What’s that you say? You’ve never made your own butter? Oh daaaarlink, you simply must – it’s so easy! I was amazed recently by how many people reacted with surprise when I said you could make your own butter in just 5 minutes, using nothing more than an electric mixer and some double cream. In fact, you don’t even need the electric mixer – if you cast your mind way back you might even recall making it in a jam jar at primary school. But unless you still have the boundless energy of a 7-year-old, or the arm muscles and equipment of a 19th century dairy maid, I strongly recommend using the electric mixer.
Homemade butter won’t necessarily taste substantially different or better than anything you can buy (although if you do it with delicious farm-fresh organic cream it will certainly knock the socks off anything Lurpak can produce), but it is just such fun – watching the transformation of a common kitchen substance (cream) changing state from liquid to solid, plus of course you get a delicious bi-product (buttermilk) which just cries out to be baked with, ideally into something you can slather your lovely new butter on.
Whilst we’re on the butter and milkmaid topic, if you fancy a cheap giggle Google ‘butter churner’ then look at the 3rd search result* (adults only!)
How to make homemade butter
600ml very fresh double cream
1 tsp-½ tbsp Maldon sea salt (depending on how salty you like your butter)
Whisk the cream on high speed in a Kitchen Aid or other freestanding mixer for around 5 minutes, until separated. This can be a bit messy so it’s a good idea to drape a teatowel over the mixer and bowl to avoid splattering your whole kitchen and self. Drain in a colander or sieve, and if you like you can gather it up in a clean bit of muslin or unused j-cloth and squeeze hard to extract every last bit of buttermilk from it. Homemade butter really does need to be salted to liven it up (and to make it last longer – remember that without any preservatives this butter will only last as long as the originating cream was going to). Stick your butter back in the mixer and beat in the salt. Turn out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and shape into a log, pat, whatever you like.
This recipe should yield around 200ml buttermilk and 300g butter (there’s some inevitable wastage in splattering on your mixer, and then again in the food processor when you blitz your butter with salt.) Now make something with that lovely buttermilk – soda bread, biscuits, pancakes are all good but for me it has to be scones! I’m still searching for my perfect scone recipe but Dan Lepard’s is pretty close (which I wont reprint here for obvious copyright reasons). I like mine savoury though, so omit the sugar and add a hefty handful of mature cheddar to the dough, plus a pinch of salt and cayenne or paprika for colour. They’re best left to cool just slightly, then eaten whilst still warm enough to melt the butter, which should be slathered on generously
*I can’t decide which is odder, the position, or the decision by somebody to call it that!