Homemade butter is probably something you never thought you could make. You may have thought it was too hard or too time consuming. But if you’ve ever accidentally over-whipped your cream until it looks slightly curdled (and I think we all have), you may be surprised to hear that you’ve actually already made butter. While butter used to be a tedious and time consuming process, nowadays we have helpful tools like blenders and stand mixers than can whip up a batch of butter in minutes.
As surprisingly simple as it is, if you are going to go through the effort of making your own homemade butter, you want to make it worth your while, and that means seeking out good quality, grass-fed cream. The generic cartons of ultra-pasteurized heavy cream in the grocery store just won’t taste as rich and luxurious as high fat, farm-fresh cream; trust me. Your local farmer’s market is a great place to start to find a source of quality cream.
If you want to go one step further and make European-style butter, which is cultured before churning in much the same way that cheese or yogurt is, you’ll need to track down some mesophilic culture. If you have a cheese-making supply shop nearby (often wine and beer-making supply shops often sell cheese-making supplies) that’s a good place to start, and they can tell you which culture would be best for your homemade butter. You can also buy these cultures easily online, just look for a mesophilic culture that is used for soft cheeses, butter, and sour cream.
To make European-style cultured butter, stir the mesophilic culture into room temperature cream (65-68ºF). Lightly cover and place in a warm dry spot for 6 hours or until thickened. If the cream has warmed over 68ºF, refrigerate until it drops back down to temperature (it will not properly churn if it is too warm). After sitting for 6 hours with the culture, the cream is thick, with a slightly soured smell (it should look and smell like yogurt at this point). If you just want to make regular sweet cream butter, you can skip this step.
Cultured butter has a remarkable richness and depth of flavor that can’t be matched by raw or sweet cream butter: the complex, tangy flavor that comes from the culturing process is well worth the extra 6 hours if you can bear to wait that long. If you’ve ever been to France and indulged in some of their amazing butter (seriously, I could live on French butter), then you know how amazing cultured butter is…regular, store-bought butter just can’t compare. The other secret of French butter? Salt. Sure, you can leave your homemade butter unsalted, but unless you are baking with it, I highly recommend you add salt, as it’ll take your butter to a whole other level.
Place room-temperature cream in the pitcher of your KitchenAid® Diamond Blender and secure lid. Turn on the Diamond Blender to speed 4 (Puree), then increase to speed 5 (Liquefy). Blend for about 30 seconds, or until the butter separates from the buttermilk within; when this happens the sound of the blender will change. One of the most important steps in making homemade butter is the rinse. Once you’ve blended for 30 seconds, pour off the initial batch of buttermilk (save this, it’s good stuff!). Then, add some ice-cold water to your KitchenAid® Diamond Blender with the remaining butter. Blend, then pour off as much liquid as you can. Repeat this rinse/blend/pour process 3-5 times or until the liquid is mostly clear. Then transfer the butter to a piece of clean muslin cloth or cheesecloth, shape it into a ball, and rinse it under cold water, squeezing to drain off any remaining liquid.
Now, what to do with all your amazing homemade butter once you’ve made it? Make toast, of course. Since we’re following in the French tradition anyway with our cultured butter, we may as well copy them as well and make butter sandwiches. Yes, the French butter their sandwiches before they add meat and cheese. It may seem excessive, but in my opinion, it’s no different than slathering your sandwich with mayonnaise, but so much better.
Start with a nice crusty bread, sliced nice and thick. Lightly toast the slices in your KitchenAid® 4-Slice Long Slot Toaster (the long slots easily accommodate larger loaves of artisan bread). You want to aim for lightly golden and crispy, but still soft on the inside (I find one toast cycle on setting 3 is perfect). Generously butter your bread slices with your freshly made butter. Top with a few slices of soft brie cheese and jambon de Bayonne (French prosciutto). You can also take the same concept to Italy, with prosciutto and pecorino cheese, or Spain, with ibérico or serrano ham and manchego cheese.
Homemade butter will keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 weeks, assuming that the butter was thoroughly rinsed (any remaining buttermilk may cause the butter to go rancid within a few days). Butter can also be frozen for up to 6 months.
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Homemade European-Style Butter
Makes 8 ounces (1 cup or 2 standard sticks)
2 cups heavy cream, room temperature (65-68F)
1/8 teaspoon mesophilic culture (optional, for cultured butter. Can be purchased where cheese-making supplies are sold)
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt or butter salt (optional, for salted butter)
*For European-style cultured butter: stir mesophilic culture into room temperature cream (65-68ºF). Lightly cover and place in a warm dry spot for 6 hours or until thickened. If the cream has warmed over 68ºF, refrigerate until it drops back down to temperature (it will not properly churn if it is too warm). If you just want to make regular sweet cream butter, you can skip this step.
Place room-temperature cream in the pitcher of your KitchenAid® Diamond Blender and secure lid.
Turn on Diamond Blender to speed 4 (Puree), then increase to speed 5 (Liquefy). Blend for about 30 seconds, or until the butter separates from the buttermilk within; when this happens the sound of the Blender will change.
Remove lid and pour off buttermilk (but don’t waste it! This initial batch of buttermilk can be saved and reused to make biscuits, pancakes, or super-moist cupcakes.) Stir and press the butter with a small spatula to release and pour off as much of the buttermilk as you can.
Pour about 1/2 cup of ice-cold water over butter. Re-place lid and Mix (Speed 3) for 20 to 30 seconds. Pour off liquid, again stirring and smashing with a spatula to release as much liquid as possible.
Repeat this step, adding more cold water and mixing, then pouring off liquid, about 3 to 4 times, or until the liquid is mostly clear and no longer cloudy. At this point your butter should have firmed up quite a bit as well.
Scrape butter out of blender and into a piece of clean muslin (also called butter muslin) or a triple-layer of cheesecloth. Gather edges of fabric and squeeze butter into a ball. Rinse under cold water, squeezing firmly, until liquid runs clear.
Remove butter from muslin and place in a bowl, scraping off any excess that is stuck to the fabric. Sprinkle salt over butter and fold in with a spatula, smashing and pressing the salt until it is mixed evenly throughout the entire batch.
At this point you can pack it into a butter bell (which, once filled with a little water, preserves the butter at room temperature, no refrigeration needed) or, to shape it into logs, spread butter into a log shape on a piece of parchment paper. Roll tightly in parchment, twisting ends to seal.
*The Contributor of this post has been compensated by KitchenAid for this post, but this post represents the Contributor’s own opinion.*