Making fresh butter at home is one of the activities our developed society lost through “progress”. It’s simply too convenient to go to the store and get a pound of butter off the shelf. Many people probably don’t even know you can make your own butter at home, with minimal equipment.
Butter is one of the foods that has been vilified in the past 40 years as being one of the causes of heart disease, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. The fat composition of butter is 63% saturated, 26% mono-unsaturated, and 4% poly-unsaturated fat. A growing body of evidence shows that saturated fats are extremely important in the make-up of cell walls, brain cells, and other structures, as well as helping increase high-density lipoproteins in the blood. The mono-unsaturated fatty acid most prevalent is butter is oleic acid, the same fatty acid found in olive oil, an omega-9 fat. Finally, the poly-unsaturated fats are mainly the essential omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, in a 1:1 ratio (assuming the butter comes from grass-fed cattle).
I like cooking with butter as it gives the food a rich flavor. I never put butter on bread because I don’t eat any bread. This combination of fats and carbohydrates, a big part of the Standard American Diet, has been shown to be the causative factor of cardiovascular disease. It’s not the butter, it’s the butter acting with the carbohydrates which causes an increase in serum triglycerides, small particle low-density lipoproteins, and promotes inflammation. Butter is the innocent bystander in all this as it is quite harmless, and mostly beneficial, by itself.
Here is what you will need to make butter at home:
- 500mL whole whipping cream at room temperature (I prefer thick raw cream)
- hand mixer with variable speeds
- pour cream in a big bowl (I prefer the bowl to hold about 1.5L for every 500mL of cream)
- set up mixer and place beaters in the cream
- start mixer at lowest setting and stir the cream
- continue mixing until cream starts to “rise” and develop a thicker consistency (at this point, whipped cream will form)
- keep mixing the whipped cream and you willl soon hear the sound of swishing liquid (this is the butter milk)
- the butter will now separate from the butter milk
- once butter has separated, drain all butter milk, rinse butter ball, and squish out the rest of the liquid using your hands
- place the butter ball in a small bowl and refrigerate or use directly (salt or leave unsalted)
- this whole process does not take longer than 25 minutes
This process is fairly intuitive and if done right can yield about a pound of butter and a little butter milk (which is quite delicious). The butter stores in the fridge for a few weeks, just like store-bought butter, or indefinitely in the freezer. To get the most out of the butter, use cream that comes from the milk of grass-fed cows. The butter will be a rich yellow color, as opposed to the off-white of regular butter.