Thursday, November 11, 2010

I Did It!

I made butter!  I've been wanting to try all year, and just never made it a priority.  I'm glad I waited until we were getting the higher fat Nubian milk though.  It separates better than Alpine milk, and I was able to collect 44oz of rich cream to start with.  I don't have photos because my hands were covered with butter.  Here's how I did it:
  1. Scoop cream out of jars.
  2. Mix with whip at highest speed of mixer that still keeps the cream in the bowl.
  3. The cream will expand just like whipping cream, and then start to break down-I turned the speed up at this point.
  4. When it gets watery and looks like it's going to fail, turn off the mixer and notice all the clumps of butterfat in the water!
  5. Here's where I could have used an experienced butter maker...I read the section on butter making in the Encyclopedia of Country Living, but still would have liked to have someone here.  I washed my hands, got out a fine mesh strainer, some parchment paper (so the counter wouldn't get all smeary) and a bowl of ice water.
  6. I poured the whole thing into the strainer (over yet another bowl), then scraped the butter out and tried working it on the parchment paper.  Don't do this if you're using my instructions for butter making!
  7. I ended up forming the butter into a ball and placing it back in the mixer bowl to rinse it.  The ice water didn't seem to be a good idea either.
  8. I just kept putting in enough water to cover it well, squeezed the butter thru it and poured off the milky water.  Next time I will do this with a bamboo spoon.  My hands were covered and I was kinda stuck doing what I was doing.
  9. After 6 or 8 washings I decided it was clean enough. [The rinsing keeps it from going rancid too quickly, but I don't think it will last past our first loaf of homemade bread!]  In reality you should rinse until the water is clear, and then do it again.  I thought it was clear, and then the next rinse would be just as milky.  Not sure if I just wasn't squeezing the butter enough or what.
  10. I put it in a small glass bowl and worked some salt into it with the bamboo spoon.  I rinsed it one more time too.  I think I've got about 3/4 cup of butter from the 44oz of milk.
That's it!  I have tiny pieces of butter stuck to the strainer, thinking that next time I will plan on cooking some fresh veggies that should be topped with butter and let the strainer sit over the pot while they cook-letting those particles melt onto the veggies.

If you've made butter, got any tips for a newbie?