Saturday, December 4, 2010

Homemade Butter

I've been on a dairy products kick this week, busying myself making mayonnaise, cream cheese and butter. Now I just have to do yoghurt and I'll be complete! The price of butter recently ($5.09 for 500 grams, and rising, at Pac n Save) has had me outraged. We use a lot of butter in our house as we don't eat marg or any alternative and I do a lot of baking. However, with butter at that price, it's becoming an expensive habit to keep! It makes me so mad that it is cheaper to buy some artificial, chemical-laden pseudo-food, than the real thing. So the price, along with an overwhelming desire to make everything myself, I decided to give butter a go. With 500mls of cream being around $3.30 a bottle, I was curious to see how much butter I would get, and also, if it would work out cheaper. I had hoped to use organic cream, but this appears to be very hard to source. After trying and failing to track some down, I thought it was probably best to have a trial run with some regular cream anyway.

A few searches on the internet tells me that the best way to make butter is with a stand mixer. I don't yet own one of these (although I yearn daily for a KitchenAid), so decided to give it a go with my trusty hand mixer.
500mls of cream went into a bowl, and I started mixing. Now, when you make butter (since I'm such an expert now), the cream goes through a lot of different stages.

First, it turns into whipped cream. I added about 1 tsp of salt at this point.

Then, it gets a bit lumpier.

And a bit more lumpier.

Then, just when you think you've wasted a perfectly good bottle of cream and your hand mixer is beginning to smoke, the buttermilk begins to separate and you have a bowlful of something that slightly resembles butter! Decrease the speed at this point, and keep an eye on it.

Keep beating until the butter begins to clump together, Then, drain through a sieve, and put the buttermilk aside for other baking projects.

Now, rinse your butter under cold water, and begin to squeeze it with your hand. This ensures all the buttermilk is washed out, and forms your butter into a gorgeous, yellow lump of deliciousness! Don't be ashamed to lick some of the butter remnants off your fingers, I wasn't.

Be sure to wrap the butter in clingfilm or greaseproof paper, and store in the fridge.

The verdict? Delicious, sweet, silky, creamy butter, that I can't wait to slather on some homemade bread for today's lunch, and fresh bagels in the weekend. All up, this took me about 1/2 an hour, and it would be a much less tedious task if I had the luxury of a stand mixer I could walk away from. Although, in saying that, I really enjoyed watching the cream change into butter, and feel I have a fairly good idea of the process now.

So, did I save any money? Well.... not really. From my 500mls of cream (less a splash on my porridge this morning), I ended up with 200 grams of butter. If I presume 1 litre of cream at around $6.50 (and that's not even organic) is going to give me about 500 grams of butter, I am spending an extra $1.40 to make my own. Still, I am glad I gave it a go, and even if it costs more, it sure is yummy! I think homemade butter would be a great luxury if I could afford it, and a great treat to make for special breakfast, with fresh, homemade bread.

This post is part of Real Food Wednesday.


  1. Mmmmm butter. I had a go at this a while ago too, also wondering if it'd be cheaper. We did it on a smaller scale though - just popped some cream in a jar (with enough room for shaking) and off we went! It did get slightly tiresome but it was pretty fun for Soph. I saw a vintage butter pat the other day and was so tempted to buy it, but then I'd still need to find another.

    Organic cream is nigh impossible to find! I suppose they make it all into organic butter, do you think? The first lot of organic butter I bought tasted very strange to me, almost like it was rancid, but I did try again and the next lot tasted better. I think the seasons come out more strongly in organic dairy produce, you can really taste the change in pasture and feed and so forth.

    Have you had a go at yoghurt yet? I've tried using a starter from a previous yoghurt but mine always turns out quite runny. Still good, but I quite like it creamy rather than drinkable. Maybe I'll need to buy the culture.

    Ooops that's a really long comment!


  2. Great photo tutorial there. You are right, home made butter while not something that would save money (unless you had a house cow) it does give a wonderful tasting butter. Completely unmatched by bought stuff.
    ...I just thinking I've never seen organic cream either...surely it must exist some where?

  3. For what it's worth, I had much better luck making butter with my blender than my stand mixer! I also let the cream sit on the counter for a few hours beforehand to warm up and I think that helped tremendously. You're right, though - it's DELICIOUS! :>)