wraavr: (fraternity)
[personal profile] wraavr
Today I made butter!

Finished butter

I've been reading this neat book called Milk: The Surprising Story of Milk through the Ages by Anne Mendelson. It's sort of light on the history of non-human milk as a food for humans, but there are some fantastic recipes! I've made dulce de leche with goat and cow milk, clotted cream, and rice pudding with the milk leftover from said clotted cream. I've also done the White Magic 101 dairy chemistry exercises, wherein you start with a couple quarts of unhomogenized whole milk and proceed to split it into component parts. I skimmed cream off the top, soured some of the hand-skimmed milk by inoculating it with cultured buttermilk, made paneer from more of the skim milk, collected the whey from the paneer. The last exercise is the butter-making one; I whipped the cream I collected from the whole milk plus some more heavy cream I had in the fridge.

Making butter by hand takes a half an hour or so; whipping the cream to, well, whipped cream consistency goes pretty quickly, maybe 5 to 10 minutes. Continuing on to butter means more whipping. After a while, 10 minutes maybe? it starts to get clumpy-looking:

It's close to butter at this point, but still needs more whipping. After several more minutes, the buttermilk suddenly starts to separate out.

Once it hits this stage, it's nearly done. The buttermilk gets drained off, and the butter needs to be washed with cold water and worked with a wooden spoon to force out remaining buttermilk.

Voila, butter! It tastes different from store-bought butter, fresher maybe, and more delicate.

The book says that salting butter is hard to do well at home; I have some cheese salt and worked it in to half of the butter I'd made (hence the two bowls at the top of the post). I didn't add much, and the results are so-so. The salt crystals didn't really break down, so the butter isn't uniformly salted. It's quite nice on toast, though. I wonder if I could add salt to the washing water and salt the butter that way? Anyway, good stuff!

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