When it comes to the butter versus margarine debate I have always succumbed to my French heritage and lathered a slab of butter on my morning toast, rather than going for the ‘healthier’ option. There is just something about real butter that makes food utterly irresistible. The thought of freshly baked pastries, pies, cakes and rich butter based sauces makes me salivate with anticipation.
My brother who has recently moved to the butter capital of the world, Paris, can vouch for the hypnotic effect this golden substance can wield. Being surrounded by great pâtisseries on every corner, he finds it almost impossible not to pick up some butter filled delight on his daily commute to work to brighten up his day (and take residence on his hips!).
I know what you are thinking – heart attack waiting to happen. But recent studies published in the New York Times and Time Magazine have found that our war on saturated fat might have been misguided. It seems that it’s rather trans fats found in processed foods like margarine that is really causing havoc with our health. So butter is making a comeback on the health front (in moderation of course!) and I can think of no better reason to make real homemade butter yourself.
Here’s how you do it!
Preparation Time: 30 minutes | Incubation Time: 24 hours | Makes: 250gm
500gm heavy cream
(good quality cream will make your butter taste better!)
1/4 teaspoon powedered Flora Danica or Aroma B mesophilic starter culture
(You can buy starter cultures online or at your local cheese shop.)
500ml sterilised jar or container
(or 2 x 250ml jars)
4 litre stockpot / saucepan
(big enough for the jar or container to comfortably fit)
Mini measuring spoons
Hand blender food processor
Strainer (lined with cheese or chux cloth)
Pour the cream into the sterilised jar and place into the pot. Fill the pot with warm water to halfway up the sides of the jar. Then over low heat slowly warm the cream to 30°C (86°F).
STEP 2: Add the starter culture
Once the cream is at temperature sprinkle over the starter culture. Let it stand for 5 minutes while keeping the cream at 30°C (86°F). Then using a spoon throrougly mix the starter into the cream.
Place the lid loosely onto the jar and leave in the warm water to incubate for a minimum of 12 hours. Then take the jar out of the water, tighten the lid and continue to ripen at room temperature for atleast another 6 hours.
STEP 4: Chill in the fridge
Once the cream has reached a thick yoghurt like consistency, place it in the fridge to firm up the milk fats for about 12 hours. Then take out of the fridge and allow the cream to come to room temperature before churning.
To churn the cream, add it to the bowl of the food processor and start to blend. After about 5 minutes the cream will become stiff and pale yellow in colour. Continue to blend until the mixture becomes grainy and the butter flecks starts to separate from the buttermilk. Stop blending once you can see the mixture clearly separated and you can hear the buttermilk splashing around in the bowl.
Place the cheese cloth lined strainer over a bowl and pour the churned mixture into it. Once all the buttermilk has drained, rinse the butter under very cold water. Then place over the bowl again and work the butter flecks with the back of a spoon to remove any excess water.
STEP 7: Ready to enjoy!
Form the butter into a ball and place in a sterilised bowl or cover with foil and refridgerate until firm. Spread a slab on warm homemade bread, make flavoured butter to melt over meat or fish or add it to just about any dish to make it taste better!
Recipes using butter: