How to Make Butter by
Churn, Beater or Jar with Recipes
Learn how to make butter with a
traditional butter churn, electric beater or just a simple jar. Follow
making instructions for your own homemade butter making including
as your cream
has a high fat content, and is 2-3 days old, you should have no problem
at all making delicious butter without any additives or preservatives.
We also tell you how to make clarified butter.
In days gone by, butter making was done
in every household, as well as cheese
making. However, people tend to be too busy with
families and careers these days, and the art is not widely practiced.
However, I like homemade butter because at least I know what went into
I can also use the buttermilk for making cheese, feeding my chickens,
or adding to my
bread dough and muffin mixture as it make them that much lighter!
Tips on How to Make Butter
To be successful with
making butter you need to make sure that:
- Your cream has a high fat content.
Cream from Jersey cows, therefore, ensures success as the cream that
they produce has just what you are looking for in fat content.
- Your cream isn't too fresh. It needs to be a
couple of days old so that it has ripened sufficiently to turn into
delicious homemade butter.
- The cream needs to be ripened at the right temperature
otherwise your butter can be bitter.
- The cream should not be too thick.
- The milk should come from grass-fed cows. Those fed on hay
will not give you a good tasting butter.
How to Make Butter by Separating the Cream from the Milk
There are 3 ways of separating the cream from the milk:
1) Shallow pan method
2) Deep setting method
3) Separator machine
The shallow pan method makes good butter if you don't have a separator
machine. While the milk is still warm from the cow place the
into shallow pans 6-8 inches deep. Leave to stand for 12 - 24 hours and
then skim off the cream with a perforated skimmer spoon.
produced like this is usually very good. It will be thick and sweet and
under favorable conditions will make excellent butter. However, if you
are doing this in a warm climate then your cream will probably spoil
before you get the chance of making your butter.
2) The deep
setting method is allowing the milk to sit in milk cans at a depth of
about 15 inches, with or without the lids on. They are then immersed in
cold, running water.
Cream produced like this will give you
quite a large quantity, however it will be thin with a poor percentage
of fat, resulting in not the best of butters.
3) Using a milk
separator will separate your cream from the milk in minutes. You will
have the most success by making butter from cream separated like this.
produced like this will yield more cream than the other 2 methods.
There will be no more than 1% fat left behind. This means more cream,
which means more butter.
How to Make
Butter by Ripening the Cream
As already mentioned
your cream has to be well ripened in order to make good butter. How
many days this will take will depend on the weather.
During the summer
you can pour the cream out into a deep pan during the early evening and
make your butter the following morning.
However, during the winter, you will have to ripen your cream near on
open fire, turning the pan occasionally to make sure that heat reaches
the cream evenly, and this is done over 2 -3 days.
not cover the cream. You need to expose it to the air, as the air will
produce the lactic acid bacteria for the ripening that you are after.
Even stirring it from time to time will help in letting the air into
What you are wanting at that end of this is for the cream to clabber.
This means that when you tilt the pan the whole lot leaves the sides
cleanly and the liquid holds together and moves as one mass. This shows
you that the cream has clabbered. It will also have started to sour.
Cream, when ready for churning, has a smooth, velvety appearance and a
pleasant acid flavour.
However, you don't want it to go rotten. This is when the ripening
process in your butter making has gone on for too long and has spoiled.
You will know when this has happened because the cream will curdle and
separate. If you make butter from curdled milk it will not make good
So, now, at this point, perhaps you want to get a little more
scientific about your homemade butter.
best results in cream ripening are obtained at a temperature of from 58
to 68 Fahrenheit, although the lactic acid bacteria increase in
activity up to a temperature of 100 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit. If the
cream is ripened at a temperature higher than 75 degrees Fahrenheit you
will not end up with good butter. Your butter will end up being too
It is not safe to ripen cream
60 F. Cream quickly ripened
and then held at a temperature of 45 F. for 24
hours will clabber correctly, won't rot or make your butter bitter.
However, if you hold the cream at say, 45 F. for 24 hours
and then ripen your cream the butter will develop a bitter flavor.
How to Make
Butter the Traditional Way with a Churn and Dasher
Traditionally butter was made using a butter churn and a dasher. It was
either a wooden butter burn that stood upright, or a stone
pottery cylindrical vessel that narrowed at the top
that was big enough to place the dasher into. Later on there were
butter churns that were barrel shaped and came with a handle, glass
butter churns fitter with an egg-beater like contraption, and later
electic-driven butter churns. I prefer a stone pottery butter churn as
they are easier to keep clean and free of bacteria.
A dasher is a wooden butter churning tool that could be made in two
ways. It was a long-handled pole with 2 slats attached to the base of
the pole each placed in the opposite direction to the other so that you
end up with a cross. Each wooden slat was about 4 inches long, 2 inches
wide and 1/2 inch thick.
Another way of making a dasher was to make a circular base, 4
inches in diameter and 1 inch thick. Drilled out of this circular base
were 4 holes, 1inch in diameter, and equidistant from each other.
Make sure your churn and dasher is abolutely clean before you
start making your homemade butter. This is very important as your cream
will be full of bacteria which will spoil your butter. Scald the butter
churn with boiling water, and follow with a thorough rinsing of cold
should be cooled down to the churning temperature for several hours
before churning, as this gives a much firmer butter than if it is
merely cooled down just before churning.
Generally speaking, the normal churning temperature
is 55 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit, but the temperature may vary from 50 to
62 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you churn when the cream is too high a temperature
it will produce butter in a very short time, but with a loss of fat in
If you churn when the cream is too low a temperature
you will be churning for a very long time and the butter produced will
be hard and difficult to work with.
In summer a churning temperature of from
54 to 56 degrees Fahrenheit is wanted and in winter
from 58 to 62 degrees Fahrenheit will give good results under
quantities of cream require a lower churning temperature, from 48
degrees Fahrenheit in summer and up to 56 degrees Fahrenheit in winter.
Lifestyles Tip for How to Make Butter: Regulate the
temperature of the cream by either putting the cream into a bowl that
has been placed on top of another bowl packed with crushed ice blocks
or hot water. Stir until the correct temperature has been reached.
the temperature and thickness may be regulated at the same time by
adding the water warm, or cold, as required. Under no circumstances put
ice or hot water directly into the cream.
Place the dasher into the churn and
pour in the clabbered cream through a strainer to remove any grass etc.
that may be in your cream.
Fill the churn until it is 1/3rd full. Never more. At this stage you
could add annatta to color your butter, but I never bother. If your
cows are grass fed, your butter will have some color to it anyway, but
if they are hay-fed the butter will be more white in color. The color
shouldn't worry you, as having no additional color does not affect the
taste at all.
Close up the churn with the tight fitting
wooden lid that has a hole for the dasher but will prevent the cream
from splashing everywhere.
For the next 30-40 minutes agitate the cream by moving the dasher up
and down continually until your cream starts turning to butter.
You don't want to churn too quickly as this will make the
hang around the churn and not gather into the fat globules you need.
Too slowly, and you have issues again.
more quickly you churn your cream, the paler, and softer your butter
will be and less rich than if you churn more slowly. When it is summer
you will need to churn slower so that you don't end up with soft, white
butter. In the winter you need to churn more quickly to keep the
Don't over-churn your
butter . If you do, you will end up losing that lovely
yellow color and again your butter will be pale.
Lifestyles Tip for How to Make Butter:
For the first 5 minutes of churning,
open up the vent from time to time. There will be some
gas build-up in your churn, and by allowing theses gasses to escape. If
you don't your cream becomes frothy and then difficult to churn.
Temperature will have a lot to do with how your butter will turn out.
If the temperature is too hot your butter will be quite white and
fluffy looking. You can add a small amount of cold water at this stage
to see if you can improve the texture.
If the temperature is too cold your butter will find that your butter
has not really gathered together properly with a lot of smaller
globules of fat that has separated out. You can add a small amount of
hot water will help draw the globules together.
Once the butter fat globules have all clumped together in small,
pea-size pieces stop churning and remove it from the
churn. If you carry on churning it makes it more difficult to separate
the buttermilk and to distribute the salt evenly. You can place cold
water into the churn to float the butter pieces and remove with a
water is from 3 to 10 degrees lower than the churning temperature. For
example, in summer, say 42 to 45 degrees F., or as cold as
possible, and in winter 3 to 4 degrees below the temperature at which
churning has been done.
The reason for adding water at this
stage is to reduce the temperature, which rises during churning, and to
harden the grains of butter so that their size may be increased without
the risk of churning the butter into lumps. The addition of the water
also assists in getting rid of any caseous matter.
difficult to say just how much water you will need to add at this stage
because it depends on how much cream is in the churn, what the
temperature is etc. However, I suggest you put in just small amounts of
water rather than the full amount so that you can judge the conditions
much Butter will I get from 1 Gallon of Cream? About 3
At this stage there are 2 thoughts on what to do next.
How to Make Butter - Washing the Butter
Some people will place the butter straight into the fridge for a day to
rest without rinsing it, and before salting it and working it. Others
will rinse the butter in cold water and then salt and work it straight
It really is up to you, and personal taste. What is not up for
dispute, is that the liquid left behind is homemade
buttermilk which can be poured and stored in your fridge for
drinking and for baking. Your pigs and chickens will also love your for
When salting the butter use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon for each pint of
If you are not going to place your homemade butter in the fridge first
then you can rinse your butter using iced water. Place a handful of ice
cubes in a bowl that now holds the warm butter. Stir the ice cubes
through the butter until it melts.
Now taking your clean hands, and start working
the butter, You need to squeeze
the water through the butter several times.
The coldness of the ice
allows for the butter to handle better and is easier if you are going
to place it in molds. You can also wash it several times, if
you like. However, never wash the butter as shown in the
picture left .
You should only add as much water to the butter as the amount of cream
added at the beginning. Too much washing will result in washing away
the delicate flavor of the butter.
Lifestyles Tip for How to Make Butter: The type of
water you use for washing
important. Any water that is not pure will result in imparting that
taste of that water to the butter. Use pure spring water only.
Usually, one washing is more than enough.
Squeeze out the excess water and place in your molds. Traditionally,
wooden butter molds were used that had lovely patterns carved into the
Lifestyles Tip for How to Make Butter: Leave the butter
for 4-6 hours. If there are streaks in
the butter the salt has not been worked in evenly. Rework again.
How to Make Butter in a Jar
you don't have a churn and you want to make butter in a hurry, and
in just a small amount, take a glass jar with a screw on lid. Place the
clabbered cream into jar no more than halfway up the jar. Replace the
lid and shake vigorously for about 20 minutes or until your cream
starts coming together.
How to Make
Butter using an Electric Beater and Store-bought Cream
Take 500 ml double pouring Jersey cream
been allowed to clabber at room temperature. Pour into a bowl, and
using a hand-held
egg beater, start beating the cream. If you have the right conditions
within 20 minutes or so, the cream will start to solidify and buttermilk
will be the by-product. You can also use a stick blender.
Once the fat solidifies and you have
buttermilk, drain off the liquid and reserve for your baking or cheese
making. Now you need to wash the butter, squeezing out any extra
To do this, add a cupful of iced water
to the butterfat and beat the contents briefly. Pour off the milky
water and repeat the process until the water remains clear after
beating. Pour off the last of the water and then mash the butterfat
with a fork getting any water out that may have been left behind. Drain
this off too, and when you are happy with the butter, add salt to taste
as this will prevent the butter from souring.
Finally, take the butter, smooth it
into a container, cover and place in the fridge. It will be ready to
use within a couple of hours. The butter will keep for a week or two.
This recipe will make 300g of butter.
How to Make
Butter - Herb Butter Recipes
Once you have learned to
with our basic homemade butter recipe, you can experiment with herbs:
- Cut up chives, and add them at the end.
- A classic herb butter
is adding small quantities of fresh tarragon, parsley and thyme with a
dash of black pepper.
For a slightly different
flavor, and if your cream is too fresh, you
can add 2 tablespoons of either crême fraiche, yogurt,
or sour cream to your cream before you start to beat.
For best results leave the
cream at room
temperature for about 24 hours at 24°C, lower the temperature to 15°C
by placing it in a double bowl with crushed ice in between each bowl,
and then beat to make butter.
milk straight from the cow is strained into shallow pans 6 to 8 in.
deep and allowed to stand undisturbed for 12 or 24 hours, the length of
varying with the time of year. (If the weather is too hot you will not
be able to do this.)
pans are now removed to a stove and the milk heated very gradually to a
temperature of 170 to 190 degrees Fahrenheit. This should be done very
slowly, or the proper flavour is not obtained. 20 to 30 minutes is
the minimum time which should be taken.
The pans are then
removed to the dairy and allowed to cool, and in summer they are often
placed in cold water. The cream is skimmed off after about 12 hours,
using a perforated skimmer. Clotted cream may be churned, but in this
case the scald is not so high, 170 Fahrenheit being the maximum.
old-fashioned method of churning clotted cream was to place it in a tub
and stir or beat with the hand till butter is produced. Butter made
from clotted cream requires thorough washing to remove the butter-milk
or the keeping properties will be poor.
How to Make Butter Troubleshooting: I can't get my Cream to
Turn to Butter
You will probably find if your cream doesn't turn to butter that you
have problems with the following:
- The cream is too thin
- The temperature of your cream is too low
- The cream has a high viscosity
- The churn is too full
- Your speed of agitating the cream in the churn is either
too high or too low
- There is colostrum in the milk
- The cream is abnormally rich
How to Make Butter Troubleshooting: My Butter went Rancid
- The milk was dirty
- The churn wasn't cleaned properly
- The cream was over-ripened
- Not enough buttermilk was removed
- The water was not pure
A Video on Making Butter
How to Make Butter with Kits
If you are serious about
making homemade butter, these days you can buy butter kits that has
everything you need for making your own butter. There are a
number of suppliers on the Internet.
How to Make Butter Books, Churns and Butter Kits
Finally, if you are looking for more information on how to make butter,
wanting to buy some butter making equipment, we offer you these from
our valued partners Amazon.com.
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