Appropriately enough, the first post on this blog is about making your own butter*.
First, you’ll need some heavy cream or whipping cream (33% milk fat or more). The process works best when the cream is room temperature, so if the cream has been refrigerated leave it out on the counter until it warms up.
As a side-note, butter-making also works well (and is delicious) when the cream has been fermented. To do this, mix two tablespoons of cultured buttermilk into the cream, cover it and let it sit in a warm spot on your counter for 24-36 hours. The buttermilk contains bacteria that will generate lactic acid to preserve the cream and give it a slightly sour taste (you are basically making creme fraiche). Once the cream has fermented, mix well and proceed with the rest of the steps.
The technique for making butter is quite simple, consisting of agitating the cream so that the fat separates out from the liquid and congeals together. You can do this with a food processor. Or, you can put the cream in a container with a tight-fitting lid (such as a mason jar), making sure you fill the container only half-full, and start shaking.
As you agitate the cream it will shortly turn into whipped cream. If you’re using the jar/container method, you’ll notice that shaking becomes much more difficult.
If you keep going, the shaking will eventually become easier again and you’ll have something that looks like clotted cream.
Keep going a little longer and the fat and the liquid will fully separate. Drain the liquid off (drink it if you want, as it’s just skim milk) and the solid you’re left with is unrinsed butter.
Rinse the butter in cold water to remove leftover traces of milk. If you don’t do this, the butter will go rancid quickly. Rinse 5-7 times, making sure you turn the butter over a few times and squeeze it a little so that you get all the milk out.
Once the butter is rinsed, squeeze out the excess water (I use the back of a spoon), getting as much of the water out as possible. The butter will be soft and creamy. You can mix in a bit of salt if you like, which will also make the butter last longer.
*Thanks to Shelagh for coming up with the name for this blog.