I believe I've previously mentioned the fact that I was completely obsessed with the Little House on the Prairie book series growing up. Totally devoted pioneer fan girl. My parents had to endure a constant stream of facts about pioneer life that all started with "In the olden days when Lauren Ingles Wilder was little they would (insert fact about pioneer life here)". For me, the best part of those books was any part describing how their prepared their food, especially the cheese and butter. I wonder if it was normal for a little girl to dream about owning a cow and a butter churn..
Fast forward to the future (aka present day) and even though I'm having trouble finding room for a cow in my place I do own a butter churn of sorts. More specifically, I learned that you can easily make butter in your food processor. Upon learning that fact a few months ago I immediately tried it out and posted about my buttery success.
Homemade butter.. could it get any better for a pioneer loving girl like myself?
(spoiler: yes, yes it could)
Although the butter from my first attempt had turned out creamy and delicious I had wondered why the liquid that was squeezed from the butter wasn't proper buttermilk. It didn't have the right consistency or tang and I ended up tossing it which seemed like a waste.
Now thanks to Cheesepalooza the mystery has been solved! If I wanted to make proper buttermilk I needed to add a culture to the cream before churning it.
The process was very straightforward. I just gently heated the cream, added the specified amount of Aroma B powder and then let the cream sit at room temperature for 12 hours followed by 12 hours in the fridge. After that I just repeated the food processor churning process:
1. Fit your food processor with the chopping blades. Add the cream to your food processor bowl. I have a 12 cup Cuisinart Elite food processor that whips this stuff up like a dream. If your food processor is smaller then churn the cream in batches so that you give the cream room to expand.
2. Turn the food processor on and let it whip and whip and whip. First it will turn into a whipped cream, then it will start curdling and the buttermilk will begin to make a sloshing sound. Take a look and if you have curds of butter surrounded by buttermilk then it's time for the next step!
3. Strain the butter in a strainer lined with cheese cloth or a j-cloth over a bowl to catch the buttermilk. Set the buttermilk aside and return the butter to the food processor bowl.
4. Add very cold water to the food processor bowl (I usually have a bowl with ice water ready) and pulse the butter a few times to rinse it. Carefully pour out the water and then add more water to the bowl and rinse again.
5. Rinse your hands with cold water and then squeeze and sort of knead the butter in batches to remove as much of the water as possible.
The difference in flavor between the butter churned from the fresh uncultured cream and the butter churned from the culture cream is very noticeable. The cultured butter reminds me of the butter I had while traveling in France: a mild but distinct flavor that you don't find in butter here in Canada.
The reward for the extra work of adding the culture to the cream (which wasn't really work, it just meant waiting a bit longer) was this thick and tangy buttermilk which is waiting in my fridge to be used for oatmeal buttermilk bread.
Homemade bread made with homemade buttermilk spread with homemade butter means that I can spend breakfast pretending that I live in a little house on the prairies (which is almost true.. I live in a little house in a city surrounded by prairies).
If you want to make your own cultured butter then grab a copy of Artisan Cheese Making at Home for the recipe! If you just want to make butter then follow the food processor directions with regular whipping cream. Pioneer time!