Churn baby, churn… Or, how to make butter

This morning I realised, as I struggled to get dressed with only one working arm, I would have to make things easier on myself. If I did do a loaf as normal, even calling in help to get it out of the oven, I probably wouldn’t be able to slice it. I could gnaw at it, I supposed, but descending into savagery was a slippery slope.

I wouldn’t be able to lift the Le Creuset casserole, or any casserole, come to that. I did have a bowl of dough ready to be baked……the answer, my friends, was to cut the dough into little bits and then put the little bits into mini covered pots and make buns! It has to work, right? Reduce the time, I suppose, but it should be plain sailing.

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And what would I want on these delicious morsels of bread? Why, butter! Ages ago (and no, I don’t know when because despite Googling for quite some time for the article, I can’t find it) anyway, ages ago, The Telegraph Magazine had an article about Richard Corrigan, making butter.

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Luckily I do have my tattered bits that I ripped out of the magazine and I promise to copy out exactly the bit about making butter. How easy it would have been to have given you the link but, hey ho, one does what one can.

I first made this when I was wandering through a supermarket and saw a large pot of cream reduced for quick sale as it had to be sold that day. Never being one to miss a bargain, I thought this would be a cheap way to try out what Richard Corrigan assured me, was a quick and easy way to make butter.

How could it not be good for you? All it was was, was cream and a pinch of salt….Lamb Henry, bread and butter 016

Richard explained that one way of doing it was to put the cream into a plastic box with some marbles and shake… or you could go the easy route and whip it. Guess which way I did it? Think of the fun for the family… everyone having a go shaking the box.

First, find some marbles. These are beauties – my sister in law in Australia gave them to me, and she was sent them from her cousin in law in America. How international is that?

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Then put them in a plastic box that seals tight. You really don’t want cream going everywhere, do you?

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The put in your cream and start shaking!

This is what Richard Corrigan says

” To make butter

The simplest way to make butter is in a standing mixer, but it is also possible with any vessel that can be agitated back and forth. A Tupperware box with a couple of glass marbles is a perfect makeshift churn for a child to use.

Pour fresh double cream into a very clean mixing bowl and whisk at medium speed until thick. When it becomes stiff, slow down the mixer. The whipped cream will collapse and form into butterfat globules and the buttermilk will flood out. Strain through a sieve, reserving the buttermilk to make milkshakes or soda bread. Return the  the butter fat to the mixer and mix slowly for another 30 seconds. Fill the bowl with cold water. Wash your hands well and knead the butter, allowing the water around it to wash it. Drain off the water and repeat twice. Weigh the butter, then, if you wish to salt it, add a quarter of a teaspoon to every 115g/4oz. Pat it into a shape with wooden spatulas or butter pats, wrap in greaseproof paper and store in the fridge.”

So, you can do it in a mixer, but I have always done it in a box with the marbles. Cream in, marbles in and shake it up baby…

You can hear the change as it goes from liquid cream to whipped cream and then to a strange thickness, almost as if it is one solid mass slapping against the sides of the box. Take a look at it…

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Keep going and then all of a sudden the colour seems to change and it looks different, almost granular. It becomes a yellowy golden substance, almost cottage cheese like in texture and you can see the buttermilk is separating out and you have almost-butter!

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You need to drain the excess liquid off, so put a sieve over a jug and pour in the almost-butter.

Squish it about with a wooden spoon getting more and more of the buttermilk out of there. Then you need to rinse it with cold water. You need to get the buttermilk out, leaving only the butterfat. If you don’t then it will go off sooner, though I have to say, there’s never been any left lying around to go rancid in this house.

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At this point I add some salt and mix it in, giving it a good slapping. The first few times I just used a wooden spatula and that worked brilliantly but The Bear found some wooden butter pats at an antique place at some ridiculously low price (maybe £3?) and bought them for me. You can slap the butter from both sides then. They aren’t essential at all unless you are looking at it from a style point of view. Just whack it with whatever you have. More of the buttermilk will come out and what is left looks just like…… butter!

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There you go, rough and ready, but that is undeniably butter. I usually make it look a lot better but as I keep telling you, I only have one working arm, so what do you expect? But if I can do that in under half an hour? What could you do?

Think of the fun if you have children to entertain – you can make bread and they can be put to forced labour shaking a plastic box filled with cream and a couple of marbles.

I have chopped herbs into it before and even mixed in truffle oil to make gorgeous flavoured butters….You can freeze it too, all you do is  make sausages of the  butter and wrap it in cling film and then freeze it, ready for when you need it.

So now I have butter, ready for my buns. I told you I  had made the dough as normal and then I put it into heated mini Le Creuset pots….

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Lamb Henry, bread and butter 019The oven was hot and in they went. There they stayed for 30 minutes, with their lids on and then another 15 minutes to brown… what little beauties they are? Don’t they deserve the beautiful butter?

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There you go. Wonderful home made bread and butter.

Easy, isn’t it? I reckon it would be easier still if you did what Richard said and used a food mixer……

6 thoughts on “Churn baby, churn… Or, how to make butter”

  1. I went to see a clairvoyant tonight and he told me I should let matty do more stuff in the kitchen…..Monday I’m off to buy marbles and double cream lol He’s going to love this 😀

  2. Brilliant! LOLOL… honest, it is easy… and oh the sense of triumph when you suddenly realise you have made your own butter – you do the bread as well and you have the perfect supper!

  3. ok so i had a bash. i have to say you were less specific in this one wendy, didn’t know what size cream to get!!! anyway, i don’t own marbles, and when i’d done i was maimed and my kitchen looked like spongebob had exploded, but at least i had a bash!! ps, used the hand mixer!!

  4. I got the large pot of double cream, Laura…. still, I reckon using the mixer is the easiest way – using marbles and a plastic box is just a fun way to pass time! 😉
    Well done though… YOU DID IT!!!!!
    What fun we are all having!
    Who’s next for a try?

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