Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Back to 2nd Grade; Butter!

Hey look,  I made butter! I had some leftover heavy whipping cream that needed to go away, so I figured, why not make some fresh butter to go with my...erm...lovely...Italian bread? I was about to bust out the tupperware to make it girl scout camp style (put some whipping cream in tupperware, and shake it for what feels like five years, for anyone who didn't go to girl scout camp) but then I realized, I'm a big kid now, I can use the mixer! (Ooh! Aah!)

The concept is simple enough, put heavy whipping cream in the mixer and mix it. A lot. First the cream gets all bubbly, where if you turn the mixer off, the bubbles will go away. Then it turns into whipped cream. You can stop here and add some sugar and maybe some vanilla if you want, but whipped cream doesn't go so well with bread. Anyway, keep mixing, and it becomes…stiff whipped cream. I don't know if there's a technical term for it, but it reaches stiff peaks. That's when you pull the beaters out, and stiff peaks are left behind. They were pretty cleaver in naming these things, I know. Keep mixing, and mixing, and mixing, just until you're starting to think maybe you did something wrong, and then BAM! Butter! You'll have a lovely blob of butter with a puddle of buttermilk under it. Now is when you should probably turn off the mixer, because the buttermilk will splash everywhere if you don't pay attention.

We have butter, we're done, right? Well, sort of. If it were really that easy, you wouldn't have to read about it on my blog. You can go ahead and eat it now, have at it, but if you plan on storing it for more than a couple days, you'll need to rinse it. Weird, but it's exactly what it sounds like. Some of the buttermilk is still stuck in the butter, and if it stays in there, it will go bad fairly quickly and ruin the butter, which will last a while on it's own. Pour some freezing cold water, like, almost frozen, with a few ice cubes in it kind of cold, over your butter, and work it in. It has to be super cold, because anything else, combined with the heat from your hands, will melt the butter and then you'll have a gross mess. So poke your butter for a while, and pour out the milky water. Keep rinsing until the water comes out clear.

So NOW are we done?! Well, sort of. Again. Now is when you salt your butter if you want to. Don't try and get clever and salt the cream before you whip it. The salt is water-soluble, and the point of making butter is to separate out the water, so you'll end up with unsalted butter, and salty buttermilk. Not like I know this from experience or anything.

Ok, NOW we're done! Not rocket science, but fun! You can also go old-school and mix it in tupperware to feel like a kid again, the process is still the same, it's just less exciting because you can't watch it churn. And the sore arm is slightly not exciting too. But there you go, easy, cheap, and tastes super fresh on homemade bread! 

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