How To Make Butter
As a former food editor for a national magazine, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable about food. Yet, it wasn't until I took a class at Drumlin Farm with my daughter Abby that I learned how easy and—to be honest—pretty amazing, it is to make butter. The simple act of shaking a jar can turn a liquid to a solid. What better way to introduce kids to the wonders of science and nature? To see if we could recreate what we learned at the farm, Abby and I gave it a go at home. Here's how we made butter, sans churn.
To make butter, You Will Need:
Heavy cream (as it has the highest butterfat content), room temperature
A small glass jar with a lid (a jelly jar works great)
How to make butter
Step 1: Fill the jar a third full with heavy cream and tighten the lid. I recommend letting the cream sit out to get to room temperature to speed up the process. Start shaking. Put on some upbeat music and turn it into a making butter dance party!
Step 2: After a few minutes of shaking (3-5 depending on how vigorous you shake) take a peek inside. The cream should now be whipped cream. You're halfway to butter. Keep shaking.
Step 3: Shake, shake, shake. And then all of a sudden, like magic, you will hear a thump. Open it up and there should be a ball of butter surrounded by what essentially is skim milk (yes, that skim milk). Technically speaking, though, it's uncultured buttermilk.
Step 4: Discard the liquid and put the butter in a shallow bowl. Add cold water and gently knead. Pour off the cold water and repeat until the water stays clear—an indication that all of the milk solids have been washed out. Add salt if you wish, wrap tightly in plastic wrap, and store in the fridge—after enjoying on toast or crackers!
Here's our end result!
Editor's Note: Laurel and I tried this process and it was amazing! It definitely speeds the process up if you let the heavy cream come to room temperature first (literally, we had butter within minutes). It's also important to shake until the butter is a really solid lump. We did a second batch and took the butter lump out too early and when we did the rinse step, it was clearly too soft.