Saturday, July 10, 2010

Making butter from cream

Drawing on the brilliance of the Urban Homesteaders, hubby and I recently learned how to make butter.  It's so easy I can't believe everyone doesn't do it, because the end product is just amazing.  It goes like this:
  1. Take a tub of ageing cream (not ultrapasteurised and without gelatine) out of the fridge and let it warm up to room temperature - if it smells a bit sour, that's totally ok.
  2. Tip it into a big, clean jar, so there's lots of sloshing room.
  3. Shake lots and lots and wait for the magic.  Within a few minutes, the cream will separate into butter and buttermilk - it's amazing to watch for the first time.
  4. Pour out all the buttermilk you can shake out of the butter into a clean container (and don't waste it, it's awesome to drink or use in cooking).
  5. Run some cold water into the jar with the butter and keep shaking. Rinse and repeat until the water runs clear.
  6. Put the butter into a clean container that has a lid and press all the water out.
  7. If you want it to keep for a while, add some salt and mix well.
  8. Enjoy!
Both the butter and the buttermilk are totally unlike anything you can buy in a shop.  The butter is more like whipped butter and the buttermilk is... just amazing.  On our first attempt, we made buttermilk pancakes topped with maple syrup and butter and it was honestly the best indulgent breakfast I've had in years.

If you don't usually make pancakes from scratch, here's an easy recipe. (Never buy supermarket pancake mix again!  I'm convinced that pancake shaker mix is exactly what is wrong with the world today).

Buttermilk pancakes
   1 cup buttermilk (or normal milk, or a mix of the two)
   1 cup self raising flour (wholemeal if you have it)
   2 eggs
   1 tbsp caster sugar
   1 tsp vanilla extract (or paste)
Whisk all the ingredients together until combined (i.e. there are no big lumps left).  You want a consistency similar to thickened cream - add extra milk or flour as required to thicken or thin.   Fry in a non-stick frypan so you don't need to add butter.