Like anything, fresh homemade butter simply tastes better than its packaged and stored grocery store counter-part. Butter results from churning cream – which separates out the butterfat. A bonus prize of making butter is the buttermilk that the butter leaves behind. Fresh, tangy, and amazingly refreshing, it leaves supermarket buttermilk in the dust! Homemade butter is so good that I tend to eat it like cheese – in thick slices on fresh bread.
- Start with well-chilled high-quality heavy cream. Each pint (2 cups) will yield 2 to 3 ounces of homemade butter.
- Put cream in a large bowl, the bowl of a standing mixer, or a large jar with a sealable lid.
- Use an electric mixer, the paddle attachment of the standing mixer, or elbow grease and beat – or vigorously shake in the case of the jar – the cream until the butterfat starts to cling to itself and create small bits of butter. Be patient, this will take awhile. It will start to seem like nothing will ever happen. Keep at it, the butter will come.
- Once the tiny bits of butter start to cling together, the process speeds up and the butter will solidify and separate out from the buttermilk. The whole thing will take about 10 minutes, give or take a few minutes.
- Pour off the buttermilk into a clean container. Push the butter against the side of the bowl or jar to squeeze out as much of the buttermilk as possible. Cover and chill the buttermilk. It's delicious as a drink on its own, or use it in a recipe where you can really taste the buttermilk like Buttermilk Yogurt Salad Dressing, Buttermilk Ice Cream, or Buttermilk Panna Cotta.
- You can "wash" the butter to help it last longer: Pour about a cup of cold water into the bowl or jar with the butter to wash it. Swish it around and work it with the butter. Pour off the water. Repeat 2 or 3 times until the water you pour off runs more or less clear.
- Work out any additional water or buttermilk by transferring the butter onto a cutting board or large plate (you can cover the surface with parchment paper for easier clean up, if you like). Use a spatula or large spoon to press out any liquid from the butter. Pat the butter dry with a clean towel or paper towel. Transfer to a sealable container or other dish, cover, and chill.