Making butter is really pretty easy, kids often do it in school by shaking a little cream in a mason jar. But we got interested in really making our own butter after we read Melissa Clark’s article in last Wednesday’s New York Times.
According to Clark imported European butters not only have a bit higher butterfat content, but a bit of a nutty tang because they are slightly fermented or cultured. Her recipe attempts to capture that taste in making butter by adding some yoghurt to the mix.
This is a fun project you can do with your children, although you might be careful about getting their hands in the butter as the butterfat is troublesome to clean off little hands.
We got some Dannon All Natural Plain yoghurt at Stop and Shop, along with a quart of heavy whipping cream for this trial.
- 4 cups heavy cream
- 1/2 cup plain whole milk yoghurt
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- The idea is to let the yoghurt ferment the cream slightly, so we mixed the yoghurt and most of the cream in a quart mason jar, tightened the lid and shook it to mix the yoghurt in.
- Then we loosened the cap and let it sit on the kitchen counter overnight, about 18 hours in this case.
- Then we put the mixture in a food processor and processed it for just under 3 minutes until it had obviously formed creamy butter curds.
- Then we put a strainer over a bowl and lined it with a double layer of cheesecloth. The cheesecloth should extend beyond the sieve for some distance in all directions, so you can wrap the cloth around the butter ball.
- Then we poured the liquid part of the butter mixture through the cheesecloth and then added the solids using a rubber spatula.
- We wrapped the cheese cloth around the butter ball to wring out the liquid, and found that it wasn’t wide enough, so we just wrapped the whole thing in more cheesecloth and squeezed.
- We saved the liquid in the bowl as buttermilk, and then scraped the butterball out of the cheese cloth with a rubber spatula.
- Then we poured about 1/3 cup of ice water over the butter curds to rinse out any liquid and repeated this 3 more times until the liquid was clear.
- As the ice water cools the butter it gets harder but you should disregard Clarks instruction to work the butter with your hands as it is a mess to clean off. Instead we continued to use the spatula.
- We put the butterball on a piece of parchment and sprinkled it with a little salt and worked it in.
- Then we divided the ball in two, placed each on its own parchment and rolled each into a cylinder and twisted the ends. We chilled the butter for half an hour before trying it on an English muffin.
We found the butter really tasty, but we didn’t notice that any nutty flavor had developed. However we got two sticks of superior butter out of this that was more than worth it.