March 29, 2012

Butter & Buttermilk


I guess this may seem a little silly. I mean really, who gets excited over making something like butter (other than me?) Come on … raise your hands! Nobody will know. I guess the word is out about me though. I admit it. I get excited about making butter. 


I was reading a post on Sue’s Blog – The View From Great Island and drooling over a beautiful Irish Soda Bread recipe when I saw that she also posted homemade butter. When Sue described how simple it was to make, my mouth was hanging open. I had no idea you could still make homemade butter. I guess I never really thought about it. Not only did Sue make her own to smear on the beautiful Soda bread, she also linked a post with fantastic step-by-step instructions on how to get butter happy!  (Click HERE to link to Darina Allen's wonderful post about how to make butter.)
I was bouncing up and down in my chair with excitement. Since the early 1990’s I’ve had an antique wood butter mold in my kitchen cabinet. It was a gift from my great-aunt with whom I was very close. My Great Aunt Dalue was the youngest girl in a family of 7 children. My grandfather (her brother) was the oldest. Dalue was a lovely, professional woman who was at times rather blunt, but also caring and appreciative. 

Great Aunt Dalue

While excavating her life long collection of belongings, she started to gift precious treasures to her loved ones. She gave me a butter mold that had been used by her mother Allie (my daughter’s namesake). My great-grandmother Allie (1871-1957) was a sturdy woman, working hard on their farm in North Georgia raising 7children. I cannot imagine. Dalue told me many stories about her mother Allie and I treasure them all. One particular story I've always remembered was about Allie’s grandfather. 

The Brock family were some of the first settlers of the Dade County, North Georgia area. My great-great-great grandfather was a physician/surgeon. While fighting for the confederacy during the Civil War he was captured by ‘the Yankees’ and made to be a surgeon for the North. He survived and was released after the war to resume his life in Georgia. Some years later he was involved in a horse and buggy accident where he broke his leg on the way to deliver a baby. Gangrene ended his life.
So as you can imagine, I was thrilled to finally get to use the same butter mold used by my great-grandmother Allie. 



 Seriously – skill did not play a part in me making butter. I don’t own a cow; I didn’t milk one or anything. I did however, purchase fresh, wonderfully thick, organic heavy cream from our local Harvest Market and began to make da butta!


If you want to make your own as well, check out this LINK.   Darina's step by step instructions are fantastic. I cannot do a better job of explaining the process, nor do I want to mess it up.  You would've thought I was reading a best selling novel the way I devoured the instructions over and over again. Are you starting to worry about me yet? 

Another super interesting (to me) part of this process was to research wood butter molds. There is so much information out there and I finally found out what was needed to use it. 

First I cleaned it because it's been sitting around a long time. Then I soaked it in ice cold water for at least 30 minutes before using the mold. This keeps the butter from sticking.


I ground up some sea salt to a fine powder to use in the butter.


Look at this beautiful cream with thick chunks at the top.  I prepared my stand mixer fitted with the whipping tool.



For something like this always use the splash guard.  It does splash a bit.  Turn the mixer on medium and mix.  At first it looks like whipped cream (I guess that's because it is whipped cream.)



Then the cream starts to separate and change color to pale yellow.  Keep mixing.


Then the butter magic begins!  You'll start to hear sloshing as the solids and liquids separate. 


Then the butter starts to hold together.



Remove the butter to a clean sieve lined with cheese cloth. 
Drain all the liquid into a bowl. 
That's the buttermilk!



I was so thrilled that it worked - I was literally jumping around the kitchen. 


The idea is to remove all the buttermilk you can from the butter.  Whip the butter again and remove the buttermilk to the bowl.  You can do this a few times until the only thing left is butta!


Immediately I smashed the butter into the ice cold mold and pressed.  To do this again I would only add a little butter at first to make sure all cracks were filled.  It was harder to press the entire amount of butter at once removing air pockets. 


This is the part my husband really likes.  He got a 1/2 quart of fresh buttermilk all for himself.


One quart of cream made 1 pint of buttermilk and a pint of butter.  Cool!
Oh yeah, I forgot to add the salt before pressing the butter into the mold.  Fresh butter will keep longer if it is salted.  All that really means is we have to eat the butter a little faster.  Oh well! 


Check out Sue's blog The View from Great Island and all her beautiful recipes and photos.  And if you want to come by to see us, we'll put some butter on something for you!

Thanks so much for stopping by.  I hope you and your family have a beautiful spring weekend.

Tricia

13 comments:

  1. I grinned like crazy as I read this today, Tricia. I thought I was alone in my obsession with making butter. I LOVE it. I've forgotten the salt a time or three myself. Homemade butter + honey = whipped honey butter heaven!

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  2. This is such an amazing post---your photos are stunning. It's such a thrill when the cream turns to butter!

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  3. I am also one of those weird people since this definitely intrigues me. I'm bookmarking this, and I know one day soon I will be making my own butter and buttermilk. Yum!

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  4. Oh Tricia! This post brought back so many memories. My grandparents lived across the pasture from us and I remember helping my Papaw milk their milk cows, Bessie and Sadie, and then helping my Mamaw churn and make butter. Those years are long gone, but we still have the last butter Mamaw ever made, frozen, as a keepsake :-) and her wooden butter mold with the strawberry pattern on it.They sold buttermilk and butter, plus they kept us supplied with fresh milk, butter and buttermilk (we loved fresh buttermilk with my Momma's chocolate cake. When I married, my beloved Mamaw bought me a washing machine with her butter and egg money. Thanks so much for this post.

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  5. I used to churn butter at my grandmothers! :)

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  6. Oh well, now that just blows the "shaking cream in a baby food jar" butter experiment from elementary school out of the water.

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  7. Wow this is awesome, I never knew it was this simple, I thought for sure a cow had to be present :) I love good butter and it can make or break a recipe. So much butter these days is tasteless, sigh!!
    Thanks..

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  8. I'm excited. I thought you had to have raw milk to get the for this and like your husband, it's the buttermilk that I'm most inspired by - I grew up on the real stuff. What a treat to get to put that special heirloom to use. I'm off to find a cream source.

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  9. This is a really great post. Your photos are wonderful and make it very easy to follow the steps in the recipe. I'm more than a bit envious of that mold. What a wonderful keepsake. I hope you have a wonderful weekend. Blessings...Mary

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  10. This is pretty COOL! I love your wood butter mold...very special.

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  11. Um we most definitely ARE sisters because you know what Louis and I did for our three year anniversary? Stayed in, cooked baked feta salad (the recipe is on my blog and it is ridiculously good!) and made butter. It was so fun! Our problem was that it worked out a lot more expensive than buying butter (although the butter we made was raw, from raw cream which was exciting) and actually not as good as some gourmet butter we have bought. We also did not put it in such a pretty mould OR take beautiful photos. Maybe we need to try again!? :)

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  12. We grew up churning our own butter. I love the idea of using the mixer! Real, fresh butter is to die for!! Enjoyed a treat of famiy history, too! blessings ~ Tanna
    PS LOVE no word verification!!!

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  13. Wow! I was soooo excited to see your recipe for butter, I have been waiting a long time to find a recipe like this. I grew up in Canada and my sisters neighbor had a farm and made the most wonderful butter, we liked our butter a little salty. I guess I will have to make some fresh bread to go with it. Yum : ) Thanks : )

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