How to Churn Butter

Learn how to churn butter and you'll have another product to sell from dairy cattle. Or do it at home and add a dash of freshness to your recipes with your very own butter.

Making Butter
Butter is made from cream that has been separated from whole milk. The more fat content in the cream, the better the flavor of the butter. Store-bought butter often has salt and coloring added. Home-churned butter is more of an off-white color, rather than yellow.

Churning, which agitates the cream and ruptures the membranes around the milk fat, is the process used to make butter. When the membranes break, the fat joins together to form clumps. These are called butter grains.

As more fat clumps together, air bubbles form. The air bubbles trap liquid, which produces foam. The bigger the clumps of fat get, the fewer air cells there are to trap the liquid. The bubbles start to pop and the foam "leaks." The liquid that leaks is buttermilk. By the end of the churning process, the cream has almost completely separated into butter and buttermilk. Save the buttermilk that is drained off. It can be used in biscuits, pancakes and numerous other recipes.

The final step is to knead the butter. Add salt while kneading, if you prefer salted butter. Knead the butter until it is smooth. The texture of the butter will be dry. If you prefer, you can add natural yellow food coloring.

Other Ways to Make Butter
You do not have to buy a separator and a churn to churn your own butter. You can simply put 1 cup of heavy cream in a 2-quart jar and shake it until the fat lumps form. Pour off the liquid, and knead the butter. This will make about a half-cup of butter. Keep in mind that the higher the fat content in the cream, the better the butter will taste-and the easier it will be to shake the cream into butter.

As anyone who's ever over-whipped whipped cream knows, you can make butter using heavy cream and an electric blender. Chill the beaters and the bowl to get the butter to whip faster, then just keep whipping at the top speed well past the whipping point, until the butter becomes very dense.

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