Life's Too Short for Fake Butter
Dan has fond childhood memories of his mamaw churning fresh butter on the front porch of her Appalachian Mountain home. As soon as we started homesteading, Dan added butter churning to his short list of projects for the homestead. With things a little slower around here during the winter months, we decided this would be the perfect time to try our hand at butter making. We procured an old-fashioned butter churn the same way anyone else would...on Facebook. I spotted a butter churn in good condition on the Facebook Marketplace and immediately began negotiations. We settled on a price and made plans to meet in front of the abandoned Dairy Queen in the small town of Lake City about 15 miles from the homestead.
After a little small talk about antiques, we made the trade and headed home to get started on our butter making adventure. In retrospect, we probably should have researched crafting butter with a butter churn first but we figured it couldn't be that difficult. We quickly learned that a YouTube search for butter making instructions will come up with a variety of methods but none of them will involve a 19th century churn. Actually, the only video that we could find with instructions for making butter in an old-fashioned butter churn was from a news piece on a re-creation village complete with blacksmiths and dairymaids in period costumes.
In the news segment, the reporter gave the butter churn a try and after just a few seconds of churning, asked the dairymaid how long it would take to turn the cream into butter. She responded that she'd spend her entire day working on that batch of butter. The reporter laughed and quickly handed the handle of the churn back to the village staff member. Since we aren't being paid by the hour to churn butter and have other projects on our plate, we decided to search for alternative butter making instructions. After a little search, we pulled out the KitchenAid mixer and went to work.
We have now made several batches of butter and use it for cooking, baking, and spreading it on everything from our fresh baked bread to our frozen green beans from last fall's harvest. Because we don't have our own dairy animals, we buy our heavy cream from a local dairy farm, where the farm's tagline is "Our cows aren't on drugs, but they are on grass." We've met the cows and feel good knowing that the butter we make is coming from happy cows. Perfect for the Happy Homestead!
Making butter in a KitchenAid mixer is a pretty painless process. We just let the cream come to room temperature, pour it in the mixing bowl, slowly bring the beater up to full speed until the butter separates from the buttermilk (about 3 minutes at high speed), rinse the butter with cold ice water a few times, squeeze out any extra moisture, season as desired, and enjoy! As for the butter churn, it makes a nice decorative piece in the dining room. :)