Homemade Butter

Butter.  Just the word makes me think of steaming hot homemade bread, waffles on a Saturday morning and corn on the cob on a summer night.  I don't know why it took me so long to attempt making this luscious dairy product, but I finally took the time and boy was it easy.

Saturday, armed with Ashley English's book "Home Dairy" from her Homemade Living series and 3 quarts of a rich flavorful cream from a local dairy {Battenkill Valley Creamery}, I was determined to give it a try.

I don't have a dairy thermometer, so the first step of bringing the cream to 72 degrees F was accomplished by simply leaving it out for a few hours.  I'm not sure what temperature it actually was when I started, but it seemed to be fine.

I placed 1 quart of cream in the bowl of my food processor {you can also use a stand mixer} and turned it on.  Ashley writes that it takes between 6 and 9 minutes to go from cream to butter.  My food processor took 3 1/2 minutes.  I'm not sure if it's the food processor or the temperature of my cream that sped it up.

The photo above left is what a successful bowl of butter separated from the buttermilk looks like.  Next I strained off the buttermilk {saved for baking}.

After straining I rinsed the butter under cold water until the water ran clear.  The book states this takes several times of filling up the bowl and emptying.  I found this took quite a few times before it ran clear.  I followed the book exactly for my first batch, but on the second and third I began gathering {kneading} the butter while I rinsed and found this to work out very well.  It also seemed to cut out some of the water in the next step {below}.  At this stage, after the final rinse, salt is stirred in with a metal spoon if desired.

After the rinsing and adding salt, it's time to press out any remaining liquid from the butter.  The book suggests a pastry scraper or potato masher.  I don't have a pastry scraper so I tried the potato masher and did not like that, so I found an indoor grill cleaner that worked out very well.  It's small enough to maneuver and flexible for easy pressing.

I also found that putting a flexible cutting mat inside a cookie sheet caught any water that was there.  A paper towel was helpful for dabbing the board and the butter to soak up water.

Voila!  In about 15 minutes {not including the time it takes for the cream to come to temp.} you have homemade butter!  We immediately enjoyed some slathered on a piece of homemade Oatmeal and Honey Bread.

Each quart made about 1 1/2 cups of butter.  I use a butter crock on my counter so I chose to shape mine into rectangles and wrap in waxed paper to store in the refrigerator until time to use.  The extra I wrapped in waxed paper and then put into a freezer bag to store in the freezer.

A quick word about the buttermilk that you're left with.  This is not cultured buttermilk and, therefore, won't have the acidity and/or the tang.  If you choose to use it in recipes it should be used in place of milk, not cultured buttermilk.  I used some this weekend in waffles and replaced the baking soda {activated by the acidity in cultured buttermilk} with baking powder {activated without the acidity}.

I really enjoy all of Ashley's books in this series and can't wait to try more of her recipes and techniques.

I'm on to cultured butter next!


  1. Wasn't that fun. My kids and I always made home made butter for Thanksgiving. So yummy!!!

  2. Ah, should have checked your blog before I sent off the email asking questions. How exciting! And how awesome you have a local dairy to get cream from. We don't have much around here to choose from unless I want to drive an hour or more (and even then I'm not sure they sell to the public). It looks wonderful!

  3. I was gifted a stick of homemade butter a few months ago, and oh my, it's divine!!

  4. That butter is beautiful! We eat lots of butter in our home. I'm not sure I could keep up with the demand. :) But, I should at least give this a try. I think my girls would love it.

    Your porch is lovely, too!

  5. Nothing is better than a good slab of butter. I have been searching for somewhere to buy local butter with not much success. Making our own butter looks easy after your post, but now to find the local cream.lol.

  6. OK, that seals it...I'm signing up for fresh milk from a nearby dairy. I've been wanting to make butter for a long time!
    Re: the butter crock - how is that working for you? I tried mine last week and it seemed a little unwieldy and I found it weird to have it sitting in the water. I know it's been done for ages...so I'm willing to keep giving it a try. Any tips?
    I love your blog,

  7. what a neat thing to learn how to make! just read an article on this and how the pioneers used to make butter... and press it in one of those designed antique butter molds to make its apperance "pretty"... that would be fun to try too! :)

  8. I have been thinking about trying butter for a while now but I was putting it off since I was afraid of not doing something right and poisoning myself or something.
    I have Ashley's Chicken book and I love it, so I think I will check out the dairy book now.

    Thank you for posting this and showing just how easy it is!

    PS - you fell ok after eating it, right. :)

  9. Teri - thanks for the post. Yes, I love my butter crock. It seemed odd to me as well, but it really is a wonderful butter keeper. I don't use mine in the summer because we get such high humidity that it goes bad quickly. Also, if I'm going to do a lot of baking and my kitchen will be quite toasty, I move it to my dining room so the butter doesn't melt in it.
    Meredith - you are too funny. Yes, I feel absolutely fine. I froze my leftover butter sticks and we've been enjoying them little by little. No food poisoning.....promise. Elisha - I think butter molds would be absolutely sweet. Great for gifts too - homemade bread and homemade butter. Yum!

  10. Oh, that would be soooo good on some hot homemade bread!

  11. What kind of cream do you use? I cant wait to try this!

  12. Dianne - it is indeed very good on hot bread. :)

    Andrea - heavy cream. It really is easy and so delicious. :)


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