This homemade butter might be completely obsolete today when butter is available in every shop but there was a time, not so long ago, that people just needed to know how to make it. Granted, this was before my time, but I remember my grandmother telling me about how she made butter and even though she was not so gifted in the kitchen this was just something everyone needed to know – a bit like boiling a kettle by today’s standards. As a self-proclaimed progressivist, I feel that there are so many things in the past that need to stay there. You do not need to shoe your own horse to pull your own plough to turn your own soil to grow your own crops. Supermarkets sort all that for you. Better yet, do it online. In your PAJAMAS! But I do feel that there is something so quaint and charming about the old-school way of turning cream to butter and buttermilk just like our ancestors and just like our ancestors, using the buttermilk for soda bread and the butter for the spuds. Though unlike our ancestors, I’m happy to leave all the back-breaking churning in the past by swapping it for my beast of a kMix 500 watt freestanding mixer.
If this nostalgia doesn’t float your boat then consider where your butter comes from and how many ingredients go into it. This recipe has just two or one if you opt for unsalted butter. Shop bought butter can sometimes have food colouring to give it a crazy yellow colour. Also, in many countries most cows are fed corn or grain and the grass-fed cows are the hot commodity giving better beef and dairy. So if you get your hands on some cream that you know is from grass-fed cows then give this a whirl! We don’t really have this problem in Ireland as our high quality grass-fed beef and dairy is a small bonus for the deluge of rain we get. Generally grass-fed makes for happy cows, which in turn make great milk though our poor cows here, I’m sure, are wet, miserable and fat but very, very tasty.
- 1 L cream
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- Beat the cream vigorously until the fat separates from the buttermilk (10-20 minutes).
- Reserve the buttermilk for baking and pour ice-cold water onto the butter and mix again to wash it.
- After a minute or two, pour out the water and wash again with more ice water.
- Repeat this until the water runs out clean.
- Work the butter with a spatula ringing out any water inside.
- Add the salt and mix in.
- Shape with butter paddles and cover with parchment or greaseproof paper.