I had the opportunity to visit a local farm stand and picked up some amazing local farm fare. Sunday morning breakfast featured most of that fare with farm fresh eggs, milk, and local bacon. (It is so nice to have this farm stand down the road–especially right now!)
Besides a delicious breakfast, something I really enjoy making from this fresh farm milk is butter (and buttermilk as a by product!) The taste is something you do not get in the stores. Plus, it is a great science or culinary arts lesson for kids who are at home!
So what kind of milk do you have to use? Well, there is a big debate about the safety of raw milk, but I can tell you I have not had a problem with it over the years and have actually seen some benefits. If you aren’t comfortable with raw milk, the next best thing is lightly pasteurized milk or heavy cream. The Ultra pasteurized and homogenized milk and cream will not make butter… you simply must have the milk with milk fat in it that has not been heated. Also, since butter needs milk fat to form, 2% and skim will not work.. it must be whole milk.
Now how to make the butter! I have been wanting a butter churn for a while now, and it has been sitting on my Amazon wish list calling my name for months. The opportunity hasn’t presented itself to purchase it yet, but maybe soon! It is not necessary for making butter, however. There is a very low-tech and kid-friendly way to make your own butter.
Ready for this?? A canning jar and shaking. It takes about 30 minutes of shaking to make butter (this is where your kids, spouse, roommate come in!), but it is worth every minute. I typically will do this while I am sitting in front of the TV at night.
Start with a quart sized mason jar and fill it halfway with milk (use a smaller jar for small hands). Sit it on the counter to come to room temperature!–the warmer it is, the less shaking you have to do. Once warm, you begin shaking…dont shake it too fast, the goal is to burst the milk molecules so they make butter so a place of one full shake every second does the trick..just make sure there is force up and down. (I’ve also seen people use their stand mixer for this!)
After a while the individual clumps of butter form a ball of butter which then means it is ready for the last 1 minute of shaking
What is left from this process is butter (of course) and buttermilk! I usually use my buttermilk in pancakes or biscuits the next day to make sure it doesnt go bad.
How to Make Butter
- Fill your canning jar halfway with your milk and put the top on.
- Sit the jar out and let it warm to room temperature (but not to the point of spoiling). The warmer it is, the less you have to shake the jar.
- Once the milk is no longer cool, you can start shaking the jar. This will take about 30 minutes, and you may start to think it is doing nothing until you start to see the small ball of butter starting to form.
- Continue shaking the jar until a ball of butter forms and is thumping against the top and bottom of the jar. Continue shaking for 1 minute.
- Pour the butter and buttermilk into a cheesecloth lined strainer and let the butter drain for 30 mins or so.
- At this point you can mix in some salt if you want, or just enjoy as is!
This butter tastes so good, it wont last long at all!