Those who know me know that I have a strong interest in traditional women's skills. Knitting and cooking are two of the big ones, and I'm making strides into food preservation, but there are a lot of foods we now buy which traditionally would have been made at home.
A few days ago, while cruising through someone else's blog**, I read about their attempts at making butter at home. Not with a butter churn, not with a handful of marbles in a peanut butter jar (a science experiment my son's class did several years ago), but with a stand mixer. Honestly, it was like being struck by lightening. I was stunned at the simplicity and wondered why I've never thought of it before. After all, that's the big thing you need to watch out for with a stand mixer - you let your cream whip for too long and before you know it, it's butter.
So I trotted out to the store this morning and got some whipping cream (word on the blog-osphere: get the heaviest cream you can find and don't bother trying with anything lighter than whipping cream).
I put a cup of cream in the mixer, fitted it with the whisk and turned it on. A word of advice, if you have a splatter guard, use it.
I ran it on high for a few minutes, and watched it become whipped cream, then heavily whipped cream. It was about here that I stopped the mixer and changed the attachment to the beater blade. I started it up again and very quickly the cream broke and I had butter and buttermilk. I poured off the buttermilk, washed the remaining butter a few times to get all the buttermilk out
et voilá - I had butter. Start to finish, it took about 10 minutes.
It would be dead simple to adapt this to be garlic butter, herbed butter or even a slightly sweet butter. And if you get a high quality cream, there's nothing funky in your butter either.
Would I do this all the time? Not likely as it simply isn't cost effective. I don't have a cow so I have to pay retail for the cream which cost me about $7 for a litre. I used one cup of cream to get about half a cup of butter and half a cup of buttermilk (which I never use), so I can see getting about a pound of butter out of the entire litre. But butter doesn't cost $7/lb.
That being said, I'll definitely do this again.
**A huge thank you to Purplebeary83 who put the idea in my head. She'll claim it wasn't her idea at all, but she made it look easy enough that I had to try it myself.