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Homemade Butter

"You and I, we know the secret to life. It's butter." – Chef Didier in the movie Last Holiday

A few weeks ago Brent came home from work with a jug of raw milk he had bought from a local farmer. This was an exciting day in our house. And, of course, we knew what we had to do: make butter. Now there are many fancy, new-fangled ways to make butter using things like blenders and what not, but we decided we had to do it the same way I had done it in first grade when we passed a mason jar full of cream around the table and each took a turn shaking it. If first graders can do this, we thought, surely we can too. And we did – with the help of my mom and uncle who grew up watching my grandma churn butter on their farm and a consultation with The Up-With-Wholesome, Down-With-Store-Bought Book of Recipes and Household Formulas.

First we had to pour the cream off our milk – and call my uncle in Kentucky to find out how to tell when we're done. Pour it until it stops looking thick, he told us, about a pint or so. Poured some of the cream on the raspberries our friend Susannah had brought and poured ourselves glasses of milk while we were at it. Decided that it did indeed taste "cowier" than regular milk as Noel Perrin had described in First Person Rural.

Mabel and the butter jar

Mabel, our chief buttermaker, got the ceremonial first shake. Then we passed it around as we stood around our pellet stove talking about life, God, and Vienna. Fifteen minutes of shaking and a consultation with the book to see if we were done and we had butter. See?

Mason jar with homemade butter inside

Took it out of the jar and pressed more of the buttermilk out, got impatient and decided to eat it as it was. We slathered it on some slices of homemade English muffin whey bread and enjoyed.

Our homemade butter

I think we may have to get that dasher built for the churn I inherited from my grandmother. Oh, if we could only have a minature milk cow.

robert_2
5/11/2009 12:44:13 PM

Thanks, Rebekah! No worries on the late reply. We buy 2.5 gallons of raw milk a week locally so we could try the cream cheese recipe, if only we could stop drinking up the milk. Maybe one day we will slow down and have a little left over.


becky and andy
5/9/2009 2:55:10 PM

Hi, Robert, sorry I left you hanging for a whole month! I don't get back to these blogs very often. I meant a gallon of whole milk. However, as I think about it, it makes more sense to separate the cream first and just let that portion sit out for the 1-4 days. Then there is less waste of the actual milk.


robert_2
4/9/2009 9:16:34 AM

Rebekah, Do you start your cream cheese recipe with a gallon of raw milk or a gallon of the cream? Thanks! We look forward to trying it.


leanna alderman sterste
4/8/2009 8:03:08 AM

Tricia- What a wonderful tradition! I love it! And Becky- thanks so much for that recipe. I just got a great bagel recipe from another friend, so now I really have to try this.


tricia
4/4/2009 9:04:24 PM

LeAnna- We have a tradition in our family, every Thanksgiving morning we all sit around the breakfast table with our glass jar filled with cream, we add a marble to help the "churning" along. We all shake it as we say what we are most thankful for, it is very touching to hear what really matters to our children! When we finally make butter, it is served with our Thanksgiving Dinner. It is such a simple way to spend some quality time with the family and share some very heartfelt words with each other. Tricia


becky and andy
4/2/2009 10:48:17 AM

Hi, LeAnna! You wrote before asking if we had a recipe to share about our raw milk cream cheese. I'm sorry I never got back to you on that! I'm so glad to hear that your butter turned out. How was it?! You never said! About the cream cheese: Almost as easy as the butter. Take your gallon and let it sit out in your kitchen in a glass container (or stainless steel, never plastic) for 1-4 days. This will depend on how "sour" you want your cream cheese. We left ours out for 3 days. Drain off the non-cream part (this is raw whey and totally useful for a ton of cooking applications). Drain it through a CLEAN kitchen towel and noodle strainer into a bowl big enough for a gallon of liquid. When it has stopped dripping, carefully wrap up your towel of cream and tie it to a wooden spoon (Don't squeeze or the cream will go through) and let it drip some more. When it has stopped dripping, spoon the cream into a mason jar and seal. Refrigerate. You have homemade raw cream cheese. Seriously. It's that easy. And WHOO-EY, so powerfully creamy and GOOD. It sets up just like Philadelphia Cream cheese, so you know you did it right.


susannah
3/31/2009 8:12:19 PM

Um, hel-LO? http://www.minicattlecountry.com/ Situation: solved. Have you checked city ordinances about miniature cows? Because there may well not be one.