"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Monday, 25 October 2010

Making butter by hand

I subscribe to a number of other blogs and this one made me the pause for thought.

I have already written a post about learning / experiencing what I need to know about being self-sustainable before we are on the farm, and am constantly on the lookout for what I can try out in order to achieve that aim.

And Gillies post (above) on making butter with an electric blender gave me an idea.  We will have a minimum of power - basically enough to power the car radio, energy saving 12volt lights for night time, and possibly a 12volt TV at some stage in the future.  I do not want to be relying on electrical appliances to perform kitchen functions.

One of our neighbours has cows that provide them with milk. Hopefully she will sell me some cream, when necessary, so that I can make butter. Or perhaps I will be able to barter some home grown fruit or vegetables for the cream - I know she doesn't have a lemon tree - so that's a thought...

Therefore I decided to see if I could make butter by hand.

So, for this experience, I bought 500mls of cream and started beating...

I decided to use one of my stainless steel saucepans as the handle made it easier to tilt the pot whilst I was beating.  It is not a tidy chore - as you can see the cream splashed everywhere - perhaps using a larger container next time will prevent that from happening.

The longest part of making the butter is beating the cream until it is really good and thick.

Once the cream reaches the stage of being overbeaten it starts to separate - the milky substance forming at the bottom of the saucepan is buttermilk.

I now have butter in the pan and buttermilk in the other container.

500mls of cream gave me 210gms of butter and 240 mls of buttermilk (I don't know what happened to the other 50mls - apart from the fact that I dropped the whisk on my lap whilst beating the cream thick - then I had to quickly harvest a lemon from our tree to de-grease my jeans. But that accident also gave me the chance to lick my fingers...) I added a 1/2 teaspoon of salt to the butter whilst it was forming - to increase its fridge life. 

The whole process took me 25 minutes with 20 minutes being taken up in beating the cream until it was thick.  Once it reaches butter stage I then beat it with a fork to make it smooth and finally squeezed it in a piece of muslin cloth to remove the last of the buttermilk.

As for the taste?

I reckon it tastes better than shop bought butter - but I could be biased :-)


-Heidi said...

Where I went to grade school, they always taught kids how to make butter in a mason jar... just shake the jar until it makes butter.


Dani said...

Thanks for the tip Heidi - I'll try that next time :-)