Making butter is one of the simplest, yet most satisfying things to do. The moment the cream splits and the first little golden gems start to coagulate in the bowl fills me with excitement every time. I’m a butter fiend and would happily eat it straight up, like cheese, but when presenting it to people, say on a cheese board or even just on toast (food of the gods) you do feel a great sense of pride for such a staple ingredient. Once you do this and see how simple it is I can guarantee you will do it time and time again.
Alright, so you’ll need double cream. Quantity, type, etc is up to you, but it all should work, (a rough guide of 2 pints of cream = 500g of butter and 500ml buttermilk). You are also going to need a device of the whisking variety. Preferably one with a lid that will help stop the spluttering, but if your in pre season training, then you can go at it with a good old hand whisk! You don’t need butter bats, but apparently they make it easier to shape into blocks, if your after some mainstream butter vibes. Cold is the Key.
Pour your double cream into a cold, clean mixing bowl and whisk on a medium speed until it is thick and then, just keep on whipping until the cream collapses and separates into the afore mentioned golden gems of butterfat, the buttermilk ‘sloshing’ around the bowl separate from the butter. Turn this mixture out into a cold, scrupulously clean sieve and drain well, collecting the buttermilk below. Put the butter back in the bowl and beat for a further 30 or so seconds to remove anymore buttermilk. Sieve as before. It is important that the butter remains cold when handling so fill a bowl with super cold water, add some ice if you’re feeling like Bear Grylls, and add the mound of butter.
Removing from the water, knead the butter in your hands to force out the any remaining butter milk, and rinsing in the cold water again. Keep it cold. Do this a couple of times until the water starts to run clear. This is important as any buttermilk left in the butter will turn sour and the butter will go off a lot quicker. From here I like to stick the butter in the fridge for 15 minutes to firm up. Take it out of the fridge, mould into your desired shape and wrap your bar of gold in greaseproof or waxed paper. Unsalted butter should be eaten in a few days – but like all things, use you eyes and you nose and you make the call. The buttermilk, another reason I love to make butter, can be used for many things, such as making soda bread, desserts or just drinking. Go forth and make butter.