Secret Tips for Making Homemade Butter
I have made many pounds of homemade butter, but I never used an old fashion churn. My mother-in-law made butter by shaking cream in a gallon jar. I tried this a couple of time but our cow gave lots of milk each day, and shaking all the cream in a jar was both timely and very laborious.
I analyzed my problem and decided that I needed a machine to blend the cream.
Blend! Of course! Why not use my blender. I tried using the top that came with the blender, but —–Actually, I don’t remember why this didn’t work. My guess is that I had gallons of cream to churn and the top was too small. I discovered that the base of the blender would screw into a small mouthed gallon jug. Now the problem was to get the cream in the jar, screw on the base, turn the jar upside down and position it on the blender.
My first try was a big fat mess. I filled the gallon jar, but didn’t get the blender base screwed on properly. I had cream all over the kitchen counter and floor. I gave some thought to bringing in Polly, our pet pig, but didn’t want to start something. This pig was the runt and would have died had we not nursed her on a bottle. Polly followed our farm dogs around, but managed to be present when it was milking time. If my husband slept late, Polly would stand on the porch and but her head against the screen until he came out. She wanted her serving of warm frothy milk fresh from the cow.
I have done a bit of “bird walking.” Back to the gallon of spilled cream. I cleaned up the mess and started over, using much less cream this time, just in case my blender idea was not going to work. It was a wonderful success. On slow speed, the cream quickly whipped and after some time butter separated. I was excited. I could do something else while the cream was being churned.
Saturday was for farming chores–churning cream year round and canning vegetables when harvested from our large garden. I taught school during the week and my husband milked that cow twice a day every day of the week. I had a lot of cream to churn each week. The blender made this job much easier.
Did You Know!
- Generally, a good milk cow will produce 6-8 gallons of milk per day.
- The cream from about 2 and 1/2 gallons of milk will make 1 pound of butter.
Materials For Churning Cream
1 pint of heavy cream (whipping cream)
1 quart plastic jar with lid
**Caution: Use only a plastic jar if you use a marble. The marble can break a glass jar.
WHAT TO DO:
1. Wash the plastic jar and marble with soapy water and rinse well with clean water.
2. Pour the cream into the jar. Add the clean marble and seal the jar with its lid.
3. Allow the jar to sit at room temperature for about 30 minutes.
4. Shake the jar until its contents is filled with bubbles and appears thick. Continue to shake the jar until there is a separation of the butter and liquid.
Note: The contents of the jar is a watery liquid called buttermilk and butterfat
5. Remove the butter from the jar with a spoon and place it in a bowl.
The watery liquid left is called churned buttermilk. Today churned buttermilk is mostly dried (condensed) and used in baking industries.
6. Wash the butter by filling the bowl with cold tap water water. Then, with clean hands, knead the butter to squeeze out the buttermilk. Pour out the liquid in the bowl and repeat this washing process. You now have fresh churned butter.
FYI: You might add table salt to the butter for taste or not.
Butter and cream are examples of an emulsion, which is a mixture of two immiscible (insoluble) liquids, with one of the liquids finely diffused (spread) throughout the other.
Butter is an inversion of cream. This means churning doesn’t chemically change cream into butter, instead there is a physical change as shown by the diagram. Note that the emulsifier is not bonding the oil and water together like atoms are bonded in molecules. Instead, the emulsifier is a compound in which one end is hydrophobic (repels water but attracts oil) and the opposite end is hydrophilic (attracts water)
- Cream is an oil-in-water permanent emulsion, which is a mixture oil finely dispersed throughout water. The oil doesn’t separate upon standing. This is because of the presence of a milk protein that acts like an emulsifier, which holds the water to the oil.
If you mix oil and water, then vigorously shake the mixture, you can see tiny oil bubbles as well as air bubbles through out the mixture. Allow the mixture to stand and the oil will separate and float on top of the water. When the oil was dispersed through out the water, the mixture represented a temporary emulsion.
Churning means to agitate, shake, whisk or beat. When cream is churned, the bottom line is that the oil-in-water emulsion is broken apart allowing the butterfat to coalesce, to stick together.
- Butter is a water-in-oil emulsion, which is a mixture of water finely dispersed throughout the oil.
Butterfat is less dense than water, thus when the butterfat separates from the cream emulsion, the butterfat floats to the surface of the water. The water left when butter is separated from cream is called buttermilk, but it is not the same as buttermilk purchased to drink. Making buttermilk to drink is another type of dairy process.