Making your own organic butter at home may be easier than you believe. However, you might be thinking, “Why on earth would I care to make my own butter at home anyways?” A fair question, and one that will be explored briefly. First of all, many store-bought butter options are watered down. By making your own organic butter, you will end up with a product that has a higher butterfat content, and thus a better flavor and better performance in baking. You can also tailor this flavor to your preference depending on how you culture the butter. This higher butterfat content will especially be appreciated by serious bakers.
Home-churned butter also has a better texture, again making it superior to store-bought options in baking. Not to mention, when making your own organic butter you know for certain that unhealthy preservatives or artificial ingredients are not being added to your butter.
Homemade Organic Butter
Now that you’re convinced that making your own butter is a good idea, read on to find out how it’s done.
- Cream – the best option is organic, from grass-fed cows, non-ultra pasteurized, and with a butterfat content around 38%. Those living in the United States can find it at Trader Joe’s. You will use about 2 cups (more or less, depending on your needs).
- Culture – you will need a blend of mesophilic lactic cultures, such as s. Lactis and s. Cremoris. You can order a direct pack, called “creme fraiche” through Amazon.
- Churn – you will need a traditional butter churn (hand-cranked), or you can use a jar with a seal-tight lid and shake it as needed. A hand blender is another alternative.
- Large wooden spoon and spatula
- Butter dish, mold, and/or plastic containers
What to Do
The first step will be to culture the cream. (As an aside, you don’t need to culture your butter at all, but it tends to provide a better flavor; you can skip this step altogether if desired, and head straight to the next step below.)
- Sanitize anything that will be touching the cream, including your thermometer, churn, spoon/spatula, and strainer.
- Using a double broiler set-up, heat the cream to 86 degrees Fahrenheit. When the cream reaches 86 degrees, remove from heat, and add in the culture, stirring well.
- Put on the tight-fitting lid and let the mixture sit at room temperature for about 12 hours, keeping in mind that the longer you let it sit, the stronger the flavor of the culture.
- Refrigerate the mixture just long enough for the cream to reach a temp of 55-60 degrees.
Now the fun begins – start churning! You will be able to see the cream take on a buttery texture and will be able to smell the butter forming as well. Churn for about 5-10 minutes, until there is a small amount of buttermilk left. Pour the butter through cheesecloth or sieve to separate the buttermilk from the butter (bonus—you can use the buttermilk for cooking and baking, too).
Return the butter to the churn and add a small amount of cold water (equal to the amount of buttermilk you just removed); churn for a bit; then pour out the water; repeat these process 3-4 times. The “washing” of the butter helps to remove excess buttermilk, which would otherwise shorten the life of your butter and cause it go rancid more quickly.
Dump the butter onto a wooden surface (e.g. large cutting board) and flatten down with a wood spatula or spoon, but be careful not to overwork. Press the butter smooth and flat, and add your salt (if desired) at this stage. Measure out and cut the butter according to your needs. You can utilize a mold to quickly and easily press the butter into neat formations. Whatever way you shape it, you now have your own homemade butter!
Not only is this butter exceptional for baking (especially your own pie crusts), but it can also be used in all the same ways as your store-bought table butter. Because you will likely end up with more butter than you need, you can use a pretty mold and gift these beautiful butter blocks to others, or simply freeze the unneeded butter.
Making your own organic butter at home sounds much more intimidating than it actually is. You really have nothing to lose by giving it a shot, and will likely end up with a tastier, richer butter with no preservatives or artificial additions.