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In first grade, I was once given an assignment to bring a lidded jar to school for a butter-making project. In class, we filled the jars with cream and were told to shake them briskly for about 10 to 15 minutes, which felt like an eternity to my 6-year-old brain. I think my arms got too tired to shake the jar for the full duration of time, which is why the liquid turned into a lumpy mess instead of the solid substance some of my classmates ended up spreading on slices of bread.
As adults, we can pick up a wide assortment of butters from the grocery store — from the classic unsalted variety to flavored options. But there are many potential benefits to making your own butter. Some say that the homemade versions taste better than the store-bought ones, particularly if you use high-quality cream. Making butter yourself can also be cheaper, but that depends on how much you paid for the cream (one quart of cream typically yields about one pound of butter).
Making butter at home is also a fun, easy project. All you need is cream and a stand mixer, handheld mixer or a blender. While any brand of cream labeled “heavy,” “whipping” or “heavy whipping” will work, some experts recommend heavy cream, which has a higher fat content (40 percent butterfat and 60 percent milk solids and water) than its counterparts.
To obtain the freshest product, buy heavy cream from your local dairy farm — or make your own.
If you want to give making your own butter a go, here are three ways to do it.
How To Make Butter With A Stand Mixer
If you’ve got extra heavy cream on hand, this method will help you use it up, and you’ll save money on butter!
- Add 12 to 16 ounces of heavy cream to the bowl of your stand mixer and beat the liquid on medium speed using the flat beater for about one minute.
- Crank up the speed to medium-high for four to five minutes. At this point, the liquid and solids in the mixture will start to separate — so you’ll want to use a splash guard, bowl shield or drape a large dish towel over the bowl to avoid making a huge mess (the buttermilk splatters).
- After the butter and the buttermilk have completely separated, pour the chunky mixture into a strainer over a large bowl. Drain the buttermilk. Note: It isn’t cultured like the store-bought buttermilk, so don’t put it in your biscuits or pancakes. You can drink it — but it has less nutritional value and flavor than a lot of other dairy products.
- Rinse the solids in the strainer under cold water in the sink until all the buttermilk is washed out (the water should run clear).
- Now is the time to add salt or any seasonings (if you want to make flavored butter). Store your creation in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few weeks. Unfortunately, it spoils quicker than the butter products from the supermarket.
How To Make Butter With A Blender
Making butter with a blender retains more buttermilk, resulting in a creamier spread.
- Add 12 to 16 ounces of cream to your blender and blend it on high until the liquid and solids separate (between four to six minutes). The amount of time this takes depends on what type of blender you use. You can also stop the blender at around three minutes to scrape down the sides.
- Use a strainer over a large bowl to drain the buttermilk and rinse the solids under cold water in the sink (you can also use a cheese cloth and squeeze out the liquid). The more liquid you squeeze out, the longer the butter will last.
- Stir in salt or seasonings and store your butter in an airtight container in the refrigerator. It should last a few weeks.
How To Make Butter With A Handheld Mixer
Since handheld mixers can be messier to use and cause more splashes than stand mixers, this method is best for making smaller amounts of butter.
- Add 5 to 10 ounces of cream to a large mixing bowl and beat at medium-high speed until the liquid and solids start to separate (the time will vary depending on the type of mixer you have).
- Drape a large dish towel over the top of the bowl to avoid getting buttermilk everywhere, and continue to beat until the butter and the buttermilk are completely separated. This will take anywhere between six and 12 minutes, depending on whether you use flat-blade or whisk beaters (the latter requires a longer mixing time).
- Pour resulting mixture into a strainer over a large bowl. Drain the buttermilk and rinse the solids in the strainer under cold water in the sink until all the buttermilk is washed out. Mix in salt or any other seasonings you like. Your butter will keep in a container in the refrigerator for a few weeks.