Monday, January 18, 2010

Getting Started…

Dear Amy,
So, a lot is going on here. R and I have made some significant decisions regarding how we want our next couple of years to unfold.
We have committed to living on half of R’s salary for one year—HALF! Ouch. Although R doesn’t make a lot of money, she makes a good salary. And we feel that we spend more than we need to each month. Okay, let’s be honest, I spend more than I need to each month. And that other half of her salary? It’s going into savings. We’re going to do some traveling and the rest will go toward building our dream house in a couple of years—a spacious (not large) barn house with lots of windows on some spectacular acreage…with chickens…and a two-car garage.
The budget will be finalized this week. And living within such a strict budget? I know it sounds crazy, but it excites me! I look forward to the challenge. I welcome the creative problem solving. Part of the challenge will be to make this small house continue to work for our growing family for the next two years. Toward that goal, I am making daily decisions, conscious choices that keep us on the right path. More about that later in the week.
For now, I want to tell you about one of my favorite books in the kitchen: The River Cottage Family Cookbook. Love, love, love this book! It’s full of recipes and ideas for living and eating well. this book contains some great information on dairy foods, including directions on how to make butter. I realize that you’ve already tried this, but I haven’t, and I loved it. So easy! Last night, we enjoyed a dinner of homemade vegetable soup, homemade sourdough bread and homemade butter. Yes, butter! We made butter!
Please follow along with my make your own butter tutorial:
Start with heavy cream, locally produced is better, and leave it on the counter about 30 minutes or so, until it’s room temperature. The fresher the cream, the longer it will take to turn into butter.
Find a clean glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. I used an empty applesauce jar. Fill it one-third full with cream. It needs plenty of room to move around and churn, so keep it to one-third full.
Screw the lid on tightly and start shaking! Shake it up and down and all around so that the cream is really moving around and hitting the bottom of the lid. Don’t stop shaking until the butter is finished. It’s a good workout using such a large jar. R and I had to take turns! The boys loved it.
At first, it will obviously feel like cream sloshing around in there. Then, it will get quiet and you won’t be able to see into the jar. Voila! Whipped cream!
whip cream
Keep shaking! Suddenly, you’ll feel something heavy sloshing around in there, surrounded by liquid. It may take anywhere between 10-30 minutes to get to this point. You’re almost done! At this point, it’s very soft and looks like whipped butter. It needs a little more shaking to firm up a bit more and separate from the buttermilk.
almost done shaking
All finished. Here’s what the butter looks like before it’s drained:
done shaking
Drain the buttermilk into a separate container.
draining buttermilk1
Then fill the jar with cold water, slosh the butter around and drain. Repeat this step until the water runs clear. Dump the butter onto a wood cutting board. Press with the back of a wooden spoon or with your hands to remove the rest of the buttermilk. If the butter is still full of buttermilk, it will spoil more quickly.
Squeezing with spoon1
Squeezing by hand
All done! Shape, wrap in wax paper and store in the refrigerator.
All Done
I highly recommend enjoying your fresh butter with fresh-from-the-oven, still-warm sourdough bread. Does it get any better than this?
Love, Kate


Shippymolkfred said...

What a great idea. I think I should give it a go. As I have 4 kids it won't be too exhausting :)
Greetings from Scotland

destri said...

I want to make it just so I can say "Yeah, that's right, I make my own butter..."
That would be so cool.
On my bucket list:
Make my own butter

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