Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Making fresh butter

“If you want a thing done well, do it yourself.”
- Napoleon Bonaparte

Good morning my dear friends and happy Wednesday!  We are already half way through the week and although it's going fast, I'm not complaining.  The weekend will be here soon enough and with it the glorious sleep-in time.  And I need that sleep-in time because I'm a night owl and I never get enough sleep during the work week.

Today is also an Earth Day.  Let give our Mother Earth some gentle loving care today and let her know how much we appreciate the home she's given us.  Let this day also be a reminder that we have to celebrate the Earth and take care of her not just one day in a year but all year round.  After all, she takes care of us.  Happy Earth Day Earthlings!

Moving on to today's topic.

Last night I made some fresh homemade butter and you can see the results of my efforts in the picture above.  Have you ever tried making your own butter?

Whenever my husband invites his friends to the house and they are preparing snacks involving butter, he always praises my butter making abilities.  I'm always very pleased with the compliments but can't help to laugh a little inside.  It's really very simple to make butter. You just need the right ingredient. That's right. Only one.

I learned the art of butter making from my grandma when I was only 9 years old.  It was by necessity rather than pleasure but the lessons stuck with me all my life.  

We lived in Poland, back in 1980s during the communist era and the food in stores was scarce.  One of the things that we could never get enough of was butter.  It was not easy to come by in those times and when the fresh delivery did come in, it was quickly gobbled up by people.

One day my grandma approached my cousin and I as we were playing inside the house.  It was raining that day.  She had two jars partially filled with raw unhomogenized whole milk in her hands. She told us she needed butter for a recipe but she was out and there was none in the store.  She needed our help to make some more.

She didn't have electric mixer so it had to be done by hand.  All we had to do was shake the jars vigorously and eventually the butter would deposit itself on the walls.  Sure enough it worked just as she said.  Our arms were sore that night but we made some butter for our grandma and she baked us something delicious.

Today I don't have to shake any jars to make my butter but if the electricity cut out or my electric mixer quit on me, that would still be the way to go.

The one ingredient that's needed for home butter making is UNHOMOGENIZED whole cream. The reason I put it in capital letters is that the unhomogenized part is very important. Regular homogenized cream is an emulsion. Its fat is broken into very small molecules and it no longer separates from the rest of the liquid. To make butter you need the separation.

I don't know if you'll be able to get the unhomogenized cream in your regular grocery store.  I guess it depends where you live.  The conventional grocery stores in my neck of Canadian woods don't carry it.  I get my unhomogenized cream at the natural foods store.  I would think that places like Whole Foods or Ambrosia should carry it though.

What you will need:

-Unhomogenized whole cream at a room temperature

-Salt (optional)

-Big bowl

-Hand held electric mixer

-Fine mesh strainer



Pour your unhomogenized whole cream into a big bowl and start beating it with your electric mixer.
It will first become a whip cream. Resist an urge to eat it all at that point. Keep whipping away until the mixture starts turning yellow and you see liquid milk forming on the bottom. The yellow substance is the butter slowly separating from the liquid. You can start straining at this point or you can continue whipping if it doesn't splatter too much. 

When the liquid starts splattering excessively, I strain the milk into a separate jar using a fine metal strainer. I continue whipping until the butter chunks get too big for my mixer to handle. At this point I usually take a big spoon and kneed it for a bit, squeezing more milk out of the butter. As I press the butter with my spoon I can see droplets of milk appearing on the surface.  It's actually pretty cool. When I don't see much milk separating anymore, I rinse my butter several times until the water runs clear.

The separated milk should not be discarded.  It's just as delicious as ready store bought one. You can even add a little bit of water to it if you think it's too creamy.  I do it all the time.

If you like salted butter, this is the time when you can make it happen.  Just fold some salt into your freshly made butter while it's still soft.

Enjoy your delicious homemade butter and the compliments you'll receive after people learn you've made it yourself from scratch.  The art of making butter is somewhat lost today and I find that just a teeny bit sad.  I'm happy that I learned how to do it however, and now I'll pass this knowledge to my kids.



  1. You are clever, I'm not very good in the kitchen I'm afraid.
    A wonderful post and a pleasure to read. and learn something.

    1. Thank you Yvonne! I'm so happy you enjoyed it. :)

  2. When I was a kid, I heard the older generation talking about making butter. But of course have never tried it myself. So it's fascinating to read how you do it. Is unhomogenized milk the same as unpasteurized milk?

    1. No. Unhomogenized milk can be both pasteurized or unpasteurized. Raw unhomogenized is of course the best but pasteurized milk will work too as long as it's unhomogenized. Having said that, all unpasteurized (raw) milk is unhomogenized. :)

  3. You are amazing. I wouldn't know where to begin. I doubt that I could get unhomogenized milk here in the city.

    1. Thank you Mary! Yes, it's not easy to get it unless you know where to look. Natural food stores and small farmers would be where I would look first. :)

  4. I can just imagine how tasty your homemade butter would be on a slice of bread fresh out of the oven!

    1. Oh you better believe it! Thank you for stopping by Ruth! :)