April 16, 2009
Making Butter - The Hard Way
Ive been cooking since I was about 10yrs old. Ive fed thousands of people thru my life. But even with all that experience, even I have flops, and mistakes. One of these turned into butter.
Now I believe pretty much everything can be saved unless its burnt beyond recognition. And I always try to save what Ive screwed up to use another way. Like a pudding cake I made long ago that didn't work right. It became a parfait with whipped cream and strawberries. Lets face it even when you feel you have done the right thing, things still go wrong.
So I was going to make Creme Fraiche for my trifle I was making for our Easter dessert. I had made the Citrus Ricotta pound cake and had all I needed for the trifle. I made the layers and ran sliced strawberries around the edge and all over it. I mixed those with the blackberries in a crystal pedestal bowl I use just for things like this. It was stunning I thought. So I figured topped with some Creme Fraiche would be nice ...not sweet but not real tart. I made it using fresh unsweetened heavy cream and buttermilk.
Ive made Creme Fraiche before many times. I used to make a lg. quantity for something I made in the restaurant even. But of course we all know about Murphy's law. That Murphy really should be taken out back and shot lol. So I made my recipe for Creme Fraiche and put it at the back of the stove to sit overnight like I usually do.
I got up the next day expecting it to be nice and creamy and if not real thick at least thicker. NOT! It was just like I left it the day before only I needed it today. I didn't have anything else in the house either. So I thought Id take out my immersion hand blender and thicken it up just a bit. NOT! It refused to thicken. I stood there a bit doing this and nothing was happening. Sigh.
Now I have a big KitchenAid mixer and that can beat anything. So I dumped it all in and turned it on high and it promptly turned into butter! I had a quart of cream that went to butter. Great. And nothing for dessert now. So I called my daughter and asked her to pick up more cream for me. I couldn't go I was still cooking and my bf had already left to get ice. I couldn't send him out again.
And so I stared at this broken mess I had and had an aha! moment. BUTTER!!! Ill make butter. So I really beat it good to be sure the whey separated out. Then I put it in a fine strainer to strain the whey out. Now I had a creamy mass of butter. But you cant stop there. Did you know you need to wash butter? I knew but never did it before. So while it was rinsing in the strainer, I kept it under running water. You keep squeezing it and folding it to remove the whey.
You need to rinse it until the water runs clear. The reason for this is, any whey left in will spoil it really fast. The strainer started to clog up so I had to pour out the water while rinsing. It was kind of neat tho to have this light fluffy mass in my hands not melting. The cold water keeps it that way. Once your done rinsing you have to squeeze out any residual water. I did that.
So for dinner I scooped up the fresh made butter and put it in crystal pedestal glasses for serving. I didn't salt this butter altho you could. And my family preferred it salted. So I just sat the salt shaker on the table for each to do as they chose. I must say tho it was a hit. I put out two glasses full and one was gone the other partially. I put out a loaf of Italian bread with dinner and some rolls. Almost all the bread was gone. Considering all the other food we had, that fact rather amazed me. I think it was because of the butter.
Today I made breakfast. I still have some butter leftover. I really liked cooking with it and the toast we had with the eggs was delicious. I think I'm getting spoiled here and may have to make my own butter more often.
Heres a link to make actual butter the right way lol http://www.webexhibits.org/butter/doityourself.html
And here is my Creme Fraiche recipe that I used.
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Mix together buttermilk and cream in a jar. Shake the jar gently until the ingredients are well blended, then remove the lid. Let this mixture sit at room temperature until it has thickened significantly- you’re looking for a texture similar to sour cream. This will take at least 6 hours. You can stir the mixture once or twice to check the consistency.
When the mixture has thickened, refrigerate it until served- at least 12 hours.
If you don’t have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute with sour cream.
Tip: To speed up the process, use room temperature buttermilk and whipping cream. If it still looks a little runny after 24 hours, leave it another 8 to 12 hours but move it to a warmer spot. And don't worry about the cream going bad. The bacteria in the buttermilk, helps preserve it.
Its very expensive to buy tho so making your own is cheaper for you and honestly tastes much better. Once the creme fraiche has thickened sufficiently, cover and place in the refrigerator. It will continue to thicken and take on a more tangy flavor as it ages. Creme fraiche will keep in the refrigerator for about 7-10 days. It is used in both savory and sweet dishes and makes a wonderful topping for fresh berries, cobblers and puddings. It can also be whipped, along with a little sugar, and used in place of whipped heavy cream.