I make cultured butter.
The first time I made butter was an accident. Like many first time butter makers, I got distracted while whipping cream. Viola! Butter. I simply scooped it out of the mixing bowl and dried it. I think I blotted it dry with paper towels. Later, I used that butter for a chocolate French Buttercream.
Now here is a bit of coolness.
When I pulled the left over buttercream from the fridge, I didn’t let it come to room temperature before trying to whip it. The result was a whipped chocolate butter like product. It was fantastic on toast. Many times I’ve thought about recreating that happy accident. But I find it hard to convince myself to make butter to use in a buttercream to rewhip into a butter.
It could become an infinite loop. That could create some sanity issues.
The point is – I was hooked. Butter is good. Cultured butter is better. It has a more developed flavor. You can taste the ingredients. Nowadays I experiment with difference cultures, creams and milks.
I divide my butter. I salt some for table use. I usually salt with fleur de sel, sel gris, truffle salt, or a flaked sea salt. Most is left unsalted for baking and cooking. I make large amounts and freeze. As much as I love making butter, it isn’t a task I’d like to see pop up weekly. At the end of summer I will make make large amounts of herbed butters and freeze them in easy to grab blocks.
The other day, Ed was eating a slice of bread and butter. My butter. My cultured butter. I was wondering how my cultured butter stacks up against other…people. Ed commented that most people would not taste all the little particulars in cultured butter.
“Yep. That is butter,” is what he felt they’d say. And the thought that my beautiful butter would roll off the tongue and fail to get a wow was one of those defining moments when deep down a voice screams, “Get Over Yourself”.
Can’t listen to those voices.
Fact is there are people out there who do care. People who would notice the work, the quality, the treat that is cultured butter. Now where do I find them? Is there a butter whisperer out there? A palate that knows butter and can appreciate the grains of flaked sea salt?
I plan to buy some decent butter molds. Right now, I package my butter in a ramekin for table use and (depending on my plans) one pound or eight ounce blocks. I sell blocks of butter to my company. I also make a few two ounce samples. Because, I never know when I’m going to be in a conversation with someone and they’ll be going on about the secrets to wealth, happiness, world peace or trying to share the backyard cure for cancer.
I’ll interject. “I make cultured butter.”
That person would stop spouting all kinds of important life altering blah blah. Their face will register,”amazement!” Their mouth will form the words, “I wish I could taste some.”
That my friends is when I pull a two ounce sample of cultured butter from my pocket.
“Oh, I have a sample right here.”
I’ll ignore the scratchy voice gurgling deep inside and hacking up the words, “Seriously. Get. Over. Yourself.”
I might even stab that voice in the eye….with a butter knife.
Makes a little over a Pound
1 quart pasteurized heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon powdered mesophilic starter culture
Note: some people use @ 1/4 cup cultured yogurt or other cultures.
Slowly bring the cream to 68 degrees F. Turn off heat.
Sprinkle starter over the cream and let it sit for 5 minutes. Whisk the starter into the cream.
Cover and let the cream sit for 12 hours at room temp. and another 12 hours in the refrigerator.
Allow the cream to come to about 55 degrees before churning.
Churn, Baby, Churn
(Can be done in a stand mixer, food processor, shaking a jar etc.)
Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, begin whipping. The cream will turn stiff and yellowish and you’ll think, “huh”. Keep going. Next it will look grainy with bits of butter. Watch for liquid. That is butter separating from the buttermilk. Stop when you hear a slight splash sound.
Strain the buttermilk into a container for another use.
Using a bowl, strainer, spoon and your hands, wash the butter in cold water. I sort of knead it, push on it, move it from the bowl to the strainer, pour out the cloudy water, etc. to get as much butter milk out as possible. You want to do this until the water is pretty clear. For increased shelf life, you want as much buttermilk out of the product as possible.
Once you are done washing the butter, salt the butter (if desired) and roll or mold.
Refrigerate until firm.