Butter – absolutely one of the sweetest, most delicious treats in life. This was brought to light while we were enjoying a cheese plate with a side of bread at a favorite wine bar and delicatessen. I broke off a piece of the bread, buttered it, and I was shocked at how good it tasted. I like butter, but this was special.
Back home I tasted our usual brand of butter. It paled by comparison. Over the next several weeks I tried seven different commercial brands, and none of them were even close. Then it occurred to me. It might have been homemade.
My quest shifted to find a recipe for homemade butter. I knew after the first try that I was on the right path, so I continued to search. Of the methods and recipes I tried, I came up with the recipe/process below. And it’s so simple. All you need is a stand mixer and two ingredients: 1 quart of whipping cream and 1 teaspoonful of salt. That’s it. Try it, and prepare to be amazed.
1 quart (32 oz.)Whipping or heavy cream for 14 oz. Add 1 tsp salt.
1 pint (16 oz.)Whipping or heavy cream for 7 oz. Add 1/2 tsp salt.
Time: 25 Minutes
Add cream to stand mixer’s bowl.
Start the stand mixer with the whisk attachment on low speed (to avoid splatter) and progress to medium speed as the liquid begins to thicken.
Keep increasing the speed to medium-high and then to high. In a short while the cream will form soft peaks.
The next stage happens very quickly. The cream will begin to form stiff peaks and just past the stiff peaks stage the cream will begin to crinkle up. A few seconds later, the cream will suddenly start to seize into solids and the result is butter. This happens quickly.
Important: you’ll want to slow down your mixer at this point to prevent splashing the buttermilk all over your kitchen (I also cover the opening on the shield just in case). Continue until the butter has completely seized into the whisk.
It takes about 9-12 minutes of mixing to get this far. At this point, with your hands, remove the butter from the whisk and the bowl and form into a ball. You can either pour the remaining buttermilk down the drain or save it for another purpose.
The butter should be washed to remove as much of the buttermilk as possible. This can be done by placing the butter in a bowl with ice water and kneading the butter for about 30 seconds (not washing the butter will result in butter that might go rancid because of the buttermilk).
Return butter to mixer bowl. Flatten ball and make a hollow in the butter and add salt. Continue to whisk the butter at high speed. This will beat some air into it, making the butter a little lighter and smoother.
Stop the mixer and remove the butter from the whisk and mixer bowl. Press into a small dish, and for an added touch, make decorations in the top with a spatula.
It tastes best if eaten the same day it is prepared (but it does keep in the refrigerator reasonably well). One taste and you will know that the taste of fresh homemade butter can’t be duplicated.