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.