August 28 2009, 10:17 AM
I recently stumbled across this wildly popular blog post from Over the Hill & On a Roll about how to make your own butter in an easy, no-churning way. While the grocery store offers affordable options, I find the cheaper butter and margarine to taste like wax. And although I'm fond of certain gourmet butters, my budget doesn't often approve of the price. So, inspired by the folks at Over the Hill, I decided to make my own. And I was surprised by how easy it really is. You need: Heavy cream, salt, a stand or hand mixer, and a bowl. Step 1: Combine 16 ounces of heavy cream and Â½ teaspoon salt in your bowl. (Note: The first time I tried this recipe, I cut it in half because I'm always skeptical of recipes. After the success of my first effort, I definitely recommend making the full batch.) Step 2: Mix on high for around three minutes. (Note: Over the Hill recommends using the stand mixer, but I used a hand mixer and it worked just fine---just scrape the sides as you go.) Step 3: As you mix, you'll see the cream first become whipped cream. (It will be tough not to stop here.) Closer to the three-minute mark it turns yellow and will resemble crumbly scrambled eggs. Step 4: Just after you notice the scrambled egg texture, keep beating for a few more seconds. You'll see a liquid separate from your "eggs," which is buttermilk. Stop mixing. Step 5: Move the butter and bowl to the sink. Fill the bowl with cold water. Step 6: Squeeze the butter into a ball until you see the water run clear. (Note: This is the only gross part. It's mighty slimy.) As the folks at Over the Hill point out, this means it's free of all the buttermilk, which helps it last longer. They also say this homemade butter lasts around two weeks. Step 7: Put your butter ball on parchment paper or, as I did, in a small dish. I also put a large swab of it on a piece of bread to sample. Results: The flavor is full and rich, mimicking the flavor of some of my favorite high-priced butters. And from start to finish, it really does take just under five minutes. Bonus: I added a tablespoon of honey part way through the mixing process, and I'm hooked on having a hint of sweetness balance the fresh saltiness.