M.Y.O.B. (Make Your Own Butter)

“The cream rises to the top,” my high school English teacher used to say.

Back then, I applied the phrase to academic excellence.

This weekend, however, I applied it to raw milk.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with raw milk, it is basically milk straight from the cow.  There is a fair amount of controversy with this white stuff, mainly because it is not pasteurized.  There are many people, however, who are switching to raw milk due to its nutritional benefits, most of which are lost in the pasteurization process.  I am by no means an expert nor a die-hard advocate, so I encourage you to do your own research.  Here is an article for starters.

To be quite honest, the main reason why I partake in the occasional glass of raw milk is because it’s, for the most part, easily accessible here in Clyde America, and I am always up for trying local fare.  This past week, my friend, who just so happens to own cows, had a surplus of milk, and apparently it was a very creamy batch.  When she suggested that it was great for making butter, I wasted no time in getting my hands on a gallon.

Until this weekend, I had never made, tasted or even seen homemade butter before.  However, once I discover that something can be homemade, I just have to make it.  In my home.  (Just thought I’d clarify.)

With that said, I L.O.V.E. homemade biscuits with homemade jam, and it only makes sense to enjoy the latter with homemade butter!

So thanks to cow-owning friends (and Google), I have a lovely mound of homemade butter sitting in my fridge.

Here’s how you, too, can M.Y. O. B……………..

How to Make Homemade Butter

First of all, you will need some cream.  Store-bought heavy whipping cream will definitely do the trick OR you can use the cream that rises to the top of a gallon of raw milk:

(To remove the cream, I poured the milk into a clear bowl, let it sit overnight in the fridge and then skimmed the cream off the top the next morning.  Now that I think about it, it would have been just as easy to remove the cream from the gallon container using a baster.  Oh, well.  Lessons for next time.)

Pour 2 cups of cold (around 60 degrees) cream in a large bowl.  For salted butter, add 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt.

Using the whisk attachment on your mixer, whip the cream on the highest setting until thick, about 3-5 minutes.

Cook’s Note: Commercial whipping cream tends to stiffen up much faster than raw cream.

Once the cream begins to thicken, tiny butter crystals will begin to form.  Since these crystals have the tendency to clog up a whisk, replace the whisk attachment with beaters or a paddle.

Once again, beat on the highest setting.  (Drape a dish towel over the mixer to prevent the inevitable shower of milk and butter bits from spraying all over your kitchen.)

After roughly 5-10 minutes, the cream will look clumpy and frothy and will be full of large butter crystals:

Scoop the butter crystals to one side, and carefully pour the buttermilk off into another bowl:

Cook’s Note: Do not discard this miraculous liquid!  Though not the best for drinking, this milk is great for baking.

Using a spoon or spatula, press out all of the excess buttermilk.

You could use the butter as is at this point, or you can “rinse” it to extend its shelf life.  Here’s how:

Pour about a cup of ice-cold water over the butter and mash the butter with a spoon.  The water will immediately become cloudy with buttermilk.

Roll the butter around in the water to remove any excess buttermilk.

Discard the water and repeat the process with another addition of fresh water.  Continue rinsing the butter a few times until the rinse water is clear:

Press the butter to extract all of the water.

And that’s it.

You just M.Y.O.B.ed!

Fresh butter will last about 2 weeks in the fridge…that is, if you and your family don’t devour it right away!  Especially if you make biscuits.

(Biscuits: A great way to put fresh buttermilk to use!)

And now the question begs to ask: Was it worth the effort?

Answer: You butter believe it!

The final result was so light and creamy and best of all, it spread like…well…like butter.  (Which is more than I can say for…well…store-bought butter.)

Homemade biscuits.  Homemade jam.  And now homemade butter.

I can die a fulfilled and happy woman now.

Go ahead!  Live life on the decadent side, and make your own butter!


*2 cups heavy cream or whipping cream (about 60 degrees in temperature)

*1/2 t salt

*Pitcher of ice water

Using a whisk attachment, beat cream and salt on the highest setting until thick and butter bits begin to form (5-7 minutes).  Replace whisk with beaters or paddle, and beat on highest setting another 7-10 minutes until mixture looks clumpy and foamy with large butter crystals.  Using a spatula, press the crystals together and carefully drain off buttermilk into a separate bowl.  Continue to press all excess buttermilk out of butter.  Pour a cup of ice water over the butter and “rinse” butter by pressing out the the excess buttermilk.  Discard water and continue process until rinse water is clear.  Press out all excess water using, store in an airtight container and keep refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.


12 thoughts on “M.Y.O.B. (Make Your Own Butter)

  1. It’s such a shame raw milk gets such a bad rap. If you find a local farm that tests regularly you should be fine. We have a local source for raw milk that we use to make cheese. Butter is on my list to try. Thanks for posting a how-to!

  2. This post was so insightful. Perfect instructions/story-telling through the right mix of pictures and text. I always look forward to reading your entries when I get the notice of a new post in my mailbox!

  3. Yum! This sounds so good with homemade biscuits and homemade jam. My mom used to buy homemade butter from her piano teacher and it was SO much better than store bought. And I’ve enjoyed a lot of raw milk, but have never seen that much cream in a gallon before! Definitely some creamy cows. haha

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