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Thursday, December 9, 2010

"Honey, have you seen my churn?"


I have been pining for the European style, high fat butter ever since I moved to BC from California eight years ago.  I used to use Plugra butter which when sliced, even cold right of the ice box, would bend like cheese as opposed to snap in two like most regular butter.  I'm sure similar butter exists here but I have yet to find it. It's not like I've been looking really hard, mind you.


The quest to find some reappeared when I started this baking biz thing. I mean, good butter makes the difference in my book so off I went searching the internet for suppliers in Vancouver. I did find a store that purportedly carries Farmhouse butter (84% fat!). A company more known for their cheese but also makes butter in small batches. And I sped off to grab a pound or two and was met with a rather forlorn looking sales clerk who looked quizzically at me. "High fat butter content, you say? Hmmmm. Well, sometimes we get Farmhouse butter but....hmmmm.....I don't see it...we do have this French butter (at $14 per 1/2 lb)". Aside from that lonely package of butter the whole display case was devoid of butter. Well, what did I expect. It was a cheese shop.

Oddly enough, I was chatting with my fellow foodie, Barb, and she told me she actually learned how to make butter at THE Farmhouse! Coincidence? I think not. She told me the ├╝ber simple method and I set off to make the darn stuff myself.

Here we have some good quality whipping cream. Some recipes call for adding yogurt with live cultures. This produces, guess what, cultured butter which has a little bit stronger flavor. I just went with plain cream and set it out on the counter for 24 hours. I did leave the cap on, though. Not sure if this makes any difference but....that's what I did. You can see the butter fat on the top of the bottle here. 

After 24 hours I placed it back in the icebox for another 24 hours. After that I dumped it in my trusty food processor and pressed start. (Man, to think it took almost 20 minutes with an old fashioned churn, not to mention a workout, just to get some butter. I guess they earned it back in those days. All I have to do is press the start button. Thank you technology!) After about two minutes I saw the transformation from thick whipped cream to a grainy textured cream then all of a sudden BOING! I saw two separate components. Butter and butter milk.

Strained and then rinsed in water. You have to do this really well so the butter won't spoil and go sour. 

When that's done......BUTTER! Feel free to spread liberally.