Cultured unsalted butter
Butter is made from the butterfat that is in suspension within cream. It’s a simple process of agitating the butterfat out of suspension from the cream and separating out the buttermilk. As with all processes used to make dairy products, you must make sure all utensils are sterile.
There are two main types of butter – cultured and uncultured. Cultured butter has a different flavour and is one way of preserving the butter. Alternatively, you can use salt as the preservative. A safe and easy way to make cultured butter at home is by adding yoghurt, as this provides the same bacteria.
It’s very important to use pure cream with no thickeners or additives. Check the label. The cream must be cold before starting the process, so leave it in the fridge until you’re ready to start.
2 litres pure cream
2/3 tbsp natural yoghurt with live cultures
Place the cream in a mixer with a K beater blade, or use a traditional butter churn. Add the yoghurt. For a more cultured taste, leave the cream with the yoghurt in it, in the fridge, for up to 12 hours before churning.
Mix the cream on medium speed until the butter starts to separate from the buttermilk. You will notice that the cream will go through a whipped phase before the butter starts to separate.
Once the butter has formed together into large butter granules, drain the buttermilk (retain this for other cooking, eg. scones!)
Wash the butter by adding a couple of litres of cold water. Continue mixing/churning. Repeat this with fresh cold water a couple of times.
To work the curds, knead the butter on a clean wooden board, removing as much moisture as possible. A wooden board is ideal as this helps wick away the moisture. (Tip – Prop up one end of the board with a tea towel to help drain the moisture away from the butter.) Keep your hands as cold as possible. You may need to refrigerate the butter before starting this process. Make sure the wooden board is very clean, as any flavours from other ingredients on the board will be easily transferred into the butter.
Note: If you wanted to add some salt to this butter, you could do so this point by kneading in salt flakes or crystals to taste, or by using a 10 brine solution to wash the butter instead of water.
Homemade butter will have a higher moisture content than commercial butter, so it won’t keep as long. If it’s well wrapped in greaseproof paper, or stored in an airtight container in the fridge, it should last a couple of weeks. Knowing this, you’re better off making a small amount.