Well, today I learned why food processors exist! Inspired by the March issue of Saveur that focused on butter and all of its regional uses and charms, I obtained some very farm-fresh milk, and got started. Saveur gave a very idyllic picture story of how to make your butter at home with fresh heavy cream by whisking it in a nice rustic wooden bowl. I got my balloon whisk and started whisking. Of course, I decided to whip up some butter on the day that I started my Spring workout regimen – today was heavy on the push-ups…
I tired out early in the butter-making process, and was encouraged by helpful Spencer to break out our recently-purchased hand mixer. This quickly got me to the soft-peak and stiff-peak stages, and suddenly I realized it was 30 minutes into the churning stage! Saveur slyly mentioned nothing about how long this wooden-bowl whisking technique was supposed to take. Surely something had to be wrong! I took a break to check some websites and soon discovered I was in this for at least another 30 minutes! My arms burning (I even whisked with my left arm!), I returned to the web to see if any other helpful information could be gleaned, and that’s when I found it!! A recipe for food-processor butter! While I love traditional methods as a general rule, I was desperate for a new tactic, and so I broke out my modern churner. I popped in the dough blade, poured in my only kinda lumpy buttery-milk, and turned it on. In no less than 5 minutes, I had bona-fide butterfat separating from the buttermilk! Eureka! It IS possible! I gotta say, I completely understood Michael Pollan’s sentiment in the Omnivore’s Dilemma after he worked on Joel Salatin’s farm in Virginia. After working with the chickens and seeing all the trouble farmers go through to produce an incredible egg, he said he’d never complain about the high prices of farm products ever again – even $1 an egg seemed reasonable to him! Well, My butter endeavor makes me happy to pay $5-$7 a pound! My 7 hours of butter-making today yielded me 2.25 oz. of creamy perfection, that’s a little more than 1/8 of a pound. My picture story below…..
I have access to farm-fresh milk, and brought home 1.5 gallons.
You can see the creamline in this picture.
I carefully scooped out the cream from the top of each jar.
I had exactly 2 cups – 1 pint of cream to work with.
It is so pretty!
Ok. So 6 of the 7 hours of the project was letting the butter sit
to try and “culture” a bit as Savuer advised me. So here it sits.
Let the whisking begin! It got thick pretty quickly, and
I was soon thinking of June strawberries and whipped cream!
Tiring of the whisk, I broke out the mixer and was soon at the
soft peak, then stiff peak stage.
My end products! Almost a pint of buttermilk (mmmm biscuits!) and 2.25 oz. of butter! Now I have to get Spencer to make his famous French bread….. YUM!!
Upon re-visiting the Saveur article, I laughed out loud to see a 1915 picture of a man with a strong upper body structure and an older woman behind him with a knowing look on her face, sort of saying, “Better you than me!”. He issitting at a butter churn looking very tired out, and she looked like she was super-happy to let him do it. There you have it! Justification for using modern machinery to get the same product. At any rate, it was fun and I will definitely do it again, maybe just not after a lot of push-ups or with a whisk at all…