I love soft creamy butter….
I have very vague memories of my grandmother on the back porch of her house using a churn to make fresh butter. At times I think I just imagined this image. Other times I am sure it is a true image from early childhood. In late summer this same crockery was used to make pickles. A tallish ceramic crock with slices of cucumbers, vinegar and spices. It is the butter churning that I remember the best. A few years ago before my Mother died I asked her about this memory & she verified that it was very much a true memory.
I never considered making my own butter. I just buy my favorite Kerrygold butter at the supermarket. Recently I had quite a bit of fresh, local cream left over from a photo shoot, as I am not one to be overly crazy about cream in general, I thought of making fresh butter, which I am crazy about. I found lots of how-to recipes on-line. All of them simple & easy. In fact so simple & easy I wondered why I had not made butter before.
Here is a modern recipe for making butter. No churning necessary! It is Easy as This….
For 3 to 4 sticks of homemade butter you will need:
2 pints of fresh cream
a food processor & some cheesecloth
fresh herbs & sea salt for the dressed-up version
1. Pour fresh cream into a food processor.
2. Process cream for about 10-15 minutes. The first wonderful stage happens about halfway through the process…the most beautifully whipped cream I have ever seen. This is how I shall make perfect whipped cream in the future.
3. Keep an eye on the action in the processor. Soon after the whipped cream stage, like magic, the butter will separate from the whey. Turn off the processor.
4. Pour whey & butter through a cheese cloth lined sieve sitting over a bowl. The butter will remain in the cheesecloth. The whey will run off into the bowl. Bunch the cheesecloth up around the butter & twist to squeeze out most of the remaining liquid. Butter…dreamy…creamy butter ready for spreading, smearing & melting.
5. I pressed half of my butter into “sticks”, wrapped in wax paper & tied up with string for later use.
6. Into the second half I stirred herbs from my garden & some sea salt to spread on crusty slices of bread, add to a baked potato or to season homemade croutons for a salad.
As I was making this butter I thought of my Grandmother…. about how hard much of life was for her. She made butter, had a garden, chickens to care for, a large family to feed…just what she & her generation of rural, Southern women did. No complaints. My batch of butter took under 15 minutes…made for an urban household where everything is comparatively easy..no large family to feed..made not as a necessity, but simply for the pleasure of the act. It really was as “easy as that”.