It’s a good day when you get to spend most of it in your PJ pants – until you have to upgrade to yoga pants to go pick up the kid from school, anyway – and in the middle of it someone drops by with a few pastries and a couple loaves of still-warm bread.
I didn’t have any butter. But – tragedy averted: I had about a cup of cream. Making butter really isn’t a biggie, and yet although it’s been on my radar since we took turns shaking up that little container of whipping cream in elementary school, passing it from kid to kid until it transformed into butter (that really could be an analogy for a lot of things, couldn’t it?) I rarely do it myself. If I’m out of butter, I run to the corner store, or send Mike, or put it on the shopping list. I don’t think to make it, but it couldn’t be easier. Or better. (Then again, I rarely have heavy cream in the fridge either. Maybe I’ll start to? Heavy cream meaning 35% whipping cream, the heaviest commonly available.)
It would be worth getting into the habit of making butter for my own use (apart from baking, I mean – I’ll share it with the boys) – after all, if I’m going to eat butter, it may as well be the good stuff. Think homemade chocolate chip cookies vs the bagged kind.
Have you seen the cost of high-end butter? To buy a pint of cream and make your own is a steal.
As I was saying, it’s no biggie – I was working in the kitchen anyway, and so poured the cream into the bowl of the stand mixer, covered the top with plastic wrap (it gets splattery) and turned it on. That’s about it. It’ll churn away, first turning into whipped cream, then something stiffer than whipped cream, and then suddenly you’ll hear it get wet and splashy as it separates into butter and thin buttermilk. (This is why I like using plastic wrap rather than a tea towel – not only can you seal the edges, you can see through it to see how the cream is changing, and hear when the butter separates from the buttermilk and splashes on the plastic film.) That’s it.
You’ll wind up with pure butter that looks like a wad of moulding clay – simply pull it out and put it in a crock, or dish, or jar. It will be a perfect spreading texture. Yes, that’s glittery purple nail polish.
You could add salt to it of course, before or after. Or try spreading your bread with sweet butter and sprinkling it with a pinch of coarse salt. Heaven. Especially when it’s -11 outside and you’re still in your PJ pants.