Make Your Own…Butter!

Okay. I know there’s a less than zero chance that anyone who reads this blog is ever going to make their own butter. I also already know that you think I’m totally crazy for doing it, too, so please don’t feel that you have to comment on that :-)  Thank you very much.  It was just one of those things I’d never done and I wanted to see if I could do it. You understand, right? And let me tell you something…you have never, ever tasted butter that tastes like this! Oh. My. Gracious. Goodness.  It’s so much sweeter, so much butterier than any butter I’ve ever had. And it only took about ten minutes from start to finish. So, some weekend when you have nothing else to do, buy a quart of heavy cream and make yourself some real, true butter.

Here’s what you need:

1 to 1 ½ quarts heavy cream
1 tblsp salt (optional)
4-6 drops yellow food coloring (optional)

butter_cream

You need cream that is at least 30% butterfat, or heavy whipping cream. I couldn’t actually find the percentage of butterfat on any of the cream at my grocery store. Ripen the cream by letting it stand at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. It will thicken and become mildly sour. This helps to give the butter a mild, good taste. Cool cream again in refrigerator for about an hour.

butter_creaminbowl

Pour cream into large electric mixer bowl. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring, if desired. I used six drops and that was too much. Probably four would have been just right.

butter_earlywhipping

Beat at high speed until flecks of butter begin to form. This will start to happen when it has past the “whipped cream” stage. Just keep watching and you’ll see it start to separate.  Turn to low speed until butter separates from milk. Watch to keep the spattering to a minimum. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as the cream whips.

butter_separated

You’ll definitely know when it separates. All the butter will clump together and mass around the beaters.

butter_strainer

When that has happened, then strain off the buttermilk. The buttermilk is what’s left when the butter separates out from the cream. Don’t throw that away, though! It’s great for making biscuits or pancakes, or anything that uses buttermilk.

butter_washing

Now, “wash” the butter either by hand under cold, running water or in the mixer. If washing by hand, gather the butter into a mass in your hands and “knead” it gently under running water until the water runs clear.  You really have to get out all of the buttermilk that was caught in the butter. It will make your butter go bad much more quickly if you don’t. If using the mixer, place the butter back in the bowl and add cold water, about as much as there was buttermilk. Let beater run at lowest speed. Pour off water; repeat. Add a scant tablespoon of salt. Let beater mix it into butter. Remove beaters, scrape off butter with spatula and work out any remaining water with a spatula by pressing butter against side of bowl. Be sure to work out all of the water.

butter_finished1

Mold butter in a butter press or empty it into a container with a tightly fitting lid.  I put mine in a vintage 1950’s refrigerator box. I just somehow felt that the most appropriate container I had for storing homemade butter!  The liquid in the jar is the buttermilk I strained out earlier.

Store in refrigerator. One quart cream makes about 1 pound butter, although it depends on how heavy the cream is.

Enjoy!

Make Your Own…Butter!
 
Cook time
 
Use heavy cream to make your own butter at home. Tastes so much better than store bought butter!
Ingredients
  • 1 to 1 ½ quarts heavy cream
  • 1 tblsp salt (optional)
  • 4-6 drops yellow food coloring (optional)
Instructions
  1. Ripen the cream by letting it stand at room temperature for 4 to 6 hours. It will thicken and become mildly sour. This helps to give the butter a mild, good taste. Cool cream again in refrigerator for about an hour.
  2. Pour cream into large electric mixer bowl. Add a few drops of yellow food coloring, if desired. Beat at high speed until flecks of butter begin ro form. Then turn to low speed until butter separates from milk. Watch to keep the spattering to a minimum. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula as the cream whips.
  3. Pour off buttermilk.
  4. Now, “wash” the butter either by hand under cold, running water or in the mixer. If washing by hand, gather the butter into a mass in your hands and “knead” it gently under running water until the water runs clear. If using the mixer, place the butter back in the bowl and add cold water, about as much as there was buttermilk. Let beater run at lowest speed. Pour off water; repeat.
  5. Add a scant tablespoon of salt. Let beater mix it into butter. Remove beaters, scrape off butter with spatula and work out any remaining water with a spatula by pressing butter against side of bowl. Be sure to work out all of the water.
  6. Mold butter in a butter press or empty it into a container with a tightly fitting lid. Store in refrigerator. One quarter cream makes about 1 pound butter, although it depends on how heavy the cream is.
Notes
All text and photographs on Never Enough Thyme are copyright protected. Please do not use any material from this site without obtaining prior permission. If you'd like to post this recipe on your site, please create your own original photographs and either re-write the recipe in your own words or link to this post.
Never miss a recipe!
Subscribe now to receive new posts by email.

Enter your email address below to get each new post via email. We promise we'll never send spam or give your email address to anyone else. Really.

Comments

  1. says

    My husband and I used to make our butter, but the harder way. He worked at a cheese factory back in the day when we were homeschooling our children. One of their homework assignments was making butter…shaking it up! LOL Takes a lot longer than mixing it, but after a day of passing the jar on to each other, they made butter!
    We’re going to make crab butter this summer with the grand children!
    Good blog! Thanks for bringing back some fond memories!
    I’ll be buzzing you!

  2. curiousdomestic says

    My sisters both make their own butter, but I haven’t tried it yet. Thanks for explaining how it’s done. 8)

  3. says

    I must say that is a very unique idea. I like to make my own sauces and mayos because I can flavor them the way I want. I really taught myself, I guess, how to make different sauces, such a cocktail, and tartar. I learned how to make mayo watching Emeril. I really like making marinades for steaks and chicken the best. I like to make dressings, as well, such as vinagrettes.

  4. Neena says

    Have not seem butter made since I was a child. Did not remember that you had to wash it. This is a great project to entertain grandchildren when they visit.
    When I was a little girl my grandmother and I made butter with an old hand cranked churn. This brings back a lot of memories.

  5. DMc says

    You technically shouldn’t have to add any food coloring, unless you are making non-milk based spreads. Cream naturally contains beta-carotene and the churning or beating process in butter making breaks open the fat globules which release the beta-carotene and causes the pale yellow color natural to butter.
    Without adding food coloring you will know you have “beat” the cream long enough when it generates the pale yellow color.

    • says

      Give it a shot, Colleen. If you mess up it’s only a couple pints of cream. Really, you can hardly mess it up and you won’t believe the difference in the taste. Be sure to buy the best cream you can get your hands on for it.

  6. says

    I happen to have two and a half jars of raw milk in my fridge waiting for me to scoop off the cream and let three excited children make butter! I was looking online for more information about different ways people culture their cream first and ran across your blog. If you’re enjoying making butter, see if you can find something at http://www.realmilk.com, because fresh raw milk is even yummier than carton cream! The stuff in my fridge was in the cow less than 24 hours ago!

  7. says

    I wouldn’t want to use a manual churn, either, but my 11 year old is desperate for me to get one for her. I am looking for a small used one, but in the meantime, she’ll get to try using her ice cream ball. She’s probably going to bring a pint or so of cream to school, then she and her friends can toss it around for 20 minutes until they have butter!

  8. Joe bLow says

    I made ur butter just as u instructed. Excellent outcome. I can taste the outcome. Thanks a million. Always wanted to do this, thanks 2 u I now kno how. Cheers

  9. John says

    I’m not sure how many people have read this post, but if it’s less than 100 then I just blew the percentage. I enjoy making butter, but never thought of using the kitchenaid. Instead, a mason jar was always the tool of choice.

  10. Phil says

    Homemade butter takes a bit of work but is totally worth it. Made as a child with cream from our own cows. Have tried it again recently when I found a raw milk dairy locally

  11. says

    Went to make an Applefest Apple Pumpkin Cake (www.food.com) for our Lifespring’s meeting tonight and was out of butter, but had 2 pints of heavy cream in the (carton) fridge so Iwent to ask .com. “How much cream to make a pound of butter.” and here I am, what a nice idea! Thanks for your help! I’v always wanted to try making butter also.I can rember my grandmother churning it when I was a child, the large pans of bread dough also, Hot bread and butter, yummmmm. I rember my grandmother freezing the blocks of butter. Any idea how long it will keep in the freezer and what best to store it in? Freezer paper? Why does the butter need to cure before churning? Huggs and Butter, Bernadette

    • says

      Bernadette, I don’t know exactly, but I would expect to be able to freeze it for up to six weeks. And the “curing” part is just to allow cream to develop a very slight tangy flavor.

  12. Janna says

    Just wanted to let you know, I’m totally going to go out and do this! I found this article researching the functions butter serves in baking because I want to learn to make my own recipes from scratch, but you’ve inspired me to make my own butter from scratch too! Thank you!

  13. Amber says

    I enjoyed your article on making butter. We have our own cow, so we have 3-4 gallons of fresh Jersey milk every day. I love making butter, it’s so fun to get this awesome result from throwing some cold cream in a mixer! I make some of the most awesome buttermilk biscuits and using the fresh buttermilk and fresh butter makes them even better!
    Keep at it! It’s so much better for you and the vitamins in butter help stop a huge array of diseases and health problems. I wish people would stop giving butter such a bad name, it’s not what they make it out to be! Have fun!~

  14. autum says

    After watching a Youtube video on how to make butter, it inspired me to make my own due to the simple process that you don’t need any special tool besides a jar with lid, some cream, and some shaking. I poured the cream into 3 separate ziploc containers so my two kids can do their own shaking. My son ended up dropping his container and it broke, but my daughter’s and mine made it and everyone agreed that the butter was way better tasting than store bought.

  15. Marty says

    Lana, thanks for much for not only the instructions, but the pictures. I make cheese and have annoto coloring (all natural) for making my cheddar yellow. I’ll put a drop into my butter when I make it. ….wish I had a cow!

  16. Holly says

    Thanks for the easy instructions and pictures. Today was the first time of making homemade butter. So worth it. I’m glad you also posted the butter could be rinsed in the mixer as well. I was having a hard time rinsing under running water. I’m also going to try your strawberry jam recipe too. I’m sure the pair will be unbelievable together.

  17. says

    I’m gonna try this! Love your step by step pictures! We love making things with healthier options like organic when we can. You could always leave out the food coloring if you wanted to avoid food dyes. Thanks for posting this, I think there is way more that a 0% chance people are going to make their own butter!

  18. Pat says

    I actually made my own butter on a regular basis. I kept goats, at one point I had 7, but only 6 girls.
    Goat’s milk is a bit of a challenge as it is naturally homogenized. It takes some time for the cream to separate, a few days usually. The most important thing when working with dairy, is being impeccably clean. Raw milk is better than pasteurized as it carries good bacteria, which develops a better flavor in whatever you are making.

    While it is imperative to work out all the water, it’s also important not to ‘stretch’ the butter. Try to just press it against the side of a bowl, wood is best, with a wooden spoon or spatula. Too much smearing will make your butter greasy.

  19. Kathy smith says

    Why would you use food coloring if you are using fresh raw milk it has it’s own yellow coloring naturally.

    • says

      I used and showed in the photos commercial heavy cream purchased from the grocery store. I didn’t even mention “fresh raw milk” and I specifically said that the food coloring was optional.

  20. says

    At the county fair next week I’ll demonstrate churning butter and will use the ceramic churn and butter press given me by Aunt Bonnie. Her mother gave those items to her when she left home to marry at age 18 in the early 1900’s. I learned how to churn 50+ years ago and still enjoy it. For the fair, I’ll use pasteurize cream from Jersey cows…yes it DOES make a huge difference!. For personal use I use raw milk that I get from a farmer up the valley. I also use sea salt and think it adds a great deal of flavor and would never. ever. consider using food coloring. Again, if you’re using rich milk fat cream, there’s no need to use food coloring.

  21. Anna Sellers says

    Thank you so much for sharing, your not at all crazy! Here lately I’ve been reading more and more about how bad margarine is (I usually buy that over butter) and have been thinking about making my own butter but didn’t know where to start except with the heavy cream :) I’m only 25 and nobody in my family could help me out, so thank you!!

  22. lanaann says

    Thanks, jenn. I really couldn’t believe how easy it was to make and how much better it tastes than store bought!

  23. lanaann says

    Hi Trina. It does seem unique to us today, but hasn’t been all that many years since this was the typically way you got butter! Especially for those living on farms. They had to first milk the cow, then cool the milk and let the cream “rise” to the top and skim it off before they could even start to churn the butter. They used a manual churn, of course, and it took from 30 to 45 minutes of constant, vigorous churning for the butter to separate. Aren’t we lucky to have the conveniences we have today?!?

  24. lanaann says

    I was surprised at how easy it was to do with a mixer. I wouldn’t want to churn by hand, though :-) I’m glad I know how to do it now.

Trackbacks

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *