When I was 10 years old I took a school trip to a farmstead where we stayed for a week and learned all about the old-fashioned ways of farm life. We spun sheep’s wool, milked cows by hand, tanned rabbit skins, laid hay beds, rode a donkey, shovelled poop, fed animals, collected eggs … but the most fun we had was making butter by shaking a jar of pig’s milk! It took a long time, we all had several turns, but as the jar passed from one energetic set of hands to the next, the liquid started to split and solid yellow chunks appeared. It was one of the most exciting experience for 40-odd city kids and the memory is still vivid nearly three decades later. I had not made butter since then … until Thermomix!
No elbow grease required: making your own butter is effortless, fun and can be quite cost-effective if you buy your cream heavily discounted, when it is just about to reach its use-by date. It is a great way to use leftover cream or sour cream you have no immediate use for, and freezes very well. Any cream above 32 per cent fat will work, the whipping time may vary from three to five minutes but the sound of the
butter separating from the buttermilk and knocking around the bowl will let you know when it is ready. Rinsing the butter twice is important and will improve its shelf life greatly by preventing it from turning rancid quickly.
Once the butter is made, you may flavour it in many sweet and savoury ways. Compound butters are a wonderful staple to keep in the freezer and add instant aroma to your dishes. Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking, to which we have dedicated a large segment in this issue, has an array of delicious recipes for flavoured butters which we have converted for the Thermomix.
Waste not: the buttermilk obtained after the first churning is like liquid gold and can be used in pancakes, cakes, biscuits, salad dressing, smoothies, southern fried chicken, coleslaw or porridge just
to name a few. Freeze it in ice-cube containers
and have it on hand when needed.
- Insert butterfly whisk in a clean, dry and cold bowl. Add cream and whip 3–5 minutes/Butterfly/speed 4. The butter should separate from the buttermilk—you will hear a knocking sound around the bowl when that has occurred.
- Remove butterfly whisk and strain the butter through the simmering basket over a bowl to collect the buttermilk-, which you will be able to use for many other delicious dishes.
- Rinse the mixing bowl quickly and return the butter mass with 400 grams of iced water. Mix 20 seconds/speed 4 and strain through the simmering basket (don’t collect the liquid this time, it is only rinsing water).
- Do a second rinse by repeating step 3 using the rest of the iced water. Then return the butter to the mixing bowl, add the salt, then mix 15 seconds/speed 4.
- At this stage, the butter is ready to be stored in a container of your choice, frozen or flavoured.
AND… The butter will keep for weeks providing it has been rinsed properly. Refrigeration and the addition of salt will extend its shelf life . It may also be frozen in portions (we recommend silicone muffin moulds) for up to 3 months. Adding 150 grams of oil and 100 grams of water at Step 5 and mixing 30 seconds/Butterfly/speed 4 will give you spreadable butter.