Last night I hosted a cheese making class to have a refresher course for me and invited my canning group to come to learn another sustainable art form. The teacher Mary from Gentleheart Farms was very informative and reinforced many of the concepts that I had learned from the class that I did in the fall. The key for me was this class was hands on.
The first thing that we worked on was Butter. Butter though not a cheese was the first lesson in making cheese in developing a concept of taking a milk and separating the solid from the liquid. When you take whipping cream and process it in a Kitchen aid mixer (or in a jar like I used to do) you will first get whip cream, but if you go longer you will start to separate the milk fat (butter) from the liquid (butter milk). Yes buttermilk. It isn’t cultured like you find in the grocery store but the flavor is better!
Here is recipe with some tips along the way!
2 cups whipping cream
Cheese salt (optional) (you can leave it as unsalted butter)
Pour measured cream into the mixing bowl of the Kitchen Aid Mixer with the whisk attachment in place. Lock down the head and then turn mixer as high as you can without splashing the cream.
It will whisk to the stage of whipped cream, continue whisking. The next stage you will see the butter fat in little beads. Stop the mixer and with a rubber spatula scrap down the side to the bottom of the bowl. Start the mixer again and now you will want to watch it as the butter will start to form and the buttermilk liquid will finally separate. You will want to slow down the mixer as it will splash. Continue to mix for another two minutes once you see the butter collected in the whisk then turn off the mixer. From the picture on the right you can see the butter collected in the whisk and the buttermilk at the bottom of the bowl.
With a rubber spatula remove the butter from the whisk and put into a medium size bowl. Pour the buttermilk from the mixer into a pint size jar. Put the buttermilk into the fridge to use later or drink.
You will next want to wash the butter. Washing the butter will help to preserve the butter for longer. Add cold water to the butter and with the spatula fold the butter over itself and press then drain out the water. Add more cold water to the butter and process again till the water is clear. It takes up to three times. Add cheese salt if you want salted butter. Add a pinch then mix and taste. Put the butter in a mold or butter dish and put into the fridge or freezer. It will yield one stick of butter.
This butter will be sweeter and more flavorful than the type you buy in the grocery store. If you want to make several batches you will get 4 batches of butter from a half gallon of whipping cream and 2 1/2 pints of buttermilk. You can purchase a half gallon of whipping cream from Costco and it will work great.