How to make butter: It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s . . . butter!

A serendipitous discovery: a new friend, with too much raw cream and milk to process herself, offered some to others in the area, in exchange for a share of whatever they made from it. Oh, Gosh. I was there, with dreams of homemade ice cream, homemade kefir, and homemade butter dancing in my head. I am so green (or one might say, “raw” ha!) in this area, compared to many of the homesteading folks I know. I don’t have a milk cow (or even goats!), so making cheese or kefir or yogurt or my own raw butter is just the thing of dreams for me.

I’ve never actually done it.

So green that I didn’t even know that you make butter out of cream, not milk. I know. Silly moi. So I was surprised when I mentioned–as my new friend was filling a bucket with rich, creamy milk–that I was going to make butter, and she pulled out several jars of heavy cream. “Well, you’ll need cream, then,” she said, as she helped me load up my car. Okay. My new friend sent me home with 6 2-quart jars of heavy raw cream, and a 5-gallon bucket of raw milk. I felt like a queen, loaded with riches from a foreign land. Gold. Diamonds. Precious gems. Raw cream and milk.

A very clueless queen. I had no idea how I was going to transform that lovely raw cream into butter, and to complicate matters, I had a very busy week ahead of me. No blocked-out hours on my calendar said “butter-making day,” alas. Only a half-hour or so, here and there. How was I going to accomplish all this butter-making in the least amount of time possible?

I had a few moments before I needed to fetch Malachi to his piano lesson, so I did a quick perusal of articles on the internet on how to make butter. This is what I found:

  • It’s easy.
  • It’s fun.
  • It’s fun and easy.
  • You can use your blender or food processor and it’s fun and easy and quick. I like that, but my Bosch is bigger. Can I use my Bosch and make more at a time?
  • You can put your cream in a jar . . . “Now sit down in your favorite chair, and start shaking the 1/3-full jar of ripened cream,” Scratch this one. No time to sit in my favorite chair today. *shaking head*
  • It’s easy: “All you need is cold, heavy cream, a jar with a lid, and a desire to shake a jar for 15 minutes or more . .. ” Aaaaack! No jar! No jarrrr! No jar-shaking desires here! Yikes!
  • Use your KitchenAid mixer and make homemade butter in less than 5 minutes. Bingo. I had 5 minutes. Perfect.

I actually had about a half an hour, and I was still curious about using my Bosch mixer, so I set up both of my workhorse kitchen appliances and decided that I’d let them do a fun little race. I put a quart of heavy cream in each one, my KitchenAid mixer (with the wire whisk) and my Bosch Universal Mixer (with the double wire whisks).

I gave my KitchenAid mixer a little fortifying pat. She was definitely the underdog, since she is over thirty years old (yes!). “Only five minutes, the article says, and it’s on the internet, so it has to be true,” I whispered to her. “Courage.”

I had purchased a replacement Bosch mixer this summer, so my Universal is only a few months old. He definitely had the advantage.

I dug the raw heavy cream out of the jars, and put a quart of cream in each mixer.

Can you believe this? Wow. Now this is what you call HEAVY cream.

Can you believe this? Wow. Now this is what you call HEAVY cream.

(I was in cream heaven, Gentle Readers. Never had I seen such luxurious stuff. If I hadn’t already made plans for the stuff, I might have just taken a bath in it.)

Creamy. Thick. Delicious. I think I'm in love. With my cream. Help me.

Creamy. Thick. Delicious. I think I’m in love. With my cream. Somebody help me.

Of course I didn’t have quite that much of it.

I readied both the KitchenAid and the Bosch, and set a timer for 5 minutes. According to the internet article, the KitchenAid butter would be done before the timer went off. So what would my newer, bigger Bosch do? I couldn’t wait to find out. Butter in 3 minutes? 2? The suspense was killing me!

I started both mixers. They were off!

butter3Kaid

Assuming that the watched-mixer-full-of-cream-won’t-make-butter principle here is apt, I busied myself with kitchen clean-up. How fortunate, is it not, Gentle Readers, that there are always, always little duties to do in the kitchen? I washed a few dishes. I swept crumbs off the countertop into the trash. I put away roughly twenty-thirteen items that didn’t belong there, all the while listening for the telling slosh-slosh of buttermilk, which (according to one internet article) would indicate that the butter-making was coming to a satisfying conclusion.

Nearly five minutes in, I peeked into both the KitchenAid and the Bosch, a bit dismayed to see only lovely whipped cream. The timer went off, and I started it again–for another 5 minutes, although of course the beautiful butter would be formed before it went off. Wouldn’t it?

I swept the kitchen floor. I fed my sourdough starter. I sighed. I sat down for moment. I made myself a cup of tea. I cleaned out one shelf inside the ‘fridge. I put clean eggs into cartons. All while my machines whirred on and on and on . . .

Alas, my KitchenAid was starting to smell hot, and I worried over it, wondering if this task was too much for its approaching-middle-aged self. The timer went off again. I stopped the machines, and studied inside both of them. The cream now was beginning to look a little raggedy, but clearly was still not butter. I briefly calculated how much a pound of butter would cost me, if I had to buy a new KitchenAid because of it. Was it possible to fail at making butter, I wondered?

I took a deep breath, and started both mixers up again. I busied myself with pulling out greens and carrots and other salad ingredients from the ‘fridge, and making a salad for lunch. I was chopping green onions when I heard something different, from the Bosch. A bit of a sloshy sound. I hurried to it, trying to act casual, lest the cream change its mind about becoming butter.

What was inside the bowl was no longer cream, but it wasn’t quite butter yet, either. I let it run for just a minute or two longer, and then I heard it and saw it: the satisfying chunk-slosh of a mixer full of butter and buttermilk. I let out a squeal, and the kids came running.

“Behold!” I said, happily. “Butter!”

All this, while my KitchenAid continued to run on and on. . . After another few minutes, the KitchenAid, also, was sloshing and chunking, and it had also succeeded at making its first batch of butter, ever. I decided it was its last, too–since the Bosch was quicker and better at making butter, and since my Kitchenaid is so old.

Better to leave the tough tasks to the younger folks. Say I.

Bosch Butter.

Bosch Butter.

KitchenAid Butter.

KitchenAid Butter.

The next thing to do, I guess, if you don’t want your lovely fresh butter go sour, is to wash it and squeeze it and press it, so that’s what I did next. I washed it until the water ran clear. It just took a few minutes.

One-handed washing.

One-handed washing.

And two-handed washing.

And two-handed washing.

And then I pressed it into little balls, not because I read about that on the internet, but because I wanted to.

To recap, this is how you make butter from cream:

  1. Put 1 quart of cream and 1/2 tsp of salt into your Bosch or KitchenAid, equipped with the wire whisks.
  2. Turn on and let run until it begins to slosh with buttermilk: your butter is nearly done! (10 minutes or longer)
  3. Let run for a minute or two longer, until the butter is dry(ish) and clumping together nicely.
  4. Pour buttermilk off the butter and save for later use.
  5. Wash under running water, pressing and squeezing, until the water runs clear.
  6. Form into whatever shape you find most pleasing.

I promptly put one ball into a little bowl on the countertop, and the other balls into freezer bags and into the freezer.

Ta-daaa!

Ta-daaa!

And since we just happened to have some fresh bread on the countertop . . .

True confessions: first fresh bread in WEEKS.

True confession: first fresh bread in WEEKS.

Did you know, Gentle Reader, that my daughter Amalia and I finished our ebook this week? It is launched, and for a few more days, you can purchase it for $1.00 or $100.00 (or! Gulp!) $1000.00. We’re not picky!! We are having a “You Pick The Number of Zeroes”* sale (*otherwise known as “Pay What You Want”). Click here to learn more about it!

As always, thanks for reading!

*hugs*

 

8 thoughts on “How to make butter: It’s easy. It’s fast. It’s fun. It’s . . . butter!

  1. Kathy Millin

    For next time: Let your cream sit on the counter and come to room temperature. It will shorten your ‘cream to butter’ time. And I love the looks of your Bosch…I have a 15 yo Kitchenaid and don’t like making butter with it (the paddle takes forever and the whisk over mixes the cream!). I use jars…and give them to the kids to see who gets to butter first!! :D. Your butter looks great!! Enjoy!!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Kathy,
      You sound like a very smart mama indeed. I’ve run two Bosch mixers to death–that is my third one! But I love it. It has a very powerful motor, and I can make very big batches of bread dough as well as my morning bulletproof coffee in the blender. 🙂 Thanks so much for your comment. AND thank you for the tip! I was a little afraid of letting the cream warm up, lest it not make butter as quickly! Next time I’ll let it warm up a bit.

  2. Janet Voight

    Quite a story, I’d love to try this. We made butter in Girl Scouts in the 4the grade by shaking baby food jars. We were happy with it.

  3. Chef William Chaney

    Ah another great article just in time for the trip. Now that the house in Mexico has a fence around the back area, we will be raising chickens and such. My wife already likes to make cheese and we also trade other items for cheese when we travel in the foothills of the Sierra Madre to visit my brother-in-law who just happens to have cows. Now that I have an idea how to make my own butter (smile) it will be high on my list..Mexico makes something that they call butter but after one taste and you know not to waste your money on it…There are a lot of great foods in Mexico but their butter isn’t one of them…..and as long as we’re getting raw milk for the cheese, I might as well get the cream for the butter. Our trip back to Mexico is also a trip back in time when it comes to the food we eat…Which is why I am so very happy that I have a copy of YOUR NEW BOOK, I love hand held meat pies and the recipes you share sounds delightful. Wonderful book, I am already looking forward to a sequel.

  4. Alana(@RamblinGarden)

    Amy, I’m shocked – shocked! that you’ve never made butter before. We did it years ago as an educational project with our then young-son. My husband has also tried his hand at cheese making (something that is a lot harder than it seems), this again years ago. We don’t use butter much nowadays, and we are able to buy either Amish or Irish butter. Homemade is so much better than store made – almost always!

  5. Barbara

    Yesss! I had my money down on the Bosch. It’s a good thing that you didn’t decide to go with shaking the jar. That would have been extremely tiring. 🙂 Homemade butter is the best and yours looks scrumptious.

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