I love Kerrygold butter so much that it would seem pointless to make my own butter, except for the reason that raw butter is healthier, especially if it’s cultured. Culturing increases the enzyme and vitamin content.
I tend to make everything in smaller quantities than is recommended in Nourishing Traditions, which pretty much calls for a quart of everything. I’d rather do smaller batches in case I mess up–I’d rather not waste expensive ingredients.
First, I scooped out a pint of raw cream from the top of a gallon of milk that had extra cream in it (I had complained that my previous gallon did not have much cream, so I got a free gallon with loads of cream–score!). I put the pint of cream on the counter to culture at room temperature for seven or eight hours.
Using the blender is faster, but I have not tried it yet. Shaking it in a mason jar is easy enough, only takes about five minutes, and then I don’t have to clean a blender. The trick is to make sure that the cream fills no more than half the jar–too much and you will be shaking forever. If you are making a lot of butter, it’s probably better just to use a blender, but for small amounts the mason jar method makes perfect sense to me.
I go outside and do this over the grass, just in case the jar slips. I haven’t dropped a jar yet, but better safe than sorry. Plus, I love working outside. You just shake and shake. It will get really thick and then all of a sudden you will have butter splashing around in buttermilk. When you hear the splashing sound, you know you have butter. I keep shaking a bit longer for good measure.
Next, you pour the buttermilk into a clean jar and refrigerate. The butter you must wash. I thought washing butter was so weird, but it’s the only way to get all the buttermilk out. If you use ice cold water, it will stiffen the butter a bit, making the washing easier. Put the butter into a bowl, add water, squeeze with a big spoon, and watch the water turn cloudy. Dump, add new water and repeat until water remains clear.
Next, you have to dry the butter. I chill it a bit first, otherwise the butter sticks to the towel. When you’ve dried the butter, put it in a container. All done.
When I use my cultured butter, I let it melt gently on my food, so as not to kill the delicate nutrients. I don’t cook with this butter (that’s what my pasteurized butter from the store is for).
The cultured buttermilk can be used in pancakes, for soaking grains, or anything else you would put buttermilk in. I put some in our porridge the other day instead of regular milk. It was very good.