This past weekend I got my Laura Ingalls Wilder on and made homemade butter in my food processor. (By the way, did you know there was a Little House Cookbook? I didn't until yesterday. Where was this during my childhood? I loved the Little House books and would have had a blast with this.) The idea to make butter has been floating around in my head for a while but I didn't want to actually have to shake a container for hours to make it. When I discovered you could make it in a food processor, I decided I had to try. I used a combination of several sites for inspiration/instructions and blindly felt my way through, probably ticking off my downstairs neighbors in the process.
Basically, you need whipping cream (pasturized works better than ultra-pastureized) in whatever amount you want - the butter will end up being about half of the volume of the cream. Let it come to about 60 degrees or room temperature, it will make the churning go sooo much faster. (This was where I probably annoyed my neighbors. The first time I did this, I was too excited to let the cream warm up and it took about 10 minutes to turn to seize and turn to butter. The second time, when the cream was room temperature, took about 45 seconds.)
As you start blending, the liquid cream will pass through several stages of various whipped cream until suddenly chunks of butter will form, the food processor will start making a different noise, and the extra milk will gush out of the butter chunks so make sure the top is on tight!
You then need to drain the buttermilk out of the chunks of butter and wash it. If you don't, the buttermilk will cause the butter to spoil in only a few days. I used a piece of cheesecloth suspended over a strainer sitting in a bowl to catch the buttermilk (which I then used in a muffin recipe- yum!) I then lifted the butter in the cheesecloth and squeezed as much of the buttermilk as I could out of it.
To wash the butter, I put it into a bowl filled with cold water and kneeded it until the water was cloudy. Then I dumped it out and added more cold water until all the excess milk was squeezed out of the butter.
I had heard good things about adding honey to the butter to make it sweeter, so I put the butter back into the food processor and gave it another few rounds with some honey drizzled in. Then I took it out and formed it into a little pat.
And then I ate it on toast! It was delicious. As I said before, I used the leftover buttermilk in a muffin recipe for a little extra flavoring.
And now we come full circle, because remember that Little House Cookbook I mentioned in the beginning? Well I just got it from the library and I have a feeling that I'm going to be making up for lost time...perhaps more pioneer recipe testing to come?