Butter used to be a project that took our foremothers all day. How wonderful it is that we can now whip up a batch of homemade sweet cream butter without much fuss or trouble and can even do other kitchen tasks while the homemade butter practically makes itself!
Using a tool most of us have in our kitchens, a stand mixer, you can pour in your slightly warmed cream, flip it on, and walk away. (This is the easiest way to skim cream I’ve found.)
But if you happen to hang around and watch this amazing process in action, you’ll notice the cream go through several changes. It will quickly whip into a soft cream, followed by a stiffly whipped cream…
Then it breaks and falls before it looks curdled.
You’ll begin to notice a milky liquid puddling along the sides. This is when I like to switch to the paddle attachment.
I like to start with the whisk attachment and then switch to the paddle in the end. I’ve done lots of experimenting with both attachments and with various speeds and have found that when you start with the whisk it makes smaller butter pieces, extracting the most buttermilk which makes for less rinsing later, and then the paddle attachment brings all those bitty buttery pieces together in a beautiful golden lump.
When it’s all clumped together in a ball of butter and the buttermilk is beginning to splash up the sides of the bowl, you’re just about done! Quickly shut off the mixer before you make a mess. Just be careful that when you turn off the mixer you don’t accidentally turn it UP! It will splash everywhere!!
Drain the buttermilk off into a bowl- BUT DON’T THROW IT AWAY! You can use it anywhere you use buttermilk. Or you may put in a tablespoon of cultured buttermilk and leave it out in a warm place to culture until thick and then you have a beautifully thick, cultured buttermilk. It’s so simple!
Once the buttermilk is drained, put the butter back into the mixer bowl and run some really cold water over the butter and massage out any residual buttermilk. Drain the milky water and refill it with more cold water and repeat the massaging and rinsing and draining until the water is clear. And you’re all done!
Unless you’d like salted butter.
Like I do.
So I’ll massage in ¼ teaspoon of butter for every 2-3 cups of cream I used to make the butter. It depends on how your taste preferences. I don’t worry about having salted vs. unsalted butter on hand for baking. I’ve yet to notice a difference in a recipe where it called for unsalted butter and I used salted instead. It’s just one less thing I have to manage.
How to Make Sweet Cream Butter
- 1 quart of cream
- ½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
- Sit the cream out on the counter to warm up for an hour or two. Slightly warmed cream (50-60 degrees) whips up into butter more quickly.
- Pour the cream into a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and turn it onto medium (I set it to 4.)
- When the cream begins to separate into small chunks of butter and you can see the buttermilk beginning to gather at the sides, switch to the paddle attachment.
- After the paddle attachment (also set at 4) brings all the butter together, drain the buttermilk into a jar using butter muslin and a canning funnel
- Place the butter back into the mixing bowl and cover the butter with cold water.
- Massage the butter, releasing any remaining buttermilk.
- Drain the cloudy water, refill, massaging again until all the buttermilk is released and the rinse water stays clear.
- Drain the water.
- Massage in ½ tsp., more or less, to taste.
- Keep soft and fresh in a Butter Bell (Like this one.)
- or spread into a silicone pan (I use this one.)to make a stick.