Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Hand Churning Butter

Last week I ran into the old glass and wood Dazey butter churn from the family farm, so I decided to try it out with a pint of non-homogenized cream from a local dairy.

After 40 minutes of hand churning the curds appeared in a puddle of buttermilk. Draining the curds didn't make them look much like butter, so I grabbed a circa 1880 cookbook for instructions. Wash the butter in water. So I did and then stirred and pressed it.

How was it? Sweeter and creamier than any butter I've ever eaten, be it local, Plugra, Irish, French butter in Normandy, English dairy butter in Stratford, Polish butter in Lancut, Poland and what have you. And rather than the fatty mouthfeel and neutral taste of commercial unsalted butter, this all-Jersey cream butter was silky and ethereal.

Its pronounced sweet taste, though, was what surprised me most of all. The cream it came from wasn't sweet, the whey/buttermilk it made wasn't even tangy, so something really good happened during those long minutes of hand cranking. All that remains to see is if I can get the same effect with my standing mixer. There’s a good reason those old butter churns aren't used anymore.