Homemade Butter

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I have always been partial to butter.  Not margarine mind you, but butter.  Unsalted.  When husbie and I began to change our diet a few years ago leaning more towards natural, organic, traditional foods, I was delighted to discover that this lovely stuff had so many health benefits.

Butter is an excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and Vitamin E.

These occur in the largest amounts when butter is made from grass fed cows  and they serve as “activators” helping the body to utilize the minerals we ingest.

Butter also contains the Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids.

In smaller amounts, but every little bit helps right?

and…

Butter (again from grass fed cows) contains conjugated linoleic acid.

CLA has been known to have strong anti cancer properties.

The benefits however don’t come from the 1# off-brand boxes I was getting at the conventional grocery store.  The key was to obtain butter made from the raw milk of grass fed cows.  My challenge wasn’t in finding such a product ~ I was able to easily locate some with no trouble at all.  My challenge was working it into the grocery budget.  Fortunately for us, we live within easy access to a dairy that provides affordable raw milk and cream so I decided to learn how to make the butter myself.  The results were far superior even to the top of the line brand at the fancy schmancy natural food store, and happily for us, at about half the price.

Homemade butter is easy to make, and takes very little time.   You just need a food processor, about a quart of very heavy (preferably raw) cream, and about a half an hour.

Pour the cream into the bowl of your food processor, cover with the lid, turn it on, and let it go.   You will notice that the cream will first thicken, then it will take on a coarse grainy texture.

1. Pour cream into the bowl of your food processor.
2. The cream as it thickens.
3. Cream with a “grainy” texture ~ keep going!

The first time I made butter, I thought it was done at this point but you want to keep going.  Shortly after it reaches this stage, the color will deepen to a beautiful yellow, the grains will begin to hold together and separate from the buttermilk.

The butter has formed a ball and started to separate from the buttermilk.

Turn off the food processor.  You will find the butter has formed a lump and is swimming in the buttermilk.  Drain off the buttermilk, and transfer the butter to a bowl.

You can use the buttermilk for baking or what have you.  Note however that this is not cultured buttermilk.  That is an entirely different product.  This won’t have the same depth of flavor and consistency but it will still work just fine in pancakes or biscuits.

With clean hands, gather the butter into a ball and gently squeeze the excess liquid out over the bowl.  This will be a repeated process and will take a little bit of doing. I’ve heard that some like to rinse the butter with water, but I’ve not found that to be necessary.

Left: Pour off buttermilk
Right: Squeeze out excess liquid while forming into a ball

Once the liquid has been squeezed from the butter, form it into a nice shaped ball and keep refrigerated in a covered container.  Salt may be added for preservation but please, please don’t salt your butter.   If you enjoy it as much as we do, it won’t be around for very long and preserving it for any length of time will be unnecessary.

2 quarts of heavy cream will yield approximately 2 cups of buttermilk and one pound of butter.

The nutrition tidbits were taken from this book which I highly recommend:

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Homemade Butter — 46 Comments

  1. I should try it in my food processor again. I tried it in my mixer a few times, and it never did finish. So we’ve been shaking it in quart jars for over a year now.

  2. Wow, that looks wonderful. I love homemade items and especially ones with such health benefits too. Might have to try this out myself…thanks for sharing.

  3. We go through it pretty quickly and this morning we’re out of cream so we had to use the other stuff ~ we refer to it as “the poison butter” :P It tasted so bland though by comparison we’ve decided not to use it on the table at all anymore and just stick primarily to what we can make ourselves.

  4. I’ve been so focused on making cheese lately, that I completely forgot about making butter!! I’m so delighted by your how-to and will head to the dairy soon to get fixings for butter. :-)

    • I was reluctant at first because I make so many things from scratch that it just seemed like one more thing to do. However, it is wonderful stuff that it is really worth the little effort that it takes. Marco usually steps in and helps me out ~ in fact making butter has become his job.

    • I think I may have read that a while back. I’ll have to look it up and read it again though. I wonder if it is available in kindle format…

    • Thank you! It is really easy and tastes so much better than what you get in the store. We go through it so quickly with just the two of us that I have a hard time keeping it on hand.

    • I’ve never been much for margarine either. My mother fortunately “saw the light” early on and so I never really used it for baking or at the table. It is wonderful to discover that (for a change) something that tastes so good is so good for you. Thank you so much for dropping by!

  5. Jenny your butter looks fabulous! I absolutely hate margarine but I didn’t know I hated it because I was raised on margarine just another thing that could have contributed to my Thyroid Cancer that thank goodness I have made a complete recovery from. I love my butter unsalted too :) When I go to restaurants and they serve margarine I just skip it and put a tiny bit of jam on my toast. Thanks so much for linking up to “The Ole’ Saturday Homesteading Trading Post” this week!

    • I learned about using unsalted butter years ago through The Joy of Cooking Christmas Cookie cookbook and I’ve never used anything else. Health issues were also what prompted us to take better care with our diet; I’m glad that you’ve recovered. :) Thanks for hosting your virtual “get together” we’re sort of the new kid on the block and looking for ways to get connected.

  6. I really want to make this soon! I am featuring this post on my “Pinterest Monday” section of planprepareandprovide.com. It will be up on July 23rd. Thanks!

  7. Thank you Leanne! I hope that you will enjoy it. I took a quick peek at your site and it looks like you all are doing the same thing we are. I look forward to spending more time reading some of your posts.

  8. Hi Rachel, I use about 2 pints and I’m guesstimating that it makes about 8-12 oz of butter with 1 cup of buttermilk. I’m getting ready to whip up another batch over the weekend and I’d be happy to measure the amounts to give you exact figures.

    Edit: Rachel I made up some butter this morning. 2 Pints of cream will yield 2 cups of buttermilk and approx. 1# of butter (15.7oz to be exact).

  9. I think I’ll try making my own butter after reading your post and all the comments. An informative and inspiring sharing of information.

  10. Good posts on the health benefits of REAL FOOD butter! However, I can’t believe you don’t have an “old-timey” butter churn! I have one! Bought it off ebay a few years back. Mine is circa 1950′s, has a cute little red top, and steel paddles, and it works like new! These are so much better than relying on electricity to ‘git ‘er done’ – just my opinion, of course. But that shaking a jar thing? I could do that. Sure glad I don’t have to!

    • Ya know I saw a picture of one of those on Pinterest a few weeks ago. I will have to see if we can find one. That would be a great little gadget to have and since its vintage it would probably look much prettier sitting on the counter than a food processor.

  11. Found you from Fresh Foods Wednesday! We recently made the switch to raw milk and I tried butter one time, but was unsuccessful. I’ll have to try again. We are a small homestead in Iowa in Iowa in the making! Hope you’ll pop over to my blog, too. :-)

  12. i’m so jealous that you have access to raw dairy products. lucky. i’m hoping once we move to ontario i might be able to find a cow share or something. i’ve always wanted to make my own butter.

    p.s. good on you not eating margarine! that stuff scares the crap out of me!

    thank you for taking the time to link up with us at the Wednesday Fresh Foods Blog Hop! We hope to see you again this Wednesday with more fantastic seasonal & real food posts :) xo, kristy

    • I was fortunate that my mom saw the evils of margarine early on and switched to butter. She also saw the value of raw milk and we drank it often when I was growing up. We are very fortunate to have access to this local dairy. They’ve been operating since the ’20s and I hope they will keep at it.

  13. I just stumbled onto your blog – and love it! I do have a question though – At the end of the butter recipe, it says “2 quarts of butter will yield approximately 2 cups of buttermilk and one pound of butter.” I am thinking it was meant to say -” 2 quarts of heavy cream will yield 2 cups of buttermilk and onoe pound of butter”. Is that correct? Thanks for the favor of your reply.

    Faith Debes, Fallston, MD – mandy2611@verizon.net

    • OOoops!! You are right! I’m so sorry. Yes that should read 2qts of heavy cream. I will edit that. Thank you so much for catching that for me and thanks for reading. :D

  14. Butter is so yummy and good for ya. Just found your blog..looking forward to reading your journey as you are living our dream of one day having a little farm.

    • Debbie it depends on where you live. Here in OK raw milk is not allowed to be sold in stores but it can be sold off the farm. We’re fortunate to live within close range of a dairy. I think if you had very heavy pasteurized cream it should still work. The advantage of having the raw stuff is all the extra enzymes.

  15. I love this post! I just found your site today. It’s nice to read that so many other people are also enjoying gardening, natural foods and simplifying life. My mother and grandmother were organic gardeners since the early 1960′s and I was raised in that culture, even though we lived in the city. I’m inspired to see if we have any convenient dairies close by. :)

    • Thank you Terry! It is so nice to meet you. That is wonderful to hear about your mother and grandmother. We’re new to the homestead life having just moved out here last Oct. But we’re really enjoying it so far. Thanks for reading. :)

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