Sunday, March 23, 2008

It doesn't get butter than this!

This morning we decided to make some fresh home-grown butter. Last night we skimmed the top cream (the very thickest cream at the very top, almost like liquid ice cream) from about 5 days worth of milkings, which gave us about a pint to work with. There is still plenty of less-solid cream left to make the drinking-milk tasty.A friend pointed us to this site, describing how to make butter with a Kitchenaid, so that's what we did.
There are all kind of yummy things to do with the partially butterfied cream, like top fruit or baked goods, mix into oatmeal, etc. or make it into crème fraîche. Another great taste is cultured butter, which involves letting the cream "age" just enough to acquire a tangy flavor, then churning it. We made some in a dairy class we took last year and will make some at home another time.
It didn't take long for it to start setting up.
A little more "churning" and the fat molecules are clumping together enough to separate from the liquid buttermilk. This kind of buttermilk isn't thickened and cultured like the store-bought kind. It actually tastes more like skim milk. People culture it to get yet another nifty product from their wonderful cows, and we'll do the same eventually and use it in baking.
But if you leave the milk in the butter, it makes the butter spoil faster. So the butter is rinsed and kneaded with cold water until it runs clear.
Then it's turned onto a wooden board and worked to get out as much water as possible. Since we wanted this butter for toast and not baking, we worked in a pinch of salt at this step.
Then into a glass jar and into the fridge. Start to finish was less than 30 minutes, and a pint of cream netted us 6 ounces of butter, or 1.5 sticks.

In other news - the garage construction starts tomorrow. The materials (and a honey bucket) were all delivered Friday, and the site prep is finished. Look for pictures of that, and some critter pics, Tuesday or Wednesday!

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