Whipping and Spanking Your Butter
That is not a euphemism. Homemade butter is easy and SO much better than store-bought, but it does involve some light BDSM, so hide the children.
Who among us has not had the urge to chuck their responsibilities, go back to nature and live a simpler, less complicated life? I know I have and, for some reason, the fantasy always involves churning my own butter.
I grew up over a highway in the Bronx, so I have no idea where that fantasy came from, but it got me through my childhood black lung.
Now that I’m an adult, of course, I could always buy a wooden churn but my family placed a moratorium on my large appliance purchasing after I came home with a wine bottle corking machine.
So, no churn. As a wise man once said, I knew there had to be a better way.
It just so happens that you don’t need a wooden churn to make the best butter you’ve ever tasted. All you need is some heavy cream, an electric mixer, a kitchen towel and a strong will to live. It sounds simple because it is, although you will need to set aside some time to coax the cream to become a stick or round of butter by indulging its lurid little dairy kinks.
When you are done, you will have a lot of really good butter, which is a lovely thing to have. And for those who eschew butter because the vegetable oil industry told you that it is bad for you, I say “Pshaw!” I forget who said this — it could have been Julia Child — but there is nothing wrong with a little butter. A pat of slightly melty butter spread on a corn muffin is heaven on earth. Why would you deprive yourself of such a thing? As long as it’s not a major part of your diet, you’re good.
And, if you are so inclined, you can make compound butter by mixing in whatever you like, such as herbs, onion or garlic powder, or even flower petals. Mix in some thyme, garlic and black pepper and then melt a pat of that on top of a good piece of steak. You will never go back. Or use compound butter to sauté some vegetables until they are coated with that silky flavor.
The perfect time to make butter is on a day off when you are stumbling around looking for something to do. You will need a few hours to make this happen, so clear your schedule. Set up your electric mixer and get ready to whip and spank. Let’s show this heavy cream who’s boss.
1 qt heavy cream
1 electric mixer1
Kitchen towel and/or raincoat3
Two flat, wooden paddles or wooden spoons4
Pour heavy cream into a large bowl (this stuff will expand) or the bowl that comes with your mixer.
Turn on the mixer to low at first, because this stuff will splash all over the place. Hence the kitchen towel. I wrap the towel around the mixer to avoid a mess. It will become less necessary as the cream firms up.
Up the speed of the mixer to medium. The whole process of making butter is about patience. You will be whipping this for about 20-25 minutes (this is what I meant by having a strong will to live).
While you are whipping and the cream is begging for more, it will go from liquid cream to whipped cream and, if you keep whipping past the whipped cream stage, it will eventually start turning a pale yellow.
Keep whipping. Just as you are cursing me and my descendants in perpetuity for making you do this, a wondrous thing will happen: The whipped cream will “break,” and it will separate into buttery curds and butter milk. You are going to pour off the buttermilk and keep the butter. Some people keep the buttermilk for baking, which is great. I am not that person.
6. Now we need to extract the rest of the buttermilk from the butter. You don’t have to, but this will extend the life of your butter and it isn’t much trouble. Grab a handful of butter from the bowl and, over your sink, squuueeeeze it into a ball. You will be surprised at how much more buttermilk comes out. Wait, we’re not done yet.
7. Place the squozed butterballs into a bowl of ice water and roll them around a little. This will rinse any more buttermilk off and help it firm up a bit.
8. Squeeze them a bit more and pat them dry. You can keep the butter just like this, but most people like to shape them. I like my butter in sticks. Sure, you can buy a butter mold, but remember, I am still indulging my “Little House on the Prairie” fantasy.
And that, my friend, is why we are going to spank the butter. Place a ball of butter on a cutting board and get out those wooden paddles.
9. Using both paddles, start smacking the butter into a roughly rectangular shape. Turn the butter and spank it on all sides. Bad, bad butter. Who’s your mommy?
Sorry, I drifted. Anyway … once it is in satisfactory shape, wrap it in plastic wrap, label it (please, for the love of all that is holy, label your projects) and stick your homemade butter in the fridge. You will probably have more than you need for now, so freeze what you won’t use in the next week or so.
This is how much butter I made from one quart of cream. And it is pure, unadulterated, extremely submissive delight.
Until next time,
You can do this by hand, but God help you. You can go expensive and buy a KitchenAid, or you can buy a Cuisinart which is half the price at the time of this writing. With a bowl, without a bowl, it matters not, just don’t get out a whisk and think you can do this manually. Trust me on this.
This is a small pinch for flavor. It’s not enough to make this “salted butter,” but if that is what you are after, by all means, add more. You do you.
You think I’m kidding, but just wait.