Store-bought butter is kind of a watered down version of "real" butter to improve shelf-life and durability. If you make it at home you don't have to worry about that so you can leave all that buttery goodness where it belongs.
I suppose you could spend an exorbitant amount of money on "artisan" butters at a farmer's market somewhere, but why, when you can make it yourself?
It turns out that making butter is both easy and fun and yields a very good product that beats most the butter you can buy at the store. Certainly the budget butter I buy.
This is also a fun recipe to do with the kids!
16 oz (1 pint) heavy cream
1/4 cup buttermilk
½ teaspoon Kosher salt
So, I failed to get the first pictures here, but you just want to combine the pint of heavy cream and 1/4 cup of buttermilk in some sort of container with a lid. Not rocket science.
The buttermilk will cause fermentation in the mixture, which we are looking for. This is the "butter" flavor.
Once mixed, leave on top of your fridge or something for 48 hours. Don't bother it and don't worry about it. Let it do its thing.
After your 48 hours is up, give it a stir.
Mine had tiny yellow bits in it. I assume that's the bacteria from the buttermilk doing what it does.
Anyway, it'll be thick. Like pancake batter or cream cheese frosting or something like that.
Get your mixer out and ready an ice bath.
Pour the mixture into the work bowl.
Start at low speed on the mixer until it gets going.
Increase to medium.
We are going to whip it past the point of breaking.
If you've made whipped cream at home before, you know there is the soft peaks stage, then the stiff peaks stage.
We are going PAST that to getting the fat to separate from the whey.
Basically breaking whipped cream.
You will not be in doubt when it happens. The fat will completely separate from the liquid in the bowl almost all at once.
This is butter! Congratulations!
Now we just need to get the butter separated from the whey.
Get the butter off of the whisk.
I used gloves for this. It's incredibly messy.
Like, really messy.
Anyway, gather the butter in your hands as best as you can. It should be pretty easy, but it was really hot here when I did this, so it was tough for me - hence the ice bath.
Toss it in the bath, best as you can.
Put this in the fridge for now to firm up a bit.
The remaining whey is buttermilk!
You can keep this or toss it. Some people drink it!
Maybe make a batch of biscuits? You've got a carton of buttermilk in the fridge anyway...but that's for another time.
Regardless, I just tossed mine since there wasn't very much anyway.
Once your butter has chilled a bit (maybe 20 minutes) you can work with it a bit better.
I put it into a container or bowl or something to work with a spatula.
Break it up and add your salt. 1/2 teaspoon. Kosher.
As you mix it, you should have some more whey getting released.
Pour it off and continue to mix/press it out.
You'll be left with a much drier butter.
You can store it like this for a week in the fridge or much longer in the freezer.
I decided to roll it up for easy portioning.
Just put it in some parchment and roll it up. Easy. Put it in the fridge to firm up.
I figure it's about the same amount as two sticks of regular butter.
Now you can slice it into rounds for consumption.
This butter is what butter should taste like. It's not a funky European butter, but very American tasting in that it is mild in flavor but just, more bold, for lack of a better word. It's creamy, has a great texture and really screams "butter".
I have had really good luck with this butter simply spreading it on toast, or english muffins, or sandwiches. It's great for simple consumption.
You can also cook with it just fine. I've made eggs with it and it's incredible in that application - either fried or scrambled it gives an extra level of flavor that really compliments the eggs.
Making eggs has probably my favorite way to use this butter so far, but a brown butter sauce or roux or finishing risotto would be great uses for this. Sky's the limit!
Give this a try if you want a fun recipe to do with the kids that will give you a greater appreciation for this humble spread.