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Homemade sweet cream butter

In college, Joe and I had a housemate whose then-girlfriend would stay over on weekends, and wake up each Sunday and make him fresh cinnamon muffins. Never one to have a sweet tooth and certainly NOT a sucker for baked goods, there was still something about that warm, comforting aroma on the weekends that really resonated with Joe. Almost immediately after we moved to San Francisco, he began wanting muffins for breakfast each weekend.

It took me a few months to perfect, but I finally came up with a recipe that was foolproof, every single time. The muffins have lots of cinnamon in them, brown sugar, and even little tiny dices of apple. They’re Joe’s absolute favorite (he won’t hear of any other type of fruit in the muffin save apple). And in his mind, they’re also not complete without a little pat of butter on them, oozing and melting over the sides when the muffin is fresh from the oven.

Which is how we found ourselves in a DEFCON 1 situation this last Sunday.

I had made muffins. They were sitting on top of the stove cooling. Joe’s coffee had been freshly French pressed. Plates were laid out. And then we went to get the butter…and realized we were out.

This is not a post giving you my muffin recipe (though I probably should at some point). This is a post about how to make butter at home. It’s pretty much the easiest thing in the world if you have some heavy whipping cream, five minutes, and shoulder muscles. Try it!

Step 1 – Pour the cream into a glass bowl. Make sure the bowl is big enough to account for the increase in volume you’ll get from whipping cream. I also like to use glass instead of aluminum so that if you beat hard, you won’t turn the cream grey. Yep, you can actually scrape off little particles of aluminum into your food if you stir or beat against an aluminum bowl too hard. Gross, huh?

The amount of butter in the picture above — probably two tablespoons or so — was made from a little less than a 1/4 cup of cream. A little half pint of cream would make you a good amount of butter.

Step 2 – Begin whisking vigorously. When whipping cream, it’s all about incorporating air.

Step 3 – Keep whisking.

Step 4 – Keep going.

Step 5 – Keep at it. By now, the cream will probably have thickened. You might even have soft peaks. If you do, you’re really, really close.

Step 6 – Whip the cream all the way to hard peaks. This will look like perfectly dollop-able whipped cream.

Step 7 – Keep beating and you’ll notice the whipped cream starts to look lumpy and grainy. Instead of smooth and creamy it’ll look like a congealed mess. Keep going, you’re almost there.

Step 8 – At this point, you should beat the congealed mess as hard as you can with the whisk. Then, almost out of nowhere, you’ll see that the glop starts to leak a milky white liquid. The solid, yellow mass that separates from this liquid is butter. Pure, beautiful butter. You’ve essentially beat the cream so hard that the fat molecules are all able to link up together, while the water molecules are left behind in that little puddle you see in the bottom of your bowl.

Step 9 – You can grab the butter with clean hands, press it a little more, and more liquid should come running out. Now, you can season it with a little salt or some herbs, and it’s ready to go. We spread it right on the muffins. Like any other butter, you can keep it at room temperature or in the refrigerator. Keep it covered though — you don’t want it picking up any weird smells.

Try making your own butter at home! You’ll get in an amazing shoulder workout, and be rewarded with something that’s sublime. And if you use it at a dinner party, your guests will be super impressed that you made the butter they’re spreading on their bread!

6 Responses

  1. Wow. Go you! How long did it take from pouring the cream into the bowl to topping the muffins with butter?

    Also, consider this an official request for the muffin recipe!! :-)

  2. Literally about five minutes. Seven, max. It’s a really quick process!

    I’ll work on getting the muffin recipe up.

  3. can you use a mixer to do this? i don’t think i could get through 5 minutes straight of whisking, i have weak arms :)

    i’ve made whipped cream before so this really intrigues me!

  4. Yes, you could use a mixer as well. You’ll see the cream go through the same stages. But for what it’s worth, I’m the biggest workout wimp ever and I was able to do it by hand!

  5. […] I’ve been informed that there’s an even EASIER way to make homemade butter. Go here to check it out!   GA_googleAddAttr("AdOpt", "1"); GA_googleAddAttr("Origin", "other"); […]

  6. I’m impressed and I think maybe I’ll make some for my dinner guests on Wednesday… Did you use a mixer? or your arms? sounds a little intense for just arms…

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