Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bread and Butter

My great grandmother emigrated to Canada from Iceland over 100 years ago. She came with her husband and five children on a boat and settled near Gimli, Manitoba.

I often think of how life would have been different for her then than it is for me now. Those thoughts usually lead me to the kitchen and back to the basics. She would be amazed at how things have changed. And then I think she might be disheartened to see how we have let our knowledge of the basics die off in the name of convenience and saving time. Basics like how to make butter.

It's actually incredibly simple:

Pull 2 litres (or quarts) of whipping cream out of the fridge to warm on the counter for an hour or two.

Pour 2 litres of whipping cream into the bowl of a stand mixer.

Beat with the whisk attachment (I use speed setting 7 of 10).

The whipping cream has peaked in volume and is now descending in volume; the bowl's contents are yellowing.

Slow the mixer down so that the tiny balls of butter can come together.

Pour the buttermilk through a coffee filter or a paper towel to strain out the tiny bits of butter; they do not affect the flavour and can be left in if you are using the buttermilk for anything other than drinking.

Once the buttermilk is drained off, pour cold water over the butter curd to rinse it. Grab the butter by the handful and squeeze out as much water as possible.

Yield: 2 litres whipping cream = 700 grams of unsalted butter (24.5 ounces) and just over 1 litre of buttermilk

We tried the fresh butter on some pop corn immediately, but we will try it again on some oat bread we will have with dinner.

NOTE: to salt your butter, knead it like bread dough after the water is all out and add the salt at that time


  1. wow, that sounds yummmy. do you store the butter in the fridge? how long does it last (as in, good for, not how quick do you eat it!)?

  2. Amanda - it does not last as long as store-bought butter (about 2 weeks) and spoils more quickly if it is not well rinsed. I usually freeze it in the large ziplock back as seen above and bring it up a handful or two at a time. Each nub of butter is between 2 and 3 tablespoons.

  3. I love this more than anything. Soooooo good
    And I feel like such a good wife when I make it!!!!

  4. Heather - I agree entirely! Chris no longer likes the taste of store-bought butter and asks for this instead!