Recipes with Julie Van Rosendaal: Make your own butter
It's not that difficult to make your own creamy, pure butter
Canadians have been talking about butter lately, noticing it has changed in texture — it's firmer at room temperature than it used to be, not always spreadable or easily beaten straight from the cupboard.
Regardless of whether this is an issue for you and your baking projects, making your own butter is a good idea — particularly when you have (ahem) extra time at home, or have perhaps mastered sourdough.
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Homemade butter takes approximately 10 minutes, and the result is pure, delicious, sweet or salted butter that's on par with fancy imports that come with a hefty price tag.
Make your own butter
Pick up some heavy whipping cream. At the grocery store, most whipping cream is 33-36 per cent milk fat (or butter fat — the two terms are interchangeable), but if you can find smaller bottles of heavy cream from Vital Green Farms, an organic dairy farm out in Picture Butte, it's a whopping (wonderful) 52 per cent milk fat.
All you need to do is agitate your cream until the butter fat separates from the buttermilk — whip it, beat it, shake it, process it… use a stand mixer or hand beaters, a food processor or even a jar.
Whip, shake or blend your cream until it's stiff, then keep on going… eventually it will start to break down, and then get splashy as the fat coagulates into butter, separating from the watery buttermilk.
Continue to do this until you have a lump of what looks like butter, sitting in a pool of buttermilk. (You can pour the buttermilk off, save it and use it in pancakes and such.)
Transfer the butter to a bowl and work it with the back of a spoon, pressing it up against the side of the bowl, to extract as much buttermilk as you can. If you like, add a big pinch of salt — to your taste — and work it in.
If you leave it out, you'll have what's often referred to as sweet (unsalted) butter.
You can then wash your butter. Put the lump into a bowl of ice-cold water and squeeze it to work out any residual buttermilk, which will make it go rancid faster.
If you like, change the cold water as it gets cloudy, until it runs clear.
Shape your butter into a log and wrap it in parchment, or into a ramekin to store in the fridge.
There you go — you made your own butter! Keep it in the fridge for up to a few weeks, depending how much buttermilk you've managed to extract, if you manage to not eat it all spread on saltines.
- Check out Julie Van Rosendaal's full interview on the Calgary Eyeopener below: