If you live in a country where every cow is in a field for most of the year, chances are the cream in the shops is going to be pretty good. The time-honored tradition is to make cream(usually only eaten with desserts) into butter(a portable, tasty spreadable fat that can be put on most meals).
I will show you how you can easily turn cream in your fridge, which might never be used, into butter, which will disappears proportionately to slices of toast made. I will also show the only special piece of equipment needed is a plastic water bottle.
Step 1: The Science of Butter
N.B. - Above research may need to be repeated to ensure accuracy and reliability.
Bashing cream (churning) turns it into butter and buttermilk.
This fairly miraculous procedure works in three steps:
- Churning cream breaks the membranes of the milk fat, which become little droplets and then clumps.
- More churning combines the clumps of fat with air and makes foam. The foam breaks and becomes liquid buttermilk.
- The cream is now fully separated into butter and buttermilk.
Step 2: Materials / Ingredients
Butter is essentially fat, so the cream you use must have high fat content. In Ireland, even regular cream has a high fat content. However, in many countries, cows don't get as much grass and the grass doesn't get as much rain, so you might need "double cream" or "heavy cream", which has high fat content.
- Cream, with a high fat content
- A plastic water bottle or tub with a tight-fitting lid
- Two wooden spoons or paddles - known as "Scotch Hands"
- Miscellaneous bowls or plates
- Cling wrap or tin foil
Step 3: Prepare Your Container
Fill your plastic bottle or container around half full with cream and seal tightly. You may find that you will need to change to a bigger container during the churning process if the cream becomes to tricky to handle.
Step 4: Shake
From the Oxford English Dictionary:
[with object] - Move up and down or from side to side with rapid, forceful, jerky movement
Simply shake your container (it may take up to 10 minutes) until you can hear and see a yellow mass sloshing around in a white liquid. This is butter and buttermilk!
Step 5: Draining and Salting
Slosh your butter and buttermilk into a sieve or a bowl. Empty the buttermilk into a container and use in any recipe that calls for it or sour milk. Check here for some really tasty examples.
Pour water over your butter and squish about with you wooden spoons or paddles. When the water comes of clear, squeeze out every last drop.
Slap down onto a board or plate and spread thin. Your butter should be quite dry now. Violently sprinkle salt over your butter if you like salted butter.
N.B. - It is important that you really get all the buttermilk out of the butter. Buttermilk is a host to all sorts of bacteria that you might eat in yoghurt . If those bacteria start growing in your butter, it will taste rancid and disgusting.
Step 6: Shaping and Finishing
Squidge your butter into a little pat or roll. It doesn't need to be precise.
If you added salt to your butter, it should keep for some time, maybe a week or so. Without salt, I would try to use up all the butter within a few days.
To store in your fridge, just cover in tin foil or cling wrap and place on a top shelf. If your butter is too cold, it can be nearly impossible to spread.
Step 7: Conclusion
Making butter is fun and easy. You can add herbs, sauces, spices or anything else to make flavored butter.
Have fun butter-making!
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