Thursday, March 17, 2011

Homemade Butter – The Original "Elbow Grease"

When I saw my friend, Jennifer Perillo, do a homemade butter post on her great blog, In Jennie's Kitchen, I thought it would make for a very cool video recipe here. 

The problem was I have the world's ugliest food processor. It's chipped, yellowed from age, and simply not a good look. But it still works fine, so I'm not able to make myself throw it away and get another. Then I thought about doing a real homemade butter video; a true handmade version, without using any machinery whatsoever, save for the finely sculpted apparatus that is my arm. 

Besides not having to show my lame processor, I would also have the opportunity to do some Shake Weight jokes (among others); talk about a win win! Anyway, as you'll see, this technique worked wonderfully and really was a lot of fun. 

It tasted exactly like good supermarket butter. Of course, since it takes a lot more effort to do, and probably costs more to make than buy, you're probably wondering why bother?

That's a great question, and one I really hope you don't ask yourself before giving this a try. By the way, if you are a regular butter maker, please feel free to share any tips and tricks you may have. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
cold heavy cream (about 36% butterfat)

56 comments:

Balu said...

As far as I understand other butter making videos, kneading it in water helps removing every drop of buttermilk from the butter.

The water helps to separate the milk from the water.

You forgot to mention what you can do with the butter after it is ready. Add some salt - or even better - some herbs, chili or whatever you like. :-)

This video has some nice explanation what happens in the process. Also Robert has an awesome beard ;-)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oropJD0CUxI

EcoEcho said...

Butter ... more Irish than Corned Beef!

Kurt said...

John, from what I have read online, the washing removes all the extra buttermilk. This gives it a longer shelf life in the fridge. I make my butter in a food processor and I do wash it, however, it never really lasts long enough to worry about a shelf life, Ha! Shaking it in a mason jar reminds me of Miss Darcy's class third grade studying the pilgrims. Good memories!

Kurt

Lua said...

How many times have i whipped cream, gone too far and ended up making sweetened butter? :P

Also nice on toast! (When I was kid I used to have toast with butter and a sprinkle of sugar on it)

Laura from Remember the Pudding said...

We did this once when I was in the first grade. Passed the jar around the glass so we'd all get a turn at shaking it. I'll have to try it again now that I care a little bit more about making things like butter!

amanda said...

Hi chef John!
I saw your tuna penne pasta, I live in Brazil and we don't have industrialized tomato soup like the one you used, so I would like to know what to use, maybe tomato paste? or tomato sauce?

Sorry for the late question.
I really like your blog!

antonio said...

Hey Chef, this seems so easy that even I can do it. Which leaves me the obvious question..."Can even I do this?"

Chef John said...

You can do it!

Chef John said...

Amanda, use a tomato sauce or any pasta sauce. Tomato paste is too concentrated.

Chef John said...

Amanda, use a tomato sauce or any pasta sauce. Tomato paste is too concentrated.

Jack Parker said...

Your timing was pure gold(en, creamy butter)! I ran out of butter and really, really wanted an english muffin. I happened to have 8oz of heavy cream in the refrigerator that I was planning to use to make (for the third time) your Mocha Pot de Creme.

The english muffin craving won out and I made butter! At first I thought I screwed it up because it turned into whipped cream and it didn't seem to want to shake anymore. I kept the faith and kept shaking. After five minutes of difficult shaking, it suddenly went liquidy and separated from the butter.

Now, if you'll pardon me, my english muffin just popped-up and is screaming for homemade butter!

Lorenz said...

You can bring the cream to room temp and it won't take as long for it to turn to butter.
Also, it tastes AMAZING if you don't put it in the fridge once it solidifies, just put it in a ramekin by the bread and it'll be gone by the end of the day.

Bella said...

"The problem was I have the world's ugliest food processor"...Geez Chef John, you should have heisted the one from the Kellogg kitchen when you made the white bean dip...that one looked kind of nice...right size, nice color etc. ! Just an idea for the next time you go over there to make some snacks!!! :-)Take a large tote bag and....

Cheri Leung said...

How long will this home made butter last???

Chef John said...

not sure, but you can freeze

Razors Edge said...

I have a lot of training in the method used to create this butter so tomorrow night I'll give it a shot!!

milkshake said...

Its weird but most US brands of sweet butter sold in supermarkets have added "fresh - tasting" flavor that I find annoying (to me it tastes like a hint of vanilla) for use in savory dishes.

Salted US butter does not have this flavoring agent so I prefer salted butter for normal cooking but sometimes I buy an unsweetened imported butter for delicate stuff. Since the imports cost double, the home-made stuff could be a cost-effective alternatives, and a good conversation piece too. So thanks, Chef!

Anonymous said...

Cool! I almost always have left-over heavy cream from recipes....

Rita said...

dang! i just bought a pack of butter, too. now i know what to do the next time i have a leftover heavy cream. once again, thanks for another incredible technique.

Chris K. said...

If you can find it, try to use non-homogenized cream because the butterfat separates easier. Then again, if you can find non-homogenized cream, you can probably just buy fresh butter from the same guy.

A couple ball bearings in the jar with your cold cream makes shaking less of a chore and more like a drum circle. Put on some music and give it to your kids to shake, and think about how well they're going to sleep later.

Washing butter does increase its shelf life, but you want to use COLD water. Traditionally this is done with a wooden paddle in a big bowl. Wash, knead, and repeat until the liquid runs clear. Do this a few times and you will have forearms like a longshoreman.

Recently I made cultured butter from home-made creme fraiche. It has a wonderfully tangy, almost cheese-like flavor. But it's also highly perishable, and needs salt to extend its fridge life.

Tyler said...

What a cool post, I'm going to give it a try this weekend.

Butter makes Everything Better!!!

Anonymous said...

Hmmm...wouldn't it be great if you worked in a paint store?

Maggie said...

I always seem to try your 1 or 2 ingredient recipes. less work! haha and this one was funn!! the butter came out tasting really good and I'm so proud to call it homemade! thanks chef john!

Impenitent Atheist said...

A tip if you use your mixer to make butter using the whipping attachment.

When you see the butter starting to separate stop the machine and put some saran around the top of the mixer before continuing, hanging down to cover the top of the bowl like a curtain around the whole bowl .... cause when that butter separates from the buttermilk and it forms a ball the milk will start spraying ALL over your kitchen as it sloshes at top speed around in the bowl.

The saran helps keep the mess in one place .. the bowl, where it belongs ;)

Margery said...

Hi Chef John, I make butter with my first grade class every year just like you demonstrate. Then we have it on pancakes--yum! Anyway a hint--try to get cream without stabilizers, it will 'turn' faster. Love your videos!

Jack Parker said...

Margery - What a fun teaching exercise for your first grade class! You're the kind of teacher I loved when I was in school.

Chef John - I hope you don't mind a cream question here. Is there a recipe, or a substitute, for crème fraîche? I find a lot of recipes from the UK I'd love to try (especially from Nigella Lawson) but would love to try them with the 'double cream' that's called for. Since we can't get it here in the US, I'm hoping you might know of a way to make (or substitute) it instead of just using regular heavy cream.

After all, butter, real cream and bacon are the secrets to life.

Chef John said...

I've read online you can make some fresh cream creme fraiche and then do a cultured butter. I may try that next.

Jack said...

Oh man, *everyone* should make cultured butter and creme fraiche once or twice.

To make the creme fraiche, take your heavy cream and inoculate it with around two tbsp of cultured buttermilk. Mix it gently and leave it loosely covered (like, teatowel) for a day or so on the kitchen counter. It'll be all thick and kind of nutty-sour.

THAT'S IT! YOU MADE CREME FRAICHE!*

Sooooooo easy.

Now make butter out of it. Done and done.

Cultured butter is like the tastiest butter you've ever had and you'll want to eat it straight (I'm not joking). If there's any left, the stronger and more complex flavor is a good starting point to make a compound butter by adding pureed salted avocado, or homemade steak sauce, or whatever...

(*: nitpickers may note that this isn't really creme fraiche, as it's not the same bacteria they use in France. And yeah, I suppose so. Whatever: it's delicious)

Julia from Germany said...

Hey John, did you ever tried Ghee instead of butter? You will love it - it is so much more flavorful and it does not turn brown in the pan. But be sure to use the dark yellow and not the bright one, because the it tastes even better.

Jack Parker said...

Ghee (clarified butter) is glorious and easy to make. It keeps a long time, has many uses, incredible flavor and doesn't need refrigeration.

Like I said before, butter and cream are the secrets to life. They make everything better and have solved several of life's major problems.

PS... I'll be demonstrating this butter making technique at work today. You should be able to hear the ooh's and aah's from here.

Anonymous said...

As a primary school teacher, I have made butter with my students (as a fun activity for our pioneer unit). I discovered that you can add some vanilla and a bit of sugar to the cream before shaking - WOW!! The butter is sweetened and has a hint of vanilla flavour!).
Annie.

Anonymous said...

Could even make a dance out of it: "Shake to to the left." "Shake it to the right." "Shake it here." "Shake it there." "Shake it, shake it everywhere."...

I'd like to try this with "real" milk, for "real butter". Waiting for more..:)

desertdoll said...

Chef John,
I just made the butter as you describe. What fun!

Can you leave the butter in the fridge in the same jar you made it in, or do you have to switch it to another container or plastic wrap?

Hugs,
Desertdoll

Chef John said...

It rinse it off and roll it in plastic like in the video to keep it air tight.

Mother Rimmy said...

Love this! My mom used to have us kids do this for fun.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef,
I make butter all the time. Make sure you use pasteurized and not ultra pasteurized. The high heat of ultra pasteurization makes a lousy butter. Whole Foods sells the proper cream. Also consider leaving the cream out for 6 or 7 hours. It won't go bad and will add a wonderful taste to the butter. Thanks for all the great recipes..

Anonymous said...

Is there any substantiation that monks are best at this method of making homemade butter?

DiggingDogFarm said...

I've made butter this way for many years while milking cows.
There's a lot of idle time between milker changes. I like to use the mason jar type mugs, MUCH easier to handle. Multi-tasking at it's tastiest! :)

Rachael PDX said...

Fresh homemade butter (IMO) blows store bought away (yes, even the best kinds. No salt, herb or anything needed...just rich, sweet, creamy heaven.

What butter should be.

Desired Focus Wedding Photography said...

I have made two of your recipes..actually, in the process of making crème fraîche and I made your Stroganoff. I love your videos..this one was especially hilarious. I use my magic bullet to make a chocolate mousse with just chocolate syrup and heavy cream. I bet I could easily make butter in it! I can't wait to find your Mocha Pot de crème!

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if you can make a really big batch of butter? just add alot more in a bigger jar would it work the same? because thats only a little bit of butter!

Old Lady with Young Dreams said...

Chef John, you say it tastes just like store bought butter? It might if you use store bought cream but my grandmother had cows and she made butter all the time. Nothing smelled as good when you got up in the morning as that home made fresh butter melting on top of pancakes with homemade hot maple syrup. ( 1 cup water, 1 cup sugar,2 tsp maple flavoring. Viola!)Boil the water with the sugar and flavoring and serve hot over pancakes.
Nothing you buy in the store will taste like real home made butter. I sure miss my grandma.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,

I've made homemade butter for years now. It will last nearly two weeks if the you wash and work the butter. Use icy cold water rinse till the water runs clear, then work the butter to remove all excess liquids.

It can be stored in the frig or frozen and can be stored successfully on your counter if you use a french butter crock, just make sure to put cool water in your butter crock.

No more butter churns or mason jars for me! Fill a blender 2/3 full with heavy cream and turn it on and in less then 5 minutes tasty butter! But if you need to occupy a grandchild use a butter churn or mason jar, Lol the little monkey has not clued in yet that there is an easier way... :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Chef John,
I have tried the mason jar method and was so excited that it turned out butter. I have been doing this for only a month or 2 and the family seems to like it. I've added honey to it for a different flavor. This was an idea I wanted to share with my son for a history project in our spare time. Thank you for the video.

Sandy said...

Ahhhh the memories.
I grew up on a small farm in northern Wisconsin. Out of 8 kids, I was the cow milker. I went out every morning and night and milked Rusty and Josie by hand. Rusty was a guernsey and Josie was a holstein. Rusty gave about 2-3 cups of cream each milking, and Josie gave just about a cup and a half.
We didn't have much money, so making butter was a natural. We would make it in a quart jar, and the butter would be gone in one meal. One kid would start shaking, and we would trade off until it was butter. Add salt and eat.
Aaaah the simple life.

Chef John said...

cool memories!

Anonymous said...

Ive noticed a rhythmical shaking... as in 1 vigorous shake every 1 to 1.5 seconds works a bit faster and separates the buttermilk from the butter better.
However like you said, it tastes just like store-bought.

Anonymous said...

just slathered some of this on your wonderful no-knead beer bread. yum!! thank you!! love your site!

Ruban Crusade said...

Hey chef John,

I found another video on making butter that is very different from yours, but should work just as well. It also explains why you should wash your butter. Can't wait to compare!
Link:
http://thehappyscientist.com/science-video/making-butter

-Ruban C

PS-Thanks for posting this and keep up the awesome blog!

Amiee said...

Hey, since you can make your own butter, can you show us how to make clotted creme? I fell in love with this stuff in London, but it's really difficult to find here in Indiana!

Anonymous said...

Saw this done at a restaurant. The jars were on the tables with ball bearings and cream. the guests made their butter while their fresh bread was being baked. By the time the butter was done the bread was served to the table. Everyone had fun!

Claudine said...

Your mom invented toast?! So cool.
(Wink, because that was a funny line in the video, but if no one else caught it, I don't want them to think I really think your mom invented toast. Damn social media where sarcasm doesn't convey well.)
My most fond memory of kindergarten was the day we made butter in class, passing around the mason jar. We had planted radishes earlier that spring, and the teacher brought in bread. We were all so proud when we pulled our robust radishes from the ground, washed them, (teacher) sliced them, and we made radish sandwiches with the butter we'd created and a touch of salt.
Thanks for letting me experience that memory.

Paulie S said...

Chef John, I am looking to make the hand pies for this weekend's family get together and using the new buttery pastry you presented, with that in mind I was thinking of making fresh butter for the pasty. You mentioned that the leftover buttermilk from the shaking can be used to replace water or milk in a recipe, how do you think it would work to chill it and use it for the water in the pastry, figuring I may still need more chilled water to complete, but would it add to the flavor and/or richness to the pastry dough?

Paulie
I'm not a cook but, I do stir well.

Chef John said...

yes! you can use that in the dough! enjoy!

Ruth Guay said...

Chef John!

I know the answer to your question about why peeps say to wash your butter!
I was watching an old fashion show filmed on a farm in Maine (that's where I'm from) and the nice old lady said you wash it to get all the buttermilk out, so you wash it till the water runs clear. It makes it a thicker richer butter I believe.
Love your food and videos! I'm about to make my hubby that garlic pasta dish, yum!

Much Love,
Ruthie and Timothy <3

Gloria Kelley said...

I just saw your video on making crème fraîche which I want to make so I can add it to the beef stroganoff and BLT pasta recipe that you posted. . You also mentioned that someone suggested making butter with crème fraîche. Do you have more specific directions for making butter with crème fraîche?