Jun 13, 2013

homemade (herb) butter

There's a pretty good secret that the world has been keeping from us.  Butter does NOT need to be churned for hours on end by a little old lady with a bonnet.  (Maybe that's just what I've always thought...)

Butter is actually really easy to make, especially if you have a good stand mixer.  And the results, oh Lordy.  I can't even tell you how much fresh butter we gobbled down with homemade bread the day we made this.  You can't say I didn't warn you.

While most of my recipes help us save money by making food at home, this one didn't.  It cost us about twice as much as some cheap generic butter would have cost us at the store.  But, if you compare it to some fancy herbed butter, you'll about break even.

This recipe is NOT about the money anyways.  It's about learning how food is made and knowing that you could make it if necessary.  You've got to try this at least once.  Kids (and adults!) would love to see the magical transformation from cream to whipped cream to butter.  So simple yet so delicious.

Homemade (Herb) Butter
  • heavy cream (not the low-fat stuff in this case), any amount will do
  • salt, to taste
  • herbs, to taste (we used fresh chopped chives and grated garlic, but chopped garlic scapes, fresh oregano or whatever else you might have around would work fine)
Pour the cold heavy cream into the bowl of a stand mixer (or regular bowl, if you plan to use a hand mixer).  Whip it on medium-high, cleaning off the sides of the bowl occasionally for an even texture.  It will go from frothy to soft peaks to stiff peaks (like whipped cream) to a little chunky to more chunky.  The color will also change from bright white to soft yellow.  You'll know it's done when there is a clear separation between the butter and the buttermilk.  It took us about 10 minutes to get to that point.  When it's done, remove the buttermilk (it can be saved and used in another recipe).  Knead the butter in your hands, until all of the excess moisture has been removed.  Extra droplets of buttermilk left in the butter will make it go bad quickly.  Once you're done, you can add salt and herbs to taste.  Enjoy it at room temperature on some warm bread.  Whatever you don't finish should be covered with plastic wrap (press it down, so that it touches the butter and there's no air left in the container) and store it in the fridge for later use.

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