Buttermaking!

15 Apr

You know, if I won one of those megamillions giant lottery things that people were all getting in my way to line up for a few weeks back (in Seattle nonetheless!  Aren’t we above that, Seattle?  What with our soccer and our listen supported radio?),  I’d buy myself a few key things.  Definitely a tricked out Airstream so that Double S and I could take our already luxury camping asses to new extremes.  Perhaps a small bungalow in Kauai.  I’d likely pay top dollar to recreate the t shirt collection from my youth; yeah, I’m talking OP, Panama Jack, Vision, INXS Kick 1988 Tour, and so on.  And, after this month’s Grow It Cook It Can It challenge of making butter, I know I’d also buy grass fed local raw cream and make my own butter on the regular.  Or who am I kidding?  I’d probably have Jeeves make it.  All of this to say the following: grass fed local organic raw cream is expensive, yos!  Take it from the masters of 90s hip hop, the Wu Tang Clan and A Tribe Called Quest.   First, the Wu Tang Clan.  They were right, cash rules everything around me, cream get the money, dolla dolla bills y’all!  Cream does indeed get the money.  And I mean that literally!  Yep, I quoted the Wu Tang song “C.R.E.A.M.”

See what I did there?  Good cream is pricey, but you need it to make excellent butter.   Not no parkay, not no margarine.  Strictly butter baby, strictly butter.  See what I did there?  I finished my lengthy allusion to hip hop music.  I quoted a track aptly titled “Butter” from A Tribe Called Quest’s classic 1991 album The Low End Theory.  Yep, I did it, I gave you a DIY buttermaking overview using only hip songs from 1991-1994.  You’re welcome.

Seriously though, to make butter, first get your hands on some good cream.  You need cash to buy said good cream, Wu tang style.  If you’re just gonna use regular old pasteurized homogenized cream from the store, why bother?  I used some beautiful grass fed Cow’s Cream from Sea Breeze Farm on Vashon Island.  Check out your local farmer’s markets or food co-ops for some local raw goodness.  Well, unless you can’t legally buy raw dairy products.  Check it out here to see if retail sales of raw milk are legal in your state.

Sea Breeze Farm at the U District Farmer's Market

The friendly Sea Breeze vendor at my local farmer’s market told me that their cows have been munching on new spring grass lately so I should get some nice yellow butter. Excellent!

Nice and yellow.

Making butter is easy!    I really put it off because I had to go to the aforementioned farmer’s market to get cream, and it’s not in my nabe, and it rains a lot here.  Then when it’s not raining its too nice to be out driving to farmer’s markets or inside making your KitchenAid get all hot and bothered.  And then there was something else.  Yep,  a little bundle of joy and poop smells came into our lives here at the homestead this week.  A two pound, eight week old, highly adorable black kitten.  Prepare to SQUEAL.

It'd hard to get a clear picture of a two month old kitten. Here's good ol' no face!

Unless she's sleeping whilst cuddled in blankets. Awww.

Oh and how about a pic of her helping in the kitchen with the task at hand?  In your face, bloggers with your pics of your kids holding chickens, hugging goats, turning compost, and helping you stir in the kitchen!

New Kitten (name TBD) checks out the cream before I make butter. If this were a cartoon and I was an old lady, I would have put a dish of it out for her. Then that hapless putty tat Sylvester would have come around and all hell would have broken loose. Did I mention I loved Looney Tunes when I was a kid?

Once you have good cream, then you have some options.  You can put it in your KitchenAid mixer.  You can use a hand held mixer.  You can use a whisk.  You can put the cream in a jar and shake it.  But for me, it was a sunny April Saturday in Seattle.  We don’t get a lot of these, people.  So I put the cream in my KitchenAid, used the whisk-looking attachment, and let ‘er rip.

I split my quart of cream into two batches of butter, two cups of cream per batch.  Mainly because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with the butter, but also because in case I effed everything up and the cream turned into an old shoe or something, I’d still have more cream for a second go round.  Not needed, I made regular old unsalted butter and a compound butter I made by adding sea salt and green garlic.  More about that later.

Blend, whisk, shake a jar all Laura Ingalls style, or just stand there staring at your KitchenAid mixer and contemplating your navel until the cream starts to thicken.  I had my mixer going at medium speed then upped the speed a bit as it started to thicken.  Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed.  First, you’ll think nothing is happening.  Don’t fret my pet!

It thickens up fairly quickly. Put your mixer on medium speed. This is about 3 minutes into the process.

Now we're getting somewhere!

Eventually the cream will thicken into whipped cream, then the curds from the cream/now almost butter will start to separate. Turn you mixer down at that point or buttermilk will splash everywhere.

Eureka! The curds are separating from the buttermilk!

Keep it going until it appears that all the liquid has been removed from the now butter.

Butter, baby!

You can, at this point, put the whole shebang through a strainer, further separating out the buttermilk.  Put the butter back in the mixer if it needs to further thicken or if it appears that more water must be squeezed out.

I then rinsed my finished butter.  I put the clump of new butter into very cold ice water.  Knead the butter a little bit in the water.  Change the water and do it again.  Then do it again until the water is clear after you’ve kneaded the butter.  Apparently this extra step makes the butter last longer in the fridge and not get a sour taste.  Why not, friends?

As I said, I separated the quart of cream into two batches of butter.  The first batch I left completely plain.  I didn’t even add salt, which is kinda unheard of for me.  For my second batch knew I wanted to make a compound butter with herbs that we’d use around the homestead.  We love garlic.  Then, at the farmer’s market on my way out, I spotted green garlic.

Ah, green garlic. Always a harbinger of spring in these parts.  Green garlic is garlic harvested before the cloves are allowed to mature into the big bulbs we all covert.  Oh yeah, big bulbs!  Amirite fellas?!  No?  Ok.  Green garlic’s bulbs are tiny and both the mini bulb and most of the green parts are edible and mild.  Perfect for salads and stir fries, and prolly also for a compound butter, I figured as I bought them from the friendly folks at Whistling Train Farm.

I covet the garlic we grow here at the homestead too much to cut my own green garlic at home.  Did I tell you about my garlic last year?  It was a success!  So much so that we blew through it too fast.  We planted a lot more this year.

2011 garlic harvest! We went through this very quickly.

I got a good haul from the farmer’s market.  We had a spring feast.

Coho salmon, green garlic, and lion's mane mushrooms. This is what spring looks like at a Seattle area farmer's market.

For my compound butter, I scrubbed about 5 pieces of green garlic and very finely chopped them.  I then added the garlic and about 1/4 of a teaspoon (plus an extra pinch) of good sea salt to the butter.  I mashed it for awhile with a fork.

At the end of the day, I had these beauties to show for my not too intense labor.

Very impressive!  No Jeeves needed!  We had some of the plain butter on some fresh bread from Bakery Nouveau with our dinner that night. Amahzing.  Speaking of amahzing, did you watch Happy Endings this season?  Recommended.

So that was kinda easy! Maybe now I’ll make the cheese I’ve been putting off making, even after a two night cheesemaking class.  And now I’m left with almost 3 cups of buttermilk.  I’m thinking buttermilk pancakes.  Or fried chicken?  Check back to see what I did with the buttermilk.  Don’t throw it away!

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13 Responses to “Buttermaking!”

  1. Kate @ Snowflake Kitchen April 15, 2012 at 7:20 PM #

    The green garlic butter is a fabulous idea! Well done.

    • ohbriggsy April 21, 2012 at 7:52 AM #

      thanks! it’s great on corn and taste and on the bread for salmon sandwiches so far!

  2. Vanessa L. April 16, 2012 at 3:12 PM #

    oh you are funny! thoroughly enjoying your blog 🙂

    • ohbriggsy April 21, 2012 at 7:53 AM #

      hey, thanks! and thanks for stopping by!

  3. Kitchen Ninja April 18, 2012 at 5:07 AM #

    Love your humor and am super-envious of your l’orange Kitchen Aid (I went for safe, boring silver).

    • ohbriggsy April 21, 2012 at 7:53 AM #

      thanks, kitchen ninja! yeah, the color of that mixer is pretty sweet. but so is silver!

  4. Aimee G April 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM #

    All kinds of awesomeness in this post – thank you, thank you!

  5. Mr. Watters May 8, 2012 at 12:06 PM #

    Nice….that springtime farmer’s market haul picture is making me hungry.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Paula Deen Would Be Proud Of Us | grow it cook it can it - April 17, 2012

    […] Buttermaking, from Oh Briggsy: green garlic compound butter sounds like something I could eat on pretty much everything.  More importantly, this post managed to find the theme song for the March challenge: C.R.E.A.M., from the Wu Tang Clan.  (In case you don’t have it on your iPod already, it stands for “Cash Rules Everything Around Me,” which is perfect since making good butter requires the best quality cream, which really does involve shelling out the big money.  Nice song choice, Briggsy…) […]

  2. Cook It 2012: Cheese! | Grow & Resist - May 16, 2012

    […] April’s butter-making challenge was sicky-sad for me, Briggs rocked it and brought their herb butter for our bread. It was ridiculously awesome. I might have licked my knife. Twice. […]

  3. 12 Days of Xmas in ’12! Day One! « oh, briggsy… - December 6, 2012

    […] for an update…well, bummer alert. Right after the time I put up my last post here in April, the one where I was making homemade butter and showing off our new little black […]

  4. 12 Days of Xmas in ’12! Day Two! « oh, briggsy… - December 7, 2012

    […] what I made in my kitchen in 2012, besides the ramen, butter, and sourdough I already told you about here earlier in the […]

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