mutteringhousewife

What does the last of the housewives do?

Tag: Homemade butter

Spreadable Butter

Well, I can do butter. Easy. Done it at least three times now. But as the level slowly drops on the Western Star Spreadable, I know that it’s time to take the next step.

And I’ll tell why I’ve been hesitant. All of the Thermomix recipes for butter you can spread from the fridge are the same and look highly dubious to me. You weigh your butter and add the same weight of oil AND the same weight of water. Sounds like a recipe for a mess to me, and not terribly buttery. I don’t want to be able to pour the stuff onto my toast, I’d just like to be able to scrape off a curl rather than slice it from the fridge.

I’ve been putting it off long enough that one of the cartons of cream I have is old enough to fret about life and as a result is maybe a touch sour. The other pot is fine, though. What the hell, I’ll bung them both in, with half a teaspoon of salt. The sour one is a brand I haven’t used before, Country Valley, or something similarly bucolic. The fresh one is whatever I get from Harris Farm, I’ve always found it to be a little thick. So of course I get a result that’s delightfully different from the last three batches I’ve made, when there’s been no variables. It’s a much lighter colour, separated more easily and seems to be fluffier.

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I still get four hundred grams of butter from six hundred millilitres of cream. Because I’m experimenting, I divide it in half. Half goes into the butter dish to be used as required in making dinner and baking.

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Half goes back into the jug for a new life. I’ve weighed it, and it’s a bit under half, 180 grams. I think we’ll take this slow, so I only add forty grams of grape seed oil. I’m not going to add water because I’ve just had a whole lot of buttermilk sieved into a bowl, I use forty grams of that. I whip it at speed five for about a minute.

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What we’re doing here is forcing the water and the fat to mix, with the help of the oil. It’s a bit counterintuitive, I’ve just separated the water from the fat to make the butter from cream, now I’m forcing some of it back in. You can do it with emulsifiers, or you can do it with brute force like we’re doing here. It seems softer than my butter control, so I slap it into a dish and stick it in the fridge.

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And here we are after a needlessly longwinded P&F meeting, ready to have a bit of toast before going to bed. What do you know, it’s about the same consistency as the Western Star we use, needs a bit of persuading, but definitely spreadable. I wasn’t after a marshmallow foam type consistency. Just cream, water and grape seed oil, no emulsifiers, no colouring, no flavouring. Actually, you could do this with any butter you buy, cream it as if you were going to make a delicious biscuit, then before it knows what it’s about, whip some water and oil into it. Spreadable whatever you like.

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Butter

Those of you who are trying to avoid thinking about buying a Thermomix, avert your eyes now. I made butter today. It was a bit more fraught than the simple instructions may have one think.

The simple instructions are as follows. Insert 600 ml of cream in the Thermomix jug. Insert the butterfly attachment, pictured below.

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Beat until it turns into butter, then rinse with cold water. Well, that sounds ridiculously easy. All I need is some cream and receptacle in which to place my creation. The chain store House actually stocks butter dishes, so I purchase on of those. I could hunt down the butter dish my Nanna used to keep her butter in, she never put it in the fridge, but knowing her she probably got it from Copperart, so wouldn’t think it would be worth it. And some cream. I don’t want to use just Dairy Farmers, even though my local IGA sells it in two litre jugs, I feel like I could just buy Allowrie butter instead and save myself the trouble. I also don’t want to use the extra fancy small pots of high fat cream you can get either, because then the price starts getting a bit ridiculous. I found some cream that met my specifications at Harris Farm for three dollars a pot.

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Well now, into the jug and we’ll have butter in no time. I turn it onto speed four and prepare to wait the one to three minutes suggested in the recipe, when at about twenty seconds the machine starts making noises like a mouse being eaten by a not very hungry cat and stops. Err, it says. I have a look in the jug.

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I’m pretty sure that’s not butter. It’s very thick whipped cream, which would be excellent if I were hosting a Devonshire tea. I try ringing my sister, who makes butter regularly. No answer. I breathe deeply and try to gather my thoughts by booking a large amount of weaponry for the Moose’s upcoming fourteenth birthday party. I look back in the jug, it’s still whipped cream that’s almost the consistency of butter, but I can’t kid myself that it is. I heave another sigh and decide to go on to the next step, which is to remove the butterfly and add five hundred grams of cold water and beat for a few seconds and speed four. This gives me a jug full of thin cream.

I’m jolted back to third year inorganic chemistry prac. I’m holding a centrifuge flask while a demonstrator looks at it with a puzzled frown. Everybody else’s flasks are lined with sparkly orange crystals. Mine is empty except for a thin green smudge around the equator of the flask. “I’ve never seen that happen before”, said the demonstrator. “And I’ve been watching what you were doing because I know what you’re like”. That incident did cause me to go on to study a branch of chemistry that didn’t involve handling actual chemicals during the course of which I met the man who later became my husband, but that’s not helping me make butter.

I fetch a third sigh and put the butterfly back in the jug. I crank the speed up to four and peek in the hole in the lid to see the thin cream swirling about. After about a minute the crossed fingers pay off and it starts getting chunky. At about two minutes I can see that I’ve definitely and against the odds made butter.

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I poured off the buttermilk, added another five hundred millilitres of cold water, removed the butterfly and zapped it for a further ten seconds. Poured off that water too, but I don’t think I’ll keep that. Buttermilk on the left.

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I poured it through the basket that comes with the jug. What you do next is gather the butter up as if its dough and start squeezing the water out. It’s rather enjoyable and I’m sure it’s good for the skin. You quickly have a surprisingly yellow log of fresh butter. I weighed mine and it’s 400 grams, so that makes the price of it slightly better than Lurpack and far less air miles.

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I don’t think I’ll use it in biscuit making because I’m not sure of the water content. I did put some of it and some of the buttermilk into a banana cake just now, and that seems to have turned out rather excellently. I finally got on to my sister who said her experience has been rather mixed in the butter making department too, and also that she adds oil and salt to hers and uses it as sandwich butter, which sounds like a very fine idea. This batch I’ll test out in various guises, and if it’s no good for baking it’s still not to late to blend it into something more spreadable. I tell you what I’ve discovered already, she said incredibly smugly, it’s very good on a homemade roll with a slice of cheese.

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