Cultured Butter

13 May

ButterIt has been over a year since my last post, and I am truly sorry. This recipe marks my official jump back on the blogging wagon, and I swear I will do my best to hold on this time. As many of you already know, I am currently finishing my first year in the Culinary Arts and Nutrition Program here at Bastyr just north of Seattle. It has been an amazingly challenging and inspiring journey, consisting of a completely new lifestyle, an abundance of hard core sciences and most importantly, a wealth of new culinary motivation.

Over winter quarter I had the pleasure of working as the TA for Chef’s Pantry; a class dedicated to creating a fully stocked cupboard through preservation, pickling and fermentation. Of the many, many amazing recipes and techniques that we covered, the one that stuck with me the most was making fresh butter. Butter is just one of those ingredients that is so unbelievably essential, so unbelievably delicious, and much to my surprise, so unbelievably simple and satisfying to make.  Knowing that it’s always available even if the world were to run out allows me to sleep that much better at night…from the moment I sealed that first jar I immediately felt like a far more competent/worthy human being.

Really it’s easy. All you need is some good quality cream, a splash of buttermilk, a hearty pinch of sea salt, and a little patience (as well as parchment paper or saran wrap, an electric hand mixer, and a roll of paper towels).

Here we go.

Homemade Cultured Butter

Makes one 4 oz mason jar 

*Note: the first step of this process involves making the creme fraiche, which will need to sit for about 1 day before butter making can begin.

Ingredients:

1-cup cream (either from a trusted local source or organic preferably, the difference it makes taste/health wise is absolutely worth it)

2-tablespoons buttermilk

pinch of sea salt plus any other herb/spice desired for seasoning, chopped fine

Directions:

photo

In a glass jar, combine cream and buttermilk. Cover and allow it to sit in a warm, draft free spot for roughly 24 hours (the oven with the pilot light on works great for this). After 24 hours, stir and refrigerate until a thick, sour cream like consistency is reached.

creme fraiche

In a large metal bowl, empty creme fraiche. Using electric beaters, beat on medium high until small solid yellow clumps begin to form and liquid starts to release. This will occur about 5-7 minutes past the whipped cream phase. Begin to carefully pour off liquid, draining off as much as possible.

Butter

Place butter back in the bowl and continue to blend and drain repeatedly until butter begins to form a semi homogenous solid.

Butter

Once the mixture has reached this point, form a large ball using your hands and place it in a bowl of cold water, making sure to fully submerge it in its entirety. Tear off 1 large sheet of either parchment or saran wrap, and set it on a flat working surface. Remove the ball from the water and lightly pat dry with a paper towel. Place the ball on your parchment/saran and using a wooden spoon, spread mixture into a thin, flat surface. Again, using paper towels, blot butter dry. Continue to spread and blot repeatedly, sopping up as much liquid as possible. Excess liquid will cause the butter to spoil, so this step is very important. Once butter is thoroughly dried, add salt/herbs and spices. Spread once more to incorporate the added seasonings, then pack tightly into a small mason jar.

IMG_0495Butter should last for at the very least a couple of weeks to a couple of months, again depending on the amount of liquid remaining after drying. Do note that this butter will be/should be slightly tangy due to starting with creme fraiche. Spread it on your favorite toast, fry up your morning eggs with it, or eat it with a spoon. Enjoy, and stay tuned for more to come soon!

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