February 23, 2012
Back when I was in third grade, our teacher had us make homemade butter. She gave us each a small jar of cream that we had to shake with vigor until the contents finally separated into butter and buttermilk. As you can imagine, the task was tedious for our impatient little arms, but our teacher went around the class and helped until every one of us had achieved butter status.
I remember being super excited about making the butter, and learning how it was done. And I was even more excited because our teacher let us take our jars home with us to taste. In hindsight, she probably should have mentioned that a little salt goes a long way, but I was still quite proud of my homemade butter.
So last week, being in somewhat of an experimental mood, I decided to whip up another batch of homemade butter. This time, instead of shaking the cream in a jar (still tedious!), I brought out my stand mixer with the wire whip attachment. Once the heavy whipping cream had separated, I poured the buttermilk out into a separate jar to which I added a glug of cultured buttermilk that we already had in the refrigerator. After a day or two, I used it to make homemade ranch dressing.
As for the butter, I rinsed it in cold water to squeeze out every last bit of the buttermilk, and divided it into two equal portions. In the first portion, I added a pinch of salt and raspberry jam. To the second portion, I added honey, blueberries, and salt - all to taste. Then I pressed the butter into two small glass containers, which I covered and stored in the refrigerator.
I've been spreading this stuff over toast all week for breakfast, and it's really, really good! It's buttery, of course, with a slightly sweet and fruity taste that's perfect. I'm particularly fond of the butter and honey mixture. It'd be delicious over waffles and pancakes, or spread over biscuits.
Next time I make homemade butter (and there will be a next time), I'll mix one half of it with sweet ingredients, like fruit preserves or honey. For the other half, I'd like to try a concoction of herbs and garlic; something that would taste delicious melted over fish or eggs.