Sunday, July 28, 2013

Like Buttah

I should go ahead and tell you. We made butter.

Not that it's any big secret or enormous accomplishment. I was just trying to decide whether to tell you about the buttermilk first or the butter first. Well, since the buttermilk results from butter making, I figured it's gotta be butter first. But then, you need buttermilk to make butter, so. Logic eludes me. Back to KenKen.

These are my daily concerns.

If you remember, I got a copy of Diane St. Claire's Buttermilk cookbook, and one of the first recipes is for butter. I had long wanted to give butter making on my own a try, but I knew I would want to culture the cream first, for that taste. There's no word to describe it. That taste. But how do you get it? Then there's supposed to be something about kneading the butter, and I was a little confused. Wouldn't it melt from the warmth of my hands? So I just put it off until I got the book.

I would like to add that my mother accidentally made butter when I was young, by overwhipping some heavy cream. She was tickled to death, and a little embarrassed, but I can't remember any of us ever eating it. Mom was a margarine gal. My point is, it's dead easy to whip cream into butter.

But if Betty wants to make a better butter, she must follow Diane's rules. Remember, Diane makes all the butter Thomas Keller uses.

And the rules are: Stellar ingredients. Culturing. Kneading.

Buy good cream from a reliable dairy. St. Claire raises her own Jersey cows, and that's the pinnacle in the pantheon of perfection. I don't think the cream we're buying comes from Jersey cows, but it's organic, chemical-free, pretty good.

Next, culturing. You need to stir a couple of spoonfuls of buttermilk into the cream and leave it out overnight. But remember, stellar ingredients. It has to be the best buttermilk you can find. I happen to be thrilled with the brand I buy, so all's well. But, wait. Isn't that formula for culturing the cream the exact same recipe for making crème fraîche? That can't be right. But it's right. You are going to whip crème fraîche into butter, and Who Knew? Not I. (That taste.)

Last, the kneading. You cannot omit this step. When the butter comes together in your blender, it will be bathed in the whey that has separated out. If you don't get all the whey out, it could go rotten inside the butter, spoiling a once-good thing. Knead! Just hold the mass of butter, and squeeze, rinsing it in cold water occasionally. You'll be amazed at all the stuff that sploops out. (But save it. I'll tell you what to do with it soon.)

And that's it! Easy. It even comes out yellow. Now, pack your butter into a little pot with a lid for storing.

But it won't last long. It's way more delicious than the butter we normally buy, even if it costs a little bit more, and it's going fast. We're curing the next batch of cream right now.


Zoomie said...

Wow, that sounds really cool! I must try it! I'm imagining some of that spread on my toast made from the Pepperidge Farm recipe!

cookiecrumb said...

Zoomie, you ought to give it a try. Look up butter making on the webz, and get a feel for proportions, timing, etc., and you're good to go.
Your homemade bread is the perfect vehicle. We like our butter so much, we've only used it on Acme sourdough rye bread, untoasted.
We've been using a pint of cream. Anything less, and you just went to a lot of trouble for a dinky result.

Greg said...

Kneading butter sounds a little cray cray. ;)

cookiecrumb said...

Greg: No no. If it's homemade butter you need, you knead.