Saturday, April 09, 2005

Like butta

What could be more enjoyable than creamy butter spread onto a nice piece of good bread? Homemade butter made from the best cream you can possibly find spread onto a nice piece of good bread.
This morning was devoted to butter making. And by "devoted to" I mean to say that I poured some heavy cream into my stand mixer, put on the whisk attachment and beat it on medium-high for about 20 minutes. I watched TV during this time. Then I squeezed the butter until dry in some cheesecloth. Then I ate some (on a cracker, if you're curious) and put the rest into the fridge. Delightfully creamy. Like butta - which isn't wholly surprising, since it was actually butter.
The best cream I could find happened to be organic raw cream from Organic Pastures Dairy. What is raw cream? It is cream that hasn't been pasturized, homogenized or had any other processing done to it. Pasturization involves heating milk to 161 degrees F, hot enough to denature the enzymes that cause spoilage and kill any harmful bacteria. While I certainly wouldn't use any old raw dairy products, Organic Pastures produces a very high quality product and has bacteria counts far lower than the California Department of Food and Agriculture benchmark, so I feel absloutely fine using their products. More than fine, since I know exactly what is in the milk and how it is produced. Another benefit of using raw cream is that the milk still contains the necessary enzymes to make buttermilk, which I am doing with the leftover liquid from my butter making. To make buttermilk with pasturized cream, you would have to add in enzymes (add buttermilk) to allow fermentation to occur.
If you make butter at home, it may actually turn out to be less expensive than buying butter. That was not the case with my raw cream butter, but it's something to keep in mind.

2 cups heavy cream

Pour cream into a stand mixer, put on the whisk attachment and beat it on medium-high for about 20 minutes. There will be yellow clumps sticking to the whisk and/or floating in liquid when beating is complete. Strain into a container over cheesecloth. Using the cheesecloth, squeeze the butter until dry. Discard remaining liquid.
Yield: Approx. 1 cup butter