Friday, March 22, 2013

Making Butter

The first time I made butter, I started by shaking the jar in my lap.  It's doable, but time consuming.  Then I bought the little red paint mixer attachment for the drill, seen below.  It worked fairly well, and fit right into the 4L glass jars. 
Last time, I stacked the fresh milk in the fridge waiting for the cream to come to the top, then I'd skim it off, and then I'd have three or four days worth of milk to use up.  This time I'm using sun tea jars for the milk in the fridge.  The cream still rises to the top, while the milk below can be used.  No waiting.
This time I'm spoiled, since I now have the kitchenaid stand mixer.  Pour in the cream and set it to whip.  Watch as the cream turns to whipped cream to slush to butter, in just minutes!
It does splatter a bit if you fill it too full, and again once the butter chunks up.  All stop!  Pour off the buttermilk.  And that, right there, is the cause of the backlog of milk in the fridge!  I started with this little jar to pour the buttermilk into and had to grab a clean 4L jar to finish.  I had forgotten how much buttermilk you get back out once the butter forms. 
I switched to the beater attachment to beat the butter with cold water to get out the last of the buttermilk.  Then I beat it dry.  Then I added 1/2 tsp salt.
I lined these square salad containers with saran wrap.  
And smooshed in the butter.  I probably should have let them stiffen up before pulling them out of the containers.  They lost some of the square shape.
Two 'pounds' of butter (I didn't weigh it) went in the freezer, plus a small dish for the fridge.

Now to use up that buttermilk...


  1. I have never had homemade butter or buttermilk. Well, I do make buttermilk but not as the product of butter.

    Could I be in love with your mixer?

    When I find butter on sale, I buy it and freeze it. The other day I read that butter loses some of its nutritional value (enzymes or something) when it is frozen. Do you know anything about this? Froen butter without all its nutrition is still better than margarine! Just wondering if you know.

    How often will you make butter? Do the boys drink buttermilk?

    1. lol- I'm in love with my mixer. I regret not buying one sooner. It's just so handy!

      All foods lose nutrients during storage and the longer they're stored the more they lose. There's not much that can be done to stop it.

      I think I might be doing a batch (pound) of butter every day for awhile. The one advantage of the paint mixer was that I could mix a full jar at once. The kitchenaid can't handle that much without spraying milk across the room, so there's really no point in waiting for a full jug.

      I want to store (freeze) over a year's worth of butter. Butterfat content will drop in the coming months, so I'm going to get as much frozen for next winter as I can. We won't be planning to calve until April/May 2014, so it'll be a little over a year before we're back to making butter when the current supply dwindles. I figure we probably use close to a pound per week, so my goal is to put about 70 pounds in the freezer.

      No, they tried it, but aren't fans. I'll be using it to bake.

    2. Thanks. The nutrient answer was so obvious NOW. When I find good sales throughout the year at holiday sales, I buy and freeze butter and margarine.

      Why will the butterfat content drop? 70 lbs is a LOT of butter. I sat here trying to envision that much in a freezer.Will it store in your cold room?

      Since I like yogurt in smoothies, I imagine that buttermilk would be good in smoothies, too.

      It's not a perfect diet by any means, but people can survive on bread and butter, both of which it appears you are comfortable making.

    3. Butterfat content will drop because it wasn't intended for human consumption. Mama cow makes thick rich milk for baby cow. As baby cow grows and starts grazing his nutritional needs change. Mama cow starts producing milk more suitable for young calf.

      I'm not sure how long butter stores in fridge like temperatures. I've never had any around long enough to go bad. The cold room is a little chillier than the fridge through the winter, a little warmer than the fridge through the summer. It's not something I want to experiment with.

      I made cream of celery soup with yesterday's jar of butterfat. Using it up won't be hard in cooking/baking. It's just the storage space to keep everything separated. I really need to think about a second fridge.

    4. Wendy,
      Once again, the answer is so obvious!(butterfat)

      Your cold room has always fascinated me and made me wish I had one, too.

      That must have been some hearty cream of celery soup. Since I love cream of celery soup, I should learn to make it.

    5. I would be lost without my cold room!

      I used this recipe for the cream of celery soup
      substituting buttermilk for the stock, and cornstarch for the clearjel. It was delicious!

  2. This is EXCITING! It almost makes me feel like moving to a bigger place to accomodate a cow. lol Are there such a thing as mini dairy cows? I only have an acre of land.

    1. Thanks. There are... I think Dexter's are a mini dual purpose.
      Here's an article

      They tend to be expensive though, and if there isn't anyone close by with a bull you'd probably have to do artificial insemination. I actually wanted mini herefords when we started out, but they were running $2500 each, plus delivery cause there aren't any nearby.

  3. We still shake ours in a jar. Usually about 2 quarts at a time. Love homemade butter. Hubby does a lot of the shaking and I have to watch him. He puts a lot of salt in it. We also freeze butter but this family uses more like a pound a day! :) I use the buttermilk in biscuits and soda bread.

    1. I found the shaking to be far too time consuming with Dorie's milk. Even the paint mixer took a lot longer than the kitchenaid is taking with Mildred's milk. It's probably the butterfat quality, but still, I'm happy to have the mixer! I'm going to try some biscuits. Since I killed my sourdough starter again, I should try a soda bread and see what the boys think of it.

  4. Talk of buttermilk brings back old memories of a beloved uncle who had a glass of buttermilk every day for his health - when I visited, I always tried it, but never liked it. I can picture him now, wiping it off his bristly walrus mustache...
    I've heard of mini-Jersey cows too, but they're expensive from what I hear.

    1. What a great memory! I love when something simple brings back good memories like that.