If you've ever wondered how to make butter at home, you are not alone. I somehow always thought that you can't actually make butter at home (well, similarly to how I thought that you can't bake good bread home, but that's for another story...), but it turns out that you can! And it's much easier and quicker than you think.
You don't really need a butter churn or any expensive type of butter making equipment. The only thing you really need is an electric whisk (or a mixer). I suppose you could use a hand whisk, but I think your hand would get tired really quickly. You'd be better off using a larger jam jar and shake the cream rather than whisk it.
So, here's my way of how to make butter at home and my favourite easy recipe.
Homemade butter ingredients
Cream (cold straight from the fridge)
Salt (sea salt of flavoured salt)
I know that's a pretty boring list of ingredients as recipes go, but you really don't need anything else. Cream can be swapped for 'gold milk' or full fat unpasteurised milk, but these are more difficult to come by. If you are in the UK, legally, farms are not allowed to sell milk that is not pasteurised, but you might be able to get some from friends who live on farms or know somebody who farms (?).
Salt is optional, but it preserves the butter and it also adds flavour. The amount really depends on your taste. In terms of proportions, 500ml of cream will give you about 200-230g of butter, but again it doesn't matter too much what quantity you use.
The first step is simply to add the cream to a bowl and start whisking on medium or high speed. After 3-5 minutes the mixture should separate like in the picture above. That's basically the butter fat forming and separating from the water - buttermilk. When this happens, tip the whole mixture into a sieve (or use a muslin cloth) and gently squeeze the liquid out.
The next stage is very important. To ensure that your butter doesn't get spoiled really quickly, you need to wash all the buttery liquid - buttermilk out with water. This can be literally done by submerging the fat into the water and squeezing the yellow liquid out (buttermilk). The butter mixture will become lighter as you do this.
You can collect the buttermilk and use it for other recipes, such as to bake muffins.
You don't need to have butter pads to form your butter, but they do help to squeeze out more water, whilst keeping the butter cool. If you don't have butter pads, just use your hands.
Finally the butter just needs some seasoning, whether that's salt, herbs or spices. Gently knead it in before you pat the butter for the last time to its final shape.
Your freshly prepared butter is now perfect for eating straightaway or can be frozen for up to 3 months.
I've tested several different versions of butter making and now I know how easy it is, I look forward to making more butter for our family and of course to try at my bread baking courses.
Do let me know, if you've tried the recipe and how you got on - I look forward to your comments!
Making butter at home - all your questions answered:
How long does homemade butter last?
This depends on how well you wash out the buttermilk. Make sure that you get rid of as much as you can (see my recipe above). Adding salt also help to preserve the butter and it should be fine for at least 2 weeks. It's best kept in the fridge in airtight container or perhaps in actuall butter dish, if you have one.
Is it cheaper to make your own butter?
If you'd asked me few years ago I'd say probably not, but the price of butter has been steadily rising. 250g of basic butter is around £1.50 now, but if you want anything more fancy or organic butter, you are easily looking at £2 - £2.50. If you make your own butter and use a good quality full fat milk or cream, the same amount of butter would cost you about £1.
Of course there is the work involved as well, so it really depends on what price you want to put on your time and equally how much you value having a homemade butter that you've made yourself and has no preservatives and only good quality ingredients.
What can I flavour my homemade butter with?
My homemade butter is a perfect base recipe for you to add any flavouring you like. Here is just a few suggestions:
Flavoured Sea Salt (any kind you like)
MY OTHER RECIPES