Start With A Stick (SWAS) - that's the age-old Harper family motto on the use of butter.
Now, most grocery store variety butters aren't too questionable as far as ingredients go (as long as you are sticking to the basic stuff), however, there is something dreamy about churning your own cream into homemade butter. And now that I know how, goats may be in the future...
Credit for this inspiration and strategy goes to www.coldantlerfarm.blogspot.com - Jenna, the author, is a soul sister on the other side of the country (who probably doesn't know I even exist) - one of her books was gifted to me recently, and I have not been able to put it down. A like-minded, self-starter in the great state of Idaho with an appreciation for country livin, antiques (yas girl), and slow food, she too has her own homestead complete with chickens, gardens, bees, and then some. After making my own butter using her strategy, I'm never going back. Now all I need is a critter that produces heavy cream at home!
Milking wise, dairy cows are what people generally look to first, however a cow is a substantially large livestock animal and milking a cow takes a bit more time, equipment, and feed. Milking a goat, is a little less intimidating right now and they are a bit more size-friendly. Also cuteness factor + yoga. More research to do on this front...
Here's the deets...
Using a regular container of heavy cream (whatever brand you prefer), fill a pint sized mason jar half way and cover it with the lid and ring. Let it sit out on the counter overnight in order to cure it to room temp.
The following morning, shake that bad boy for 15 min. - this is part work out. It's also a great activity for busy kiddos. Amazingly, as you are doing so, over the 15 min. the butter will separate from the milk, and the milk remaining is now your buttermilk! Once the 15 min. is up, pour off the buttermilk and save for baking with some of those farm fresh eggs.
In the original instruction, it states to "knead" the butter, as you would with bread.... I did this by hand and it was rather messy. Alternatively, you can throw it in your KitchenAid and let that go to town for a couple minutes.
Then, pour in some ice water over the butter. It will not cause the butter to dissipate (my original fear). Knead again. The kneading process helps the protiens in the butter to bond and make it a bit more concrete.
Pour the ice water off, and then dash some salt over the butter. Knead it in once more, and tah-dah! You are done. Store in a container as is, or mush it into a pretty butter mold.
You can also make variations of this with some of your garden hearbs added in! I love this because it is is two-fer - you get butter and buttermilk out of it.
If for nothing else, it's a fun activity and makes morning toast taste that much better (especially if you baked the bread yourself, too)! If you don't feel like putting the effort in, but still want some of the creamy goodness, head over to our General Store page (if you're a local) and place your order for homemade butter.