We’ve been getting raw milk (also called Real Milk) from a local farm for a few years. Actually I should say that we’ve been getting raw milk from our cow for a few years. The sale of raw milk is illegal in Ohio, so we participate in what’s called a “Herd Share” program. We bought a cow and we pay the farmer’s to take care of it for us. It’s legal to drink raw milk if it comes from your own cow. This milk is as fresh as you can get, we pick it up the day after it’s milked, it’s unpasteurized and unhomogenized. Since it’s not homogenized the cream rises to the top, it’s also called cream line milk. If you look closely you can see the cream line in the milk on the right.
We pay about the same price for our organic pastured milk as we would for organic milk from the store. We are happy knowing that the farmers that take care of our cow are getting a much better wage for their work than from an organic dairy. It is really delicious milk, it’s hard to explain; but it tastes like milk, unlike the white liquid you buy at the grocery store. It’s fresh and delicious and slightly sweeter than grocery store milk. It’s also wonderful because I do not have lactose intolerance problems like I do with store-bought milk.
Making butter is super easy, all you need is cream and a jar. Of course you can make it in the mixer or the blender, but I prefer to make mine the old fashioned way. I simply shake the cream in a jar until it’s butter. It really doesn’t take long, between 10-20 minutes depending on the cream, temperature and how good of a shaker you are. I prefer to make mine in half gallon jars, but you can use quart or even pint, although the more cream you use the bigger you final batch of butter will be. Fill your jar 25-50% full of cream, I try to keep mine around 40%. The more cream you have in the jar the longer it takes to form butter because there’s less movement of the cream. I also like to keep the cream at about 50-60 degrees to make butter. If it’s too warm the butter will be kind of a whipped butter and it will be more difficult to rinse and knead later on.
While shaking you’ll notice the cream turn from liquid to whipped cream. It will become harder and harder to shake as it gets thicker. Eventually you’ll notice that it will break, this happens when the butter separates from the buttermilk. You’ll definitely notice the difference in sound at this point. As you are shaking, notice the color of the cream as well, it will start to turn more and more yellow as the fat molecules group together.
It will now be easy to shake and you’ll notice the butter will start clumping together. I like to rinse mine when it formed marble sized pieces. Pour the buttermilk out of the jar, but keep the butter in. Make sure you keep your buttermilk, it makes great pancakes, muffins or biscuits. Add some water back into the jar and shake again, do this two or three times until the water is just about clear. Empty butter into a strainer to strain off water. Transfer the butter into a bowl and knead with a spoon until it form a ball, you’ll notice you’ll be working water out of the butter. If the butter is too soft put in the fridge to harden a bit before kneading.
You can add salt to your butter if you’d like, I prefer to keep mine unsalted and sprinkle some salt on my bread after buttering. Homemade butter is really tasty, it has a different taste than store bought butter. I sometimes let the cream sour a bit before churning to make a cultured butter, this only works with raw cream though, you’ll have to add cultures to store bought cream if you want cultured butter. The first time I made butter I was amazed at the color, the stuff I buy from the store is almost white, as you can see mine is very very yellow. This is because the cows we get our milk from are pastured.
We’ve been making most of our own butter since we started getting raw milk. It has become part of our weekly routine, we make about a pound and half of butter each week. Around the holidays I sometimes have to buy butter from a local dairy because I don’t have enough to make all the holiday goodies. Making butter is a great hands on educational activity to enjoy with your kids as well.
Have you ever made butter? Do you prefer butter or margarine?Filed under Going Local, How-To's, Make Your Own, Meat & Dairy | Comments (58)