Making butter is easier than scrubbing off the mental image associated with it. There is no need for a squeaky, wooden churn, swinging hips or mooing cows on the pasture. (In my head a Bollywood film zooms in: glaringly dressed ladies cavorting round a meadow with high pitch voices and the Swiss Alps on the background :-). It is enough to take a hike to a local supermarket, reach a couple of boxes of whip cream, pay and find your way back home. This is the most difficult part.
If you are a butter eater, you don’t have to worry about storing it. Make enough for a few days, then do it again. This way you will always have fresh butter at hand. It tastes better than commercially produced.
The downside of making butter from scratch is the price. Cream is more expensive than readymade butter, at least in Finland. In fact, during the past year, the price of butter has hit the ground.
It is a psychological awakening to see cream turning into butter. First it is simply fun. More you do it, more you realize butter is pure fat. It becomes concrete. It triggers to evaluate what is a reasonable amount to be consumed. In the defence of butter, pure fat is better than impure. It excludes almost all margarines and shortenings from the diet. It is another subject to be debated how well cows are taken care of, what they are fed and what the quality of milk they produce is.
One problem with buying everything ready from the shop is that we are never faced with the origin or the process that led to the product. I dare to say most people don’t know what they are eating. It is a detail of reality we have lost contact with. I have a hard time to believe it is a good thing.
A lovely side product of butter churning is buttermilk. It is creamy milk that tastes wonderful when cold. A friend of mine from Flickr described recently that she used to jazz it up in her childhood with a pinch of salt, crushed ginger and few slices of fresh green chillies. Sounds interesting!
Buttermilk can be utilized in baking and cooking as well.
HOW TO MAKE BUTTER
1.5 l whip cream yields about 5-6 dl butter.
Place cream in a clean and dry vessel. Let it become whipped cream with an electrical mixer. Keep mixing until it granulates. Pour out the liquid (buttermilk). Squeeze the butter with a cold spatula to extract more buttermilk.
When it looks like you can’t get more liquid out, add cold water and squeeze it some more. It is an excellent moment to stick your hands in, provided you can tolerate cold water. If feels great to knead butter! Repeat until the water is clean. Pour it out and, ahoy, you have fresh butter!
Pack in an airtight container and refrigerate.
Remember, you can make herb butter by adding herbs; salty butter by adding salt; sweets by adding sugar and other heart-warming ingredients! And, of course, you can make ghee by simmering it for a good while.