I love butter and I love it even more now that I have made it myself. Aside from the fact that it makes everything taste better, butter makes the flakiest croissants, the shortest of shortbreads and the best golden gleam on a crumpet.
Anyone can make butter and you don’t have to use any fancy machines to make it. Just one ingredient, double cream. The process is so simple, just beat the double cream until the fat (butter) separates from the buttermilk. This can be done using a jam jar, a churn or a free standing mixer.
A few years ago I found a vintage butter churner in the beautiful town of Rye, on the south coast of England. I had never made butter but just looking at the butter churner made me want to! Whilst in Brighton last week I saw that Kilner, the company that makes the wonderful preserving jars, also makes small butter churners.
I used 1.2 litres of double cream and churned it up for about 10 minutes, then the butter fat separated from the buttermilk. The whole process is throughly satisfying to do and it seems like a miraculous achievement, that after a short time you have your very own butter. If you are using a jam jar, just keep shaking it – it is a good arm workout!
Strain the buttermilk off and keep it in the fridge – you can drink it or use it in baking, great for buttermilk scones. Put the butter into a colander and rinse it under a cold tap. Yep, you have to rinse it! There will still be buttermilk in the butter that needs to be rinsed out, otherwise it will turn the butter rancid. Keep rinsing until the water runs clear.
Unsalted or salted butter? I prefer unsalted butter so I left mine without salt; it will keep for 2-3 days in the fridge. Salting the butter obviously changes the taste but it also preserves the freshness by a few more days. If you would like salted butter, then you can knead a small amount of salt in to suit your taste. Wrap the blocks in wax paper and keep in the fridge or you can freeze the butter for up to one month.
The last thing to address is what to use your precious butter on! There is only one answer for me, a beautiful fresh baguette from the local French pâtisserie.Let me know if you give it a go and share your photos on Instagram or Facebook