DIY Butter

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.


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35 comments on “DIY Butter

  1. Michelle
    January 11, 2012 at 11:23 pm

    Perfect timing! I was just thinking today I might have to start making my own butter soon when I saw the price at the store jumped up to $6.99!

  2. Fareen
    January 11, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Home made butter on home made bread – heaven!

  3. Beverley M
    January 12, 2012 at 1:26 am

    wow, that’s pretty simple! what % cream? (is it whipping cream or something else?)

    and the buttermilk that’s left behind, is it the same thing you’d buy in a milk carton? so you could use it in buttermilk-needing recipes?

  4. Jan @ Family Bites
    January 12, 2012 at 5:15 am

    Brilliant minds think alike! We make butter too, and sometimes even flavor it with honey or roasted garlic or herbs. You’re inspiring me to work in my pj’s today!

  5. Jennifer Jo
    January 12, 2012 at 5:28 am

    The blender also works well—no splattering after the initial start-up.

    Save the liquid and let it sit at room temp for a couple days till thick like yogurt. Voila, buttermilk!

  6. natalie - ga
    January 12, 2012 at 6:04 am

    My daughter and I did this over Christmas – (from your earlier post – so yummy. However (even tho I eat REALLY healthy) my cholesterol is high! Dr. says: “No butter for you!” BUT, if something needs to clog my arteries, I would say this would be much more elegant then say, french fries!

  7. Lana
    January 12, 2012 at 7:42 am

    The purple nail polish is the perfect touch!
    My kids always want to make homemade butter, so I think this might have to be done this weekend.
    (and where does Michelle live that butter costs 6.99! WOW.)

  8. Mom with Twins
    January 12, 2012 at 8:12 am

    I was wondering about the liquid left over. Do you use it? I may try and do what Jennifer Jo says to get it to turn into buttermilk!

    • JulieVR
      January 12, 2012 at 8:27 am

      Yes, sorry, technically it is buttermilk, but far thinner (looks like skim) compared to what we’re used to from the store. Add it to pancake or muffin batter!

  9. Monica I.
    January 12, 2012 at 8:13 am

    Valentines is coming Mike! Mine came with this splash guard beauty: I also bought a scraper beater from Sears!

    Heavy cream… we don’t seem to have double cream around here, so the heaviest is whipping cream? I buy local organic butter from Acme Meat Market in Edmonton-the taste is so much better. I suspect it was 6-7 $ (I also bought some smoked piggy skin for soups & cabbage rolls too, so I’m not sure)

    • JulieVR
      January 12, 2012 at 8:26 am

      Nice splash guard! And I used the scraper paddle beater too! Although it took a bit longer than it would have with the wire whisk beater. No matter!

  10. Cathie Whitehead
    January 12, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Looks very interesting, so should I use the wire whisk attachment? Approximately how long did it take from start to finish? What speed should the mixer be on?

  11. Teri
    January 12, 2012 at 9:21 am

    Looks delicious, though with our prices here I think that I wouldn’t gain anything in cost but only in flavor. A pint of heavy whipping cream costs about the same as a pound of butter here.

    BTW, I have to eat low carb due to being hypothyroid and I eat butter all the time – and my cholestrol is textbook perfect. It’s not the cream/butter, it’s what you eat with it.

  12. Jenn
    January 12, 2012 at 11:32 am

    You could also use a mason jar and shake the heck out of it. We did this with my girls over the christmas holidays. Not the easiest way, but a fun way for kids. :)

  13. Erica B.
    January 12, 2012 at 1:48 pm

    $6.99/lb? ouch! Next time I’m shopping I’ll have to compare prices of whipping cream vs butter. I think I pay $5.79 for a pound of unsalted in sticks and around $5.00 for a pound brick-mostly shopping at Superstore/No Frills here in Central AB. I know I’ve seen butter at places like Sobeys and Safeway (places with baggers and customer loyalty programs heh) for more about $6.29 I think…but I won’t buy it at that price.

  14. Vicki
    January 12, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    You’re killin’ me….now all I want it French bread and butter and that most certainly isn’t part of my new year resolution.

  15. Laurie from Burnaby
    January 12, 2012 at 3:15 pm

    OOO …. yum yum yum :)
    and on homemade bread, too :)

  16. Jocelyn Colquhoun
    January 12, 2012 at 8:39 pm

    Hi Julie, Day 5 without going to the grocery store. Last night inspired by Jamie Olivers “Food Escapes” I routed around for what I had to make a Beef Tangine. My freezer is full and I found a chunk of very good roast beef. In my cupboard I had a mixed bad of dried fruit and I had onions and a sweet potato. With a can of diced tomatoes and lots of different spices I made a great meal. When my daughter ate it (she’s 16) she said “oh… what’s that?? (it was dried prunes) I’m not eating that. Mom, why do you have to be such a good cook? Why can’t you be an ordinary cook like everyone else’s Mom?!” I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean it as a compliment. But I managed to use up more stuff from the cupboard. Tonight I b-b-qued some pork chops from freezer and made a salad. Might have to go to Safeway in the next couple days. Cheers Jocelyn

  17. Sarah Galvin (All Our Fingers in the Pie)
    January 12, 2012 at 8:40 pm

    I have yet to try this. I listen to stories from my father about home-churned butter. I must try this.

  18. Vivian
    January 12, 2012 at 10:33 pm

    I have done the fresh homemade butter thing and to my recollection, it works out to about 1/4 butter for the total volume of cream. That should be taken into consideration when comparing prices. Yes, the final product is delectably superior, but I don’t think it is a bargain. Still, mix that up with some fresh garlic and herbs (and cream cheese for copycat Boursin) and Woo-Hoo! Hard to resist.

  19. Vivian
    January 13, 2012 at 10:47 am

    Sorry, my math needs to be adjusted (see above). I actually MADE butter this morning with 1 L whipping cream and got just a tad under TWO cups of it and slightly over 2 cups of buttermilk. So, yes, I guess it is quite a bit less than store prices…and for a superior product. Oh, and trust Julie about the plastic wrap over your stand mixer!

  20. Denese
    January 13, 2012 at 11:52 am

    If one is using 35% butterfat cream , then one should end up with approximately 350 ml of butter from one liter, right?

  21. tara
    January 13, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    you’re the best. for real. every time I read your posts I smile. here’s to homemade butter!

  22. Sandy
    January 13, 2012 at 11:37 pm

    Tried this tonight and it turned out great! Just used up some whipping cream that was in the fridge, so it didn’t go to waste (are you proud of me, Julie?). Can’t wait to try it on fresh muffins in the morning.

  23. Julie
    January 15, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    Thanks for the inspiration, made butter and turned out great. I added a step to the end and worked the ball of butter in an ice bath to get off all the excess fluid ( which lengthens the life of the butter ), added salt for my first time, it was definitely a nice treat, will do again.

  24. web designing
    January 16, 2012 at 3:41 am

    good post really good thanks 4 sharing

  25. Heather
    January 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

    I’ve never paid more than $3.99 or slightly over $4.00 for regular salted pound of butter at either Safeway, Sobeys, Superstore or Walmart etc. Where are people buying $5-6 butter? I live in Edmonton.

  26. Ashley
    January 19, 2012 at 1:40 pm

    Ooo I am totally doing this the next time I buy heavy cream.

  27. Monica I.
    January 25, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    I did it! Took the little whip cream, and set the monster to it. Nice work this stand mixer. Set the mixer on 6 and let it spin – didn’t take long at all.

    Got about a fist sized (OK, MY wee fist) hunk of butter from 250mL container of whipping cream, and a bit o’ moo leftover for the pancakes this weekend.

    Although I did end up using plastic wrap – it DID find a way to splash out of the uncovered spots of the splatter guard. And I found a small problem for this application using the splatter guard – the flex beater gets the liquid to climb the sides of the bowl, and then it gets trapped under the edge of the guard all around the bowl, so I had to scrape it down anyway.

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