Saturday, May 23, 2015

Adventures in Dairy

Well hello there, May.

I made butter last week. It was surprisingly easy.

The Google can tell you a lot of ways to do this. What I did:

  1. Dump a pint of cream (pasteurized, not ultra-pasteurized) into the mixing bowl of a standing mixer.
  2. Use the whip attachment
  3. Whip on medium-high for awhile (8 minutes?)
Oh yeah, once it starts to butter-ize, it will start to get messy as the buttermilk starts sloshing around, so drape a kitchen towel over the mixer. I hear a handheld mixer works just as well, just requires a little longer. Or, you know, an hour of hand whipping.

Overwhipped cream

Starting to butter (see the moisture at the bottom?)

I took a Beginning Dairy class a few weeks ago (no, not really the name) where we made butter by passing around a sealed mason jar full of cream and everyone shakes it for a couple minutes. After about 20 minutes you get the same results. We also made ricotta and discussed yogurt, feta, and other young cheeses. Apparently I need a good cave to make aged cheeses. Bummer.

I really like very fresh butter that hasn't picked up any off flavors. I have a problem with most grocery store butter, as it so often tastes just that little bit funky. It's fine for cooking, but straight up, it tastes like whatever else happens to be near it. I admit to occasionally paying way too much for fresh farm butter from the farmers market, since it just tasted like butter, and nothing else (which I would use a tiny bit of, and freeze-hoard the rest, slowly thawing out pieces for myself). My butter tasted pretty close to this, which makes me happy.

Oh, to make it last longer, I did rinse it in several washes of ice water:

  1. Pour out the buttermilk into another container
  2. Pour ~a cup of ice water onto the butter
  3. Squish with rubber spatula
  4. Dump out the cloudy ice water
And repeat until the dumped ice water is no longer cloudy. 

I should have froze some of it, because it makes way more butter than I can eat in a few days. Although I did then have to go bake a loaf of oatmeal buttermilk sandwich bread, so I could a) use up the buttermilk, and b) have my butter on my bread. Yum.