Making Butter

I don’t know about you, but I have a love affair with butter.  As far as I know, it began with my Opa, (German grandfather), but may go back many more generations.  I could never stand margarine or other butter alternatives and when no one was looking put a dab more on than I had taken in the first place.  🙂  Can you say, Julia Child?

Yes, I know, you are going to tell me that it’s fat, and it can’t be good to eat too much, but as I have been finding out (by reading some great books, Nourishing Traditions, Real Food for Mother and Baby and Cure Tooth Decay to mention a few), it’s actually really GOOD for you all the way around.  And I’m quite sure that my grandparents are in such good health (in their 80’s and 90’s), because of the fact that they grew up eating things like whole milk, butter, lard, etc., everyday!

The best butter comes from grass-fed cows that do not consume grain.  While we were in Oklahoma I was able to make as much as I wanted from our own herd of Jerseys.  Summer 2011, when we had an excess of milk I made over 20 pounds of butter and froze it, how spoiled is that!  The easiest way for me to get cream now, is to get milk from our friends with Jerseys, Creambrook Farm, for anyone in the Shenandoah area.  This last week I was able to get a whole gallon of cream from them, so I made butter. 🙂

Here is how I make delicious butter:

Take the cream out of the fridge and let stand at room temperature until warm, this last time I let mine sit out for 6 hours before I thought it was ready, the colder it is the longer it will take for the milk to “break” into butter.

Next, place about 2 cups of cream in a heavy duty blender (mine is a 12 speed Oster) and process at a medium setting until you see it “break”.  This took all of 2 minutes.  I kept it on for a bit longer and then stopped the blender.

Pour everything into a bowl and, with your hands, gather up the butter solids into a ball.  Drain the buttermilk into a container to be saved for baking, fermenting other foods or just drinking.  Leave the butter solids in the bowl and start working it with your hands to press out the rest of the milk.  There are lots of variations on how to get this part done, but I have found a little COLD water and lots of squeezing gets most of the liquid out.

Then place in a clean container and set in the fridge to cool.  Or you can place on wax paper, wrap, tape, and place in the freezer.  There you have it, I hope this inspires you to go buy some milk and make your own butter.  And, it’s really okay, you can put a little more on those veggies 🙂

Do you have any “butter” stories?


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About Erin Phelan

Born and raised in western Michigan, Erin came to Polyface first as an intern in the summer of 2009. While here she met and got to know Grady Phelan, an apprentice at the time. The next spring they were married and after a couple years in Oklahoma they are back, working as sub-contractors for Polyface. Erin keeps herself busy with the jobs of a wife and mother, as well as helping with the animals, gardening, sewing, cooking, baking, knitting and reading.

9 Responses to Making Butter

  1. Leilani says:

    I am curious, how much butter did a gallon of cream produce?

  2. Erin Phelan says:

    So far I have only used about 1/2 gallon and that made around 3 cups of butter.

  3. cyndi lewis says:

    Can’t wait to try making our own. Unfortunately we don’t have access to raw milk so our butter won’t be quite as good as yours. Can one make butter with goat milk? We are going to get a couple of goats first and learn to milk them before we get a family milk cow.

  4. Elizabeth Moon Gabet says:

    Thank you Erin! I’ve never made butter and was going to check out how to do it since I’ve finally found a contact for milk from cows pasture fed! I’ve been reading about butter vs. any other spreads and confirm what you’re saying. A famous doctor in NY who treats people for cancer in a holistic way says none of us should eat any spread but real butter and we need whole milk for our yogurt vs. all the nonfat/low fat products that continue to flood the market. Do you have recipes for homemade ice cream also?

    • Erin Phelan says:

      I can do a post about ice cream later this summer, or if your in a hurry there are some good ones in Nourishing Traditions.

  5. Yay! I love it! I was just talking to my dad about this last night and the myth that eating cholesterol causes high cholesterol. I love butter too! You are absolutely right – butter is good for you. Butter (as I’m sure you’ve read in Nourishing Traditions) is an aid for people in childbearing years (it helps with fertility) and proper cholesterol helps people deal with stress and makes them healthier. I know it sounds crazy to some people, but the research is there, you just need to look it up if you’re having a hard time abandoning the belief that butter is the enemy. 🙂 Sounds wonderful! I am separating some milk to make cream cheese and whey right now in my cupboard. I was reading last week about fermenting the veggies with whey. Have you done that yet? I have never tried it but that’s where the whey will be going! Great post! Spread the butter and spread the word: butter really is our friend. 🙂

  6. I discovered this technique in 1980… when I was in a big rush to make homemade whipped cream for a dinner party. I thought if I used the blender the cream would be done sooner – HA!!! I ended up with butter 🙂 It is super easy to do, I recommend giving it a try.