Homemade Butter

Well, Ruby has finally bonded with us.  She must have had a bad experience somewhere along the line before she got to us.  Her last owners said that she wasn’t very social and didn’t want her head or neck touched.  She was never violent about it, but for the first week she would throw her head at you if you tried to pet her.  I’ve been giving her a few pats here and there while we milk her and respecting when she doesn’t want to be touched.  Yesterday we had a break through.  I was in the kitchen and I could hear her moo-ing.  When I went to the door, there she was at the gate looking at me.  I went out and she wanted me to pet her!  It was really nice.  I stood at the gate and pet her head and neck while she ran her nose all over my face and hair getting a good smell of me.  Then she started licking my arm.  I’m really happy she’s settled in so well… of course this means that I have one more chore during the day…. pet the cow when she calls!!

I thought today I’d talk about how to make butter.  You can do this with good quality cream from the store, or you can do it with raw milk that has set (in the fridge) a day or so.  It takes that long for the cream to separate and rise to the top if you are separating the cream by hand.

I like to take the cream off the top and then use the milk for cheese.  I don’t have any set amount of cream I need before I’ll make butter, just whatever I get.  I’ve found that our Kitchen-aid mixer works really well.  I add the cream, put on the paddle attachment and turn it on about 4.  You really just need to start with whatever setting isn’t throwing cream all over your counter!  This should take about 15-20 minutes start to finish.  It will start to look like whipped cream.

Just starting to whip....

At this point, you can increase the speed to 6 or so usually.  Keep going.  As you continue, the whipped mass will start to shrink down and sort of collapse on itself.  It will start to look more and more “wet”.  Then- all of a sudden- it will separate into milk fat (butter) and what looks like skim milk (real buttermilk).

Milk Solids and Buttermilk

You want to knead the butter together until it holds a shape and then drain off the buttermilk.  Continue to knead the butter until all to buttermilk is out…. if any is left in, your butter will go rancid.  When you think it’s clean, pour in cold water and knead it with the water to give it a final wash.  Rinse out the water and add a little salt here if you’re making salted butter.  This is also when you would add herbs or honey to make specialty butter.

Draining the Buttermilk.

Squeezing out the Buttermilk

Jar up the buttermilk and save it to make buttermilk pancakes, biscuits, coffee cake…. the list goes on and on.  Now form your butter into whatever shape you like, wrap it in waxed paper and put it in the fridge or freezer.

Our butter right now is almost white.  There’s not a lot of grass for Ruby to eat, so she’s been eating hay instead.  In the summer when she’s able to get grass this butter will be dark yellow and will be even more nutritious than the butter we’re making now!!

Have you ever had fresh made butter?  Ever made herbal or honey butter?


About Dawn Combs @ Mockingbird Meadows

I am a stay at home mom, homesteader and practicing herbalist who owns and operates an herbal health farm. I raise bees and medicinal herbs and am passionate about teaching others how to use herbs for health in their everyday lives.
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