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Saturday, September 01, 2007

Whipped Cream, Clotted Cream, Butter!

That's right dear readers, I made my own butter. It was super easy and I'm gonna show you how to do it too. :)

I always thought making butter at home required a butter churner and lots of grunt-work. Then I read this article in the New York Times about using a mixer. A light bulb went on in my feeble little brain. Well, of course! Butter churners were just old-fashioned mixers. Huh!

I had to adapt the recipe because I don't want to make 6 cups of butter and because I have a cheapy $6 mixer that doesn't have a whisk attachment. Try it! You'll be amazed at how very simple and quickly everything comes together.

Whipped Cream, Clotted Cream, Butter!

You'll need:

1 pint whipping cream
A pinch of salt

Here's the whipping cream in a bowl with the mixers ready to beat it. I bought a pint of organic heavy whipping cream from Trader Joe's for $3.19 but any kind will do. Their non-organic heavy whipping cream is $2.49. And my local TJ's even has a little sign that says to pour it into a blender to make your own butter. Heh! They must have read that NY Times article too. :P

Cover with plastic wrap around the mixers if you don't want cream to splatter all over your kitchen. I just let my mixer rest against the side of the bowl, flipped the switch to high, and let it go to work. If you want salted butter, add a pinch or two now.

Two to three minutes later, you'll get whipped cream. Yup, this is the same stuff you put on top of pies.

In about 5 minutes (I'm counting from 0 when the mixer got turned on), you'll get clotted cream. This is not quite the lovely thick cream that the Brits spread on crumpets and scones for afternoon tea, but a pretty close approximation since I can't get real clotted cream in America.

In about 8 minutes or so, the cream starts separating into butter and buttermilk.

Stop when you notice that you actually have butter. Homemade butter! And buttermilk!

At this point, you can strain out the buttermilk by packing the butter into a cheesecloth. But homemade butter requires a butter keeper, which I just happened to find on clearance at Marshall's. Amazon has a similar version here.

A French butter keeper works by pouring cold water into the holder on the left. The butter is packed into the bell on the right and gets upended into the holder. The water seals the rim and you can have softened butter at any time. Replace water every other day or so, and the butter keeps at room temperature for a month. Ah, I love non-techy kitchenware. :)

Doesn't the butter look scrumptious? I just packed it into the bell with a spatula and kept pressing to strain the buttermilk out.

One pint of heavy whipping cream made enough butter for the butter keeper (about 1/2 cup?) and half a ramekin (about 1/4 cup?), and about 1 cup of buttermilk.

I tried the butter spread on warm baguettes. So good!

And I tried it spread on a freshly toasted slice of mango bread. So, so good!

I imagine you can experiment by adding herbs or other flavors to the butter.


What do you think I did with the buttermilk? :)


  1. You are my hero! I can't believe you made butter.

  2. Buttermilk pancakes?

    I would have just bought some butter from TJs :P cos I dn't have a mixer to start with!!!

  3. Jaden,
    You can't believe it's butter? Hahaha! I'm awful. :P

    I thought of it. Next time maybe. They said you can try with a blender. Or perhaps you don't have that either? Then whisk by hand really, really, really, really hard! :)

    1. It is also possible to use no whisk. Put some cream in a jar and shake until it separates ;3

  4. You're so cool! I've always wanted to make my own butter! I'll try this soon.

    One thing that's nice is to add chopped herbs, like basil and parsley, to your butter and mix it up. Refrigerate it and then you have herb butter! It's really delicious, and I bet it will be even more delicious with my homemade butter.

  5. What sounds especially yummy is that clotted cream! I have several recipes to try with buttermilk - wonder what you will do with it!

  6. Wow, who knew making all those dairy products was so easy. And that butter looks so good with your mango bread.

  7. That's sooooo cooool! I think I just had a slap-on-the-forehead, why-didn't-I-think-of-that moment! I MUST try this.

  8. Chopsticks,
    That's the most interesting post I've read today! You are a wealth of information.

    I didn't know that clotted cream was just cream that was whipped longer than normal.

    I guess I have always heard not to whip fresh cream too long or it will turn into butter. It just never occured to me to try it.

    It does look delicious!

  9. oh wow! so very cool. i an jsut taste the freshness and creamyness mmmmmm

  10. That is cool! And it does not sound too difficult.

  11. that's so cool! fresh butter! smart smart!

    I'm guessing buttermilk pancakes! ;p

  12. That is SO on my list of things to do very, very soon.

  13. mmm. for "special" butter, i've added roasted red bell peppers, chopped basil, and a squeeze of lime. YUM-MY.

  14. wow thanks for this post! who knew butter was made this way. I would definitely try this one day and add in whatever flavor I want to make my own.

  15. When I was a kid, my teacher had the class shaking jars filled with cream until our arms were about to fall off.. but it worked! I guess that's what you'd call the kid-friendly version of this recipe.

  16. Don't you love it. I make it all the time. So easy and so good! L.'s parents were in town & his dad LOVED it .. so much that he asked me to make him a big container full to take home. I put it in a ziploc container, froze it and then wrapped in foil - made it all the way to Boston! And was still as delicious and fresh when I made it hours before! We are so addicted to it, that I always have a little extra cream in the fridge just for that!

  17. Better yet... add honey and fresh tarragon. Then use it to make scones. YUM!

  18. Yeah, why didn't I think of doing this before too?! I've only made butter once, and that was on a field trip to the Kellogg House.

    Yay, our mixer is still at home!

  19. Anon,
    Thanks. I'm thinking that herbed butter would be great on corn on the cob!

    I was so tempted to stop at the clotted cream and make scones to spread it on!


    I bet it'd be even easier with your Kitchenaid!

    So did I when I first read that article!

    Heh. I figured you would have known this one. :)

    It really does make a difference when eating it fresh and soft.

    Very easy. You should try it.

    Heh, wrong guess. I bet this butter would be good on your next batch of lemon poppyseed muffins!

    Eeek! Centers for Disease Control? ;)

    Oooh, roasted red peppers sounds good!

    So simple isn't it?

    Oh man, I'm a wimp. I couldn't imagine shaking a jar of cream until it turned into butter.

    That's great. I did wrap up my extra butter and save it in the fridge.

    Honey and tarragon. Mmm.

    Hehe, I think all of us wonder that once we realize how simple it is. :)

  20. Who knew it'd be so easy. I have to try this. I love your butter keeper. 30 days at room temp, that's awesome!

  21. Amy,
    The butter keeper is awesome. I made this around the time we had triple digit temperatures and the butter never spoiled!

  22. Sorry guys, over-whipped cream is NOT clotted cream in the British sense.
    Clotted cream is fresh, unpasturised cream left to stand overnight then put over a very low heat, not allowing to boil, until the surface, literally "clots" or gets wrinkly. It's then left in a cold place for at least 12 hours before skimming off the clotted cream. I live in England and have Cornish friends, that's where the best clotted cream comes from.

  23. Nick,
    Hehe. I know it's not the real, real thing. That's much better. But they don't sell clotted cream in America. :(

  24. They do, in fact, sell clotted cream in America. A good place to look is Whole Foods. It's jarred, but it tastes good!

  25. Jennifer,
    Thanks for the tip! In jars huh? I wonder why that is?

  26. I am trying to make your homemade butter recipe. I've been whipping the darn thing for about 30 mins on med-high in my kitchen maid mixer with the whisk attachment. And it's still sooooo fluffy! Any suggestions on what I could do to help it? I am using pasteurized heavy whipping cream that will expire in 2 days. Does that have anything to do with it?
    How long does butter stay good in the fridge for?

  27. NFC,
    I don't think the type of cream should make a difference. The cream needs to be beaten to become butter. A whisk on medium-high may be too gentle. Do you have cake beater attachments? If not, you can also try the blender. The cream becomes butter in literally 8 to 10 minutes if you beat it hard.

    When I make homemade butter, I use my butter keeper and it stays fresh for a month, provided you change the water every other day. I'm not sure how long it'll keep in the fridge without the keeper. Perhaps a week or two?

  28. I did this once by accident with a vanilla cinnamon whipped cream...it made amazing pancakes! Nice work :)

  29. Esi,
    I bet it did. Butter, vanilla, and cinnamon make the best of most baked goods. :)

  30. Re making your own butter. Sorry I'm so late to the party but...

    Another method is to use the beating blades on your food processor. There's nothing flying around the room and it's easier to clean out than your blender. My processor is a commercial version purchased in the late 70's and I've been making butter every couple of weeks since I read the instructions in the processor booklet 8-D

  31. Leslie,
    Great tip. Same principles right? Hard beating? I only have a mini food processor so I haven't been able to try it yet.

  32. ARGH!!! It turns out I twice made butter by accident by over whipping the cream and thought there was something wrong with the cream. The second time thought it weird that whipped cream is ruined by over whipping. Now I know I had fresh made butter and dumped it in the trash!!! The horror!
    Thanks to your post, I'm heading over to Trader Joe's tomorrow for cream and intentionally make butter this time :)

  33. Irisine82,
    Argh! What a waste! Although, if I hadn't known, I would've thought I ruined everything too.

  34. You can also make butter with a heavy glass quart jar, and a couple of marbles. Try to get fresh raw cream (from Jersey or Devon cows - they have the best and most cream - Holstein has far less cream in the milk and it'll take forever to save the cream off the top of the milk container).

    Shake the jar, or have your kiddo's help by rolling the jar on the floor with their feet, for about 20 minutes to half an hour, depending on the cream. The point is to just keep the jar moving at all times. Since it is clear glass, you can see what's happening at all times. When it starts to form little clumps of yellow separating from the liquid, you can stop and pour the liquid into a bowl (save this, it is special and rare buttermilk). Press the little clumps together with a wooden spoon and keep rinsing with filtered, COLD water until the water runs clear. You can also do this by putting the butter into a cheesecloth and draining off the liquid and then rinsing right in the cloth. Knead the butter until the water runs clear. Add sea salt (if desired) and knead some more. Put in fridge if it gets too soft to work, until it hardens up a bit.

    The leftover liquid is not like the buttermilk you buy at the store because it's not cultured. But you can still use it in pancakes, muffins, quick breads, etc. You can culture it, if you wish, by adding a couple of tablespoons of the store-bought cultured buttermilk, and then each time you want to make more, you can just use a couple tablespoons of the stuff you made and it is self-perpetuating.

  35. Sundancer55,
    Marbles?! I guess to get it churning in the jar? Fascinating.


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