Sometimes it’s the simple things that really stand out. Like this homemade butter. If you’ve never made your own butter, give it a shot. It’s fast, really simple and far superior to its store bought equivalent. It’s not always practical to use homemade butter for everyday cooking or baking, but I often make it as something special for a fresh loaf of bread, or as a last minute snack if I’m entertaining and pressed for time. It’s delicious, simple, versatile, and your guests will love it.
You can also ‘pimp out’ your butter with different fresh herbs, spices, or citrus. I like to bring all the ingredients to the table, and have everyone help in the process of making the butter, flavouring it, and of course, eating it! All you need is a container, good quality whipping cream (I use Harmony),an assortment of ingredients for flavouring the butter, some fresh bread, and 10-15 minutes.
Bonus: Kids love this! And so do parents. Nothing occupies those little hands and busy minds more than handing them a jar, and saying, “shake this until it turns to butter”. Just like magic.
-2 cups of heavy cream will yield about 1 cup of butter. It’s best to bring the cream to room temperature before using, as this will allow the cream to separate faster and more easily. I will spare you the nerdy scientific explanation of this process, so just take my word for it and let the cream sit on your counter for a couple hours before using.
-Get yourself a container that has a secure lid and is at least 2 times the volume of the amount of cream. This ensures the cream has room to expand as you shake it. I like to use a mason jar. Pour the room temperature cream into your container of choice.
-Now for the fun part! Shake the container steadily but not too rapidly. If you shake too violently, you risk over-churning the butter, which cannot be undone. As you shake, you’ll feel the cream begin to thicken, like whipped cream. Keep shaking! Next, it will start to feel like the cream has filled the jar completely, and there is no movement. Keep shaking! At this point, you may need to put a bit more muscle into it. After a couple minutes of feeling like nothing is happening, like magic, the butter will form a clump and you’ll be left with a ‘butter clump’, and a milky looking liquid. This liquid is the freshest buttermilk you will ever find, so don’t throw it out! Save it, and use it to make buttermilk pancakes or biscuits!
-Next, pour the entire contents of the jar into a bowl so you can easily separate the butter from the buttermilk. Scoop out the ‘butter clump’ and any rogue butter bits that have separated from the clump, reserving the buttermilk for later use. Put the butter on a cutting board or in a bowl, and knead it with a spoon, or your hands. This will ‘squeeze’ the last of the buttermilk out, and ensure that your butter doesn’t spoil too quickly. At this point I like to add a bit of sea salt, and knead a little more to get it incorporated evenly.
-Finally your butter is ready to eat! If you are flavouring the butter, divide into little dishes and add your ingredients of choice. Here, I served 4 different butters:
Regular – just the regular, salted butter
Garlic – ½ clove of mashed garlic, combined with salted butter
Lemon – juice and a bit of zest, combined with salted butter
Thyme – fresh thyme leaves, combined with salted butter