So…I know I haven’t posted here for a couple of weeks. Forgive me – I’ve been INCREDIBLY busy. Turns out it really isn’t possible to work full-time, blog, sort out Christmas, keep up an exercise routine and a normal social life, all while planning a wedding (which is in just over two months now, eep!). Now that Christmas is over, I’m going to try my hardest to get back into some kind of blogging routine though.
I’ll go through my receipts for December (if I still have them all!), total up and write a post updating you all on my Grocery Challenge progress. But in the meantime, I’ve got a nice wee easy how-to post on making butter for anybody who’s got cream to use up after Christmas.
I’d heard rumours on MSE that supermarkets tend to mark down (or ‘yellow sticker’) fresh cream after Christmas, perfect for butter-making, so when I went into my local Morrisons a couple of days ago I kept my eyes out – and sure enough, there was a whole section of shelves FULL of big tubs of all sorts of cream, all half-price. My Morrisons is rubbish for reductions by the way; your local supermarket might reduce down to 25% or even less of the original price.
I ended up picking up three big cartons of double cream and was so pleased with how it easy it was in the end – I used two of the cartons (keeping the third to freeze for use in cooking) and got nearly 600g butter out of it, to which I added a bit of salt. After some deliberation, I realised that I was going to find it hard to use it all since I have plenty of butter and vegetable fat in for baking already, so I decided to turn the butter into ghee (a type of clarified butter used in Indian cooking) to preserve it for longer – I’ll post the method later this week.
- Double cream, as much as you have (I used two of the 600ml cartons they sell in the supermarket)
- A little salt to taste (optional; I used 1/2tsp but might have preferred a wee bit less)
Yup, that’s it. You’ll find this easier if you have an electric whisk or stand mixer, but the internet tells me you can do it in a food processor or even by shaking the cream in a large jar by hand (sounds tiring to me!).
I poured the cream into a large bowl and whisked it with my electric whisk on full power. First of all, you end up with whipped cream, then as it continues to whip, the cream gets thicker and yellower. After a few minutes, you start to hear a slight sloshing and can see a whitish liquid separating from the butter (this is your buttermilk).
Strain the butter, reserving the buttermilk, and mold the butter together into a lump. Pop into a bowl of cold water and knead until the water becomes cloudy, then repeat a couple of times. You’re aiming to wash out as much of the buttermilk as possible, to help the butter keep. If you don’t add salt, it’ll only keep a few days (you can freeze it though); with salt it should keep a couple of weeks.
Costing – I spent £1.68 to make 600g butter, and it would have cost £2.35 for the equivalent of value brand butter (98p per 250g pack). The butter-making was easy and the end result was good, but I wouldn’t do it unless I had reduced cream as otherwise it’s cheaper just to buy it.
Note on Buttermilk
Don’t expect your buttermilk to be like the thick, tangy buttermilk you can buy in the supermarket and use to make sour-tasting scones – what you actually get is thin and mild-tasting. Turns out the buttermilk you can buy is a twentieth-century invention made by adding a culture to milk (a bit like yoghurt) and isn’t related to butter-making at all. Beware of using your buttermilk in baking recipes calling for the usual cultured stuff, because it doesn’t have the same sour taste, but you can drink it (it’s quite pleasant-tasting) or use it instead of normal milk in recipes e.g. I made some scones from this recipe with some of mine.
PS Hope you liked my lovely sharp pictures – I got a new camera for Christmas! Along with lots of mismatched plates and boards for blog pics, an electric food slicer and some recipes books, so I’m all set for cooking and blogging more in the new year.