February 23, 2014 § 1 Comment

You guys, I made butter!  This is probably one of those hipster things that is economically nonsensical (it’s cheaper to buy butter), but this was so fun – like a science experiment!  Also, it tastes really good.  See the two extra ‘variation’ recipes at the end!  Note: this recipe yields 1 cup of butter, and 1 cup of buttermilk.

Mmmm, creamy.

Mmmm, creamy.

This actually required cobbling together multiple sets of online instructions.  It’s not hard, but everyone does it differently (some use cream in a mason jar and shake the bejeesus out of it, some use a food processor, others use their mixers).  I joined the mixer bandwagon and whipped this up in about 15 minutes.  Here we go!


  • pint (2 cups) heavy cream, try to avoid ultrapasteurized, as apparently it affects flavor; the better the cream, the better the butter
  • salt to taste – don’t add until you’re done (I used a very tiny amount, less than 1/8 tsp)


  1. If using a standing mixer, put the bowl in the fridge to chill it down.  When you want to make butter, retrieve it and the cream from the fridge.
  2. Dump the cream in the mixer, fit mixer with whisk attachment, and then whisk the bejeesus out of it.  Drape a clean dish cloth over the whole thing, as towards the end there will be splatter.
  3. Mix on second highest setting (don’t know why – I eventually got bored of waiting and cranked it all the way up) for as long as it takes for the butter milk to separate from the butter.  This can vary dramatically.  For me, with the standard Kitchen-Aid, it took about 12 minutes total.
  4. When the butter has separated from the buttermilk (use the buttermilk in a recipe!  may I suggest homemade ranch dressing?), you need to squeeze the butter to get all the buttermilk out.  I dumped my butter in a mesh strainer and pressed it with a spoon.
  5. Next you rinse the butter under very cold water (so as not to melt the butter) to get all traces of butter milk off it – apparently if you leave any behind it 1) tastes tangy, and 2) can go rancid faster.
  6. Now, all that’s left to do is salt!  Sprinkle with as much salt as you like (I’d start with 1/8 tsp) and knead it into the butter.  Put butter in an airtight container and enjoy!

Note: while ‘churning’ the butter will go through several stages (see photos at very bottom of post).  First, it will turn into whipped cream.  Yum.  Then it will look like you over whipped the cream – kind of lumpy whipped cream.  Then, after a very long time (at least 10 minutes for me) it will start to look curdled (photo 2).  I kept going after that for another few minutes until I heard splashing in the bowl (photo 3).  That’s when I yanked the butter.

Variation 1: cultured butter

This is a slight variation that requires ‘culturing’ the cream over night before you make the butter.  Apparently culturing it gives it more complex flavors.  I did a side-by-side taste comparison and my thoughts are: it is also delicious.  Not sure I could actually detect the ‘complexity’, but I’ll do it again in the future if I remember.


  • same as above
  • 2 Tbsp yogurt

Directions (see here)

  1. The night before you want to make butter, mix the cream and yogurt together in a large bowl, and set on a counter with a clean dish towel draped over it.  After 12-24 hours, the mixture will have thickened slightly, be foamy, and smell tangy/sweet.
  2. After it has been cultured overnight and is looking/smelling right, put in fridge for an hour (in the bowl of your standing mixer would be smart!).
  3. Proceed as in recipe above.

Variation 2:  Herbed Butter

If you want to be even fancier, you can make your freshly ‘churned’ butter into delicious herb butter!

Ingredients (adapted from Ina Garten)

  • half a pound of butter
  • 1/4 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 Tbsp minced scallions
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh basil
  • 1 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp table salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper


  1. Put everything in the bowl of a standing mixer.
  2. Mix together until just combined (not whipped).
  3. Put in airtight container.
Herb butter

Herb butter

Butter stages:

Whipped cream stage

Whipped cream stage

Curdled stage, early.

Curdled stage, early.

Final butter stage

Final butter stage


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