Back to the Basics: Butter

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butterI am going to start a Back to the Basic section where I will share my experiences with making items from scratch, and I will start with making butter. I will share the recipes that I have found to be successful and ask that you share your experiences with me.

A few years ago, we started talking about the way that food is processed these days. Today, milk from a cow, orange juice and dairy products come from a dairy factory. Jellies and jams come from large manufacturing plants. Today, we have many preservatives and additives in products and the typical person has little to no idea what they are eating. During our conversation, I started thinking about how the early homesteaders do things back in the day. They had to work everyday to make the things that we simply go to a store to purchase. I have read articles where people say that the cooking in the  pioneers days was so much better for you. It tastes better because you are cooking everything from scratch so you know exactly what is in each meal. We decided that we would try our hand at making homemade butter. We were not sure how hard it was to process but still wanted to give it a shot.

We went to the local grocery store and bought a quart of  heavy whipping cream, usually cost around $3.29. When I returned home, I took the heavy whipping cream and emptied it into my Kitchen-aid mixer. I started whipping the cream at the highest mixing speed for about 10 minutes or so. The cream started to separate into butter and buttermilk. You will want to slow down the mixing speed on your mixer as the contents will start to spatter as the butter begins to clump. Once the butter has gathered on the mixing paddle and you have buttermilk in the bowl, you can turn off the mixer. You will take the butter and put it in a strainer or cheesecloth so you can press the rest of the buttermilk out. We want to press the buttermilk out to increase the shelf life of the butter. If you do not do this, then your butter may go bad or rancid quickly. You then need to wash out the buttermilk squeezing the butter until the water that comes out of it is clear. Once this is done, you will want to mold the butter into stick or put into a butter bell to set. The buttermilk that is in the bowl can be saved and used in recipes that call for buttermilk. You usually get 3 to 4 sticks depending on how you shape them, and around a cup of buttermilk.

This was a fairly simple process thanks to the modern Kitchen-aid mixer. This sure beats using the butter churn that the early homesteaders depended upon. The butter was very light and had more of a rich creamy taste. My family seems to enjoy the homemade butter more than the store bought sticks. If you have comments or other suggestions to making butter, I would love to hear them.

Cheryl Blatnik

Cheryl is energetic,motivated,hard working, determined and loves a good challenge. She enjoys gardening, loves animals, and learning new things. Her goal is to become more self sufficient and a better homesteader. She would like to get back to the basics with cooking, homemaking, and food preservation. Cheryl additionally holds several degrees and enjoys her career within the medical community and working in Accounting. She is successfully raising a teenager of her own and 2 other teenage children. Her life long goal is to live in the country completely off-grid on a productive homestead away from goverment bureaucracy.

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