I saw this post for making cultured butter on the America's Test Kitchen Feed website and knew I had to try it. Since the recipe yields about 2 cups of buttermilk and I am making a blackberry buttermilk cake for my birthday this weekend, I thought I should get started soon.
First step is to culture the cream. I started with one pint of Strauss Creamery Organic Heavy Cream--delicious, but at $3.99/pint plus the $1.50 bottle deposit for the sweet little glass container, I had to stop there. I supplemented with locally made Alpenrose Heavy Cream for a total of one quart of heavy cream. To that, I added 1/3 cup of Nancy's organic plain yogurt (nice and tangy!) and shook vigorously. Um...a little too vigorously for my poorly sealed container. He he. We had a little spillage right away. Then it's just the waiting game. I covered the container with a kitchen towel and left it out to sit in our very warm house (thanks for showing up Portland summer) for a little under 24 hours.
I held my breath as I uncovered the container and smelled to see if it was rancid. Heavy cream, no matter the brand, is expensive. If I detected even a hint of rancidity, I would have been screwed. Lucky me, it was fine, and thick like yogurt, which is what I was looking for.
Next step was to chill it for about 2 hours. Perfect! That allowed me to go out for my run and make dinner. This time, I managed to properly seal the container.
After dinner clean up was done, I pulled the cream out, poured it into my stand mixer with the whisk attachments, and set it on its way to becoming butter. A small downside to not having a nicer stand mixer--the bowl moves on mine, not the whisks. That meant the plastic wrap I covered my bowl and mixer with to reduce the splattering mess all over my kitchen was useless. Toward the end after getting buttermilk everywhere, I ended up throwing a Target bag over the whole thing. It worked, but I couldn't really see the progress, so it was a short-lived solution.
Three pieces of plastic wrap, a Target bag, and many wipes later, I had my yellow butter chunks. Now it was time to strain it with the cheesecloth.
Patiently wait a minute for the buttermilk to drain through the cheesecloth and strainer below it into a bowl below. Or, if you're me, use a spatula to push the stuff through all the layers you thought you needed. Eventually, you get this:
After squeezing out the last of the water, you can form three little logs into wax or parchment paper.
And voila! Homemade butter. I opted to leave it unsalted as I prefer it that way and figured anyone who wanted salted butter can just add a little on top.
Get the recipe: Cultured Butter