This whole butter-making thing got started when I decided to make a real, old-fashioned pound cake… which was suppose to coincide with the reveal of my newly made-over-vintage-inspired kitchen… but there are a few things left to do in the kitchen before I post on it, and I didn’t want to wait another how-ever-long-that’s-going-to-take before posting a new recipe (it’s already been been nearly 5 months!)
I’ll let Alton Brown explain most of the why, but in a nutshell: the best butter for pound cake is slow churned. Here in America, we like thinks done RIGHT NOW, so butter is churned very quickly. In Europe, they like to do things at a slower pace, including churning their butter. This affects the structure of the butter. Now, you could purchase some fancy, expensive, slow-churned European-style butter, or you could just make your own. (In all honesty, had the big box store happened to have slow churned butter, I would just have bought it. But they didn’t and I forgot to look for said butter at the fancy grocery store. Besides, making butter is FUN!)
WHAT YOU NEED
You’ll need approximately 1 quart + 1 cup of whipping cream. (You may need a little more, so go ahead and buy a quart + a pint, or 3 pints total). Total yield will vary depending on fat content of the cream.
Pour cream in to the bowl of your stand mixer and with your whisk attachment, whip at low speed (around setting #3) for… as long as it takes! At first, it will look like nothing is happening, not even whipped cream. Then, it’ll start to look like whipped cream. Then it will look like whipped cream that’s been whipped a little too long. Then, you’ll get tired of watching (if you didn’t get bored within the first minute) and walk away to do something in another room. Then, you’ll come back to the kitchen and voila! You’ve got butter!! And you know what else you’ve got? MILK! (The milk really surprised me. I thought the liquid would be more like whey– weak and funny tasting. (C’mon, I’m not a dairy farmer or butter-maker- I didn’t know!)
Pour off the milk and stop for an Oreo break.
Then rinse the butter with water (right in your bowl) and knead (or wipe and smear, ha!) with a spatula until the butter is smooth. Rinse until water is clear. (I rinsed three times.) Put butter in air tight container and store in refrigerator until ready for use. (If you’ve removed all of the milk, the butter will keep for 2-3 weeks.)
For everyday use, it’s really not worth the cost or time. (re: Bon Appetit) But for the fun of it, absolutely!
As for the pound cake: since I didn’t have real slow-churned European butter to compare it to, neither did I make a cake with regular “American” butter… I can’t really say if my homemade butter made any difference. It was a fun experiment, and best of all, we got to eat the results!
For more information butter-making, click here.
A finally, a word from the queen of butter, Julia Child.