Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Making Butter from Raw Jersey Cream

This morning I drove and hour through the rain to get to Kookoolan Farms in Yamhill to purchase four half gallons of fresh, raw Jersey milk for the purpose of making butter.

For what would seem like unfamiliar territory, butter making is actually not.  I grew up drinking raw milk from my grandparents Guernsey cow and eating butter made from the cream.  Though my grandmother had an electric butter churn, my mom still occasionally gave my brothers and I the task of making butter in a large mayonaise jar.  We would take turns shaking the jar, usually while watching cartoons after school.

Homemade butter, made from raw milk of pastured cows, to me is a very rare and precious thing in today's world.  Though it may look the same and perhaps taste similar to expensive butters like Kerry Gold, it is definitely a world apart from butter made from milk from conventionally run dairies.  Pasteurization, homogenization, additives....not to mention what the cows were fed--to me, factory farm milk is so far away from what nature intended milk to be that it's really not milk anymore.  But, I digress.  A raw milk blog entry needs to be a thing of it's own for another time.  On to butter making......

Step 1:
Look for the cream line.  This is what you want for butter.

Step 2:

Ladle of cream with a sterilized ladle into a sterilized jar.
I used a two quart canning jar.  Lid and ring sterilized as well.
Leave about a 1/2 or so of cream on top of the milk.  It will help it keep longer.

Let the cream come to room temperature.  Or, if you're in a hurry like I was, shake it for a few minutes under a stream of warm tap water to bring the temp up if it is still cold.

Ready to shake

Step 4:

Shake it. Back and forth.  Side to side.  Use both arms...or one arm.  Switch arms when you get tired.
Think about how toned your arms would look if you did this everyday.  The entire process should take about as long as an episode of "Dora The Explorer".  

After about 10 minutes or so curds of butter will start to form.  Though I did not take a picture of it, early on, very small, random white dots will start to stick to the inside of the jar.  That is the beginning of the butter.


Step 5:

Drain off liquid and remove butter to a clean bowl.  

Step 6:  

Rinse the butter in the bowl under a gentle stream of COLD tap water.  The object here is to get to a point where there isn't hardly any milkiness to the water coming from the butter.  It should be nearly clear.  I did this by gently squishing and folding the butter.

Step 7:

Squeeze remaining water from butter.

(note the look of amazement from the scrubby holder frog)

At this point you can either salt the butter (which I did) or leave unsalted.  I believe it lasts a bit longer salted.  

That's it.  It will keep in the fridge a few days.  I froze about 1/3 of the batch, which yielded about 1 1/4 cups of butter from about a quart of cream.  

It tasted great!  I added just a tad too much salt, but it had that grassy, warm, complex flavor only found in pastured butter along with that extra special subtle flavor that only comes from raw milk.  A taste from my childhood.

I can't wait until later this Spring when the cows get more fresh grass.  The butter will then change from pale yellow to bright gold!

Up next, I am also at the moment culturing a cup of cream with piima starter for cultured butter and yogurt.