I love real butter. Whole, fresh butter made from lucious raw cream. Lightly salted. Especially when it has been spread over a thick slice of multigrain sourdough bread that’s been lightly toasted.
Personally I think the best butter is is butter you’ve made yourself. It’s really easy. Put a few cups of heavy cream into a jar and screw the lid on tightly – and shake. And shake and shake and shake. First it gets grainy. Then it starts to clump together and slosh around. And the more you shake it, the more butter forms, until most of the jar is one large lump of butter with some thin buttermilk surrounding it. Pour off the buttermilk and shake some more. Pour off the additional buttermilk that’s been squeezed out of the butter. (You’re keeping that buttermilk to make biscuits with later, right?) When no more buttermilk comes out, add really cold water and shake. Pour that off (your pets will love it). And you have butter! You can eat it right out of that jar if you like.
Sure there are details you can do if you want. There are a couple different ways you can salt it. And you can add herbs if you like. And some people don’t care for the little drops of water you get with this method, and prefer to form the butter into molds or the like to get it all out. But I don’t mind the bits of water, they remind me that I WORKED for that butter and that it’s genuinely home made.
I haven’t made butter in a while. This time of year butter from the store is pretty inexpensive, so I stock up. Not many ways you can mess up butter. The ingredients are often “cream, salt” and that’s it. Of course there are the issues with hormones or antibiotics in the milk that was used to get the cream in the first place, but I do the best I can. If you can get organic raw milk with the cream still in it, and separate it yourself and make your own butter, just think what a marvelous product you have!
I look at the butter that is on my knife, and am in awe of it. It used to be grass! It was eaten by a cow, whose insides turned it into milk, and that became butter. What a wonderful God we have to create a system like this!
I look forward to the day I can have a cow. A nice Jersey cow would produce the most cream, but Dexter cows might be more our size and still give an acceptable amount of milk and cream. Cream is the best advantage (in my mind) that cows have over goats. It’s just not easy to separate the cream from goats’ milk. Whereas with cows’ milk, the cream rises to the top naturally and you can just skim it off and make butter.
If you’re looking for a fun activity to do with your children who are home this holiday season, I suggest making butter. You can use the heavy whipping cream from your grocer’s milk section. Yep, the stuff right there between the milk and the coffee creamers. Put it in a jar (preferably glass so the kids can see what’s going on), and give it to them to shake. They’ll be amazed that just shaking it makes such a difference! When it’s finished be sure to salt it so it tastes like the stuff from the store, and put it on bread for them to eat. Maybe drizzle it with a little honey if they are accustomed to sweeter, manufactured margarines. A little step toward teaching children where food comes from, in a way they’ll enjoy and remember.