*

I know I promised a post on meals, but I’m still collecting photos of our food, so, once again, I say, “next week”!  To tide you hungry (tee hee) readers over, I’ll share a bit about our blender butter.  T’s thoughts are on a totally different topic this week, so be sure to check back for his separate post soon.

I was completely surprised at how quick and easy it is to make butter.  I know many of you friends and family are accomplished cooks, so this may not have been news to you.  For me it is another example of how far I’ve been living (actually, and metaphorically) from the source of my food.  Apparently, you can just put butter in a container and shake it by hand if you are patient enough.  M told us that she once got her daughter to help with making butter by having her jump on the trampoline with a container of cream!

We got our instructions for blender butter here and here (gotta love the vast library of the internet).  Neither one shows photos of the last steps of “cleaning” the butter, so I’ve included images here.  Apparently this is important if you want to store the butter, because uncleaned butter doesn’t keep as well. If you are eating or using it right away it probably doesn’t matter, though I imagine the moisture content in uncleaned butter might do unexpected things to a recipe.

Raw milk with a top layer of cream

So, of course, if you are using raw milk, you’ve got to skim your cream.  M suggests letting the cream rise in the fridge for at least two days to really get the best heavy fats out.  She also has a method for skimming and separating the heavy cream from the lighter cream, though I haven’t yet observed her technique.  There is a slight blue to yellow color shift between the milk and cream which hopefully you can make out in the photo above.  We just used a little scoop or measuring cup to skim the cream.  I’m sure M will have a better method.

Skimming cream

The good, gloppy stuff

Watch the video link above to see what the “churning” process looks like up to this point.  Below is the end of the process, where the fat molecules have congealed to each other, and clumps of solid butter have separated from the liquid.

Butter clumps rise to the top

Next we strained the butter through cheese cloth and a colander, squeezed out additional liquid, and stored the liquid, which is, duh, buttermilk (again, I was completely naive to this).

Straining out the buttermilk

Golden goodness

Squeezing out buttermilk

The cleaning process I mentioned above consists of spreading, mounding, draining, and rinsing in cold water repeatedly to push out any remaining buttermilk.  Notice the milky droplets on the surface of the butter in the photo below (click on it to enlarge).

Spreading

Mounding

Rinsing in cold water

Homemade butter doesn’t keep as long as store bought, so we are trying to use it up as quick as we can.  No complaints here!  Mostly we’ve been having it on bread, but I used some to roast some potatoes with garlic and thyme from the garden, and I know we’ll pile it on those buttermilk pancakes this weekend.

The finished product

It was so fun to watch the miraculous phase transition and end up with this sunny yellow balm.  M taught us that spring and summer butter have a richer yellow color because the cows are eating more grass in the pasture.  T recently read that pasture fed cows produce good fats in their milk that can actually lower the risk of heart disease.  Plus, it just tastes better.  Yum.

Remember to check back soon for T’s post on “something completely different”.+

* “Butter” A Tribe Called Quest, on The Low End Theory, 1991
+  Monty Python’s Flying Circus

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