It's like buttah...
Yup! Butter. It's the coolest thing, and here's how I did it (you can too, really). First, I followed this great tutorial on making your own butter as well as directions in a little cheesemaking booklet that Storey Press puts out. Yes, the same Storey Press that publishes the Yarn Harlot books. They also published my favorite backyard chicken book - they've got some very cool books!
Anyway, armed with the information from these two sources, I felt ready to proceed. I got a half-gallon of heavy whipping cream from Costco and left it out on the counter for a few hours to warm to room temperature. Then, I poured about half of it into my handy dandy Kitchenaid mixer and put the whisk attachment on. I turned it on and waited as the cream got progressively thicker.
I know both of those pictures look the same, but the second is of the cream as it's in heavy-duty whipped cream mode. Once it starts to look like the stuff that comes out of a can, it's time to turn the mixer back down because the magic is about to happen. All of a sudden, the butter forms and the mixture gets all watery and will splatter you if you're not careful. It's the coolest thing. One minute you've got Redi-Whip, the next you've got milky-looking water with yellowish chunks floating in it, like in the next picture. Craziness!
Once the chunks form, you've got butter and buttermilk. When I lifted the top of the mixer so that I could drain the buttermilk, the butter easily separated itself...
I put the precious buttermilk in its own container (we are making pancakes this weekend, baby!) and set to work rinsing the butter. We'll see if I did a good enough job, because apparently butter will go bad very quickly if you don't get all the buttermilk out of it.
It starts out looking like this (this is my butter in its first cold-water bath - appetizing, eh?):
I used this wooden kitchen tool that we have (I have no idea what it is, but it's flat and works perfectly as a butter paddle) to smoosh the butter against the side of the bowl and squeeze the water out. A large wooden spoon would work very well for this process, too.
I rinsed a good six or seven times in fresh cold water each time until the water looked like it was rinsing clear. I had a hard time telling exactly since it seemed to look a little milky against the side of the bowl but when it ran into the sink it looked nice and clear. I guess we'll find out if the butter's bad in a few days! Anyway, here are the fruits of my labor. Not bad for about a half hour's worth of work (much of it standing next to the mixer gleefully waiting for chunks to form)!
I also made bagels today, but that's a story for another post. I'm going to go eat some of that butter on one of those fresh bagels right now!